Wolves 1 Watford 1: Sako rescues Saunders after fans voice their anger at board
21:42 GMT, 1 March 2013
23:59 GMT, 1 March 2013
Bakary Sako struck an equaliser three
minutes into added time to wreck Gianfranco Zola’s hopes of an 11th
away victory of the season.
The winger hit a right-foot shot beyond debutant Jonathan Bond after a long throw caused chaos in the visitors’ area.
Bjorn Sigurdarson flicked on the ball and Sako did the rest, claiming his 10th goal of the season.
Late show: Bakary Sako scored last-gasp equaliser for Wolves
Wolverhampton: Ikeme, Doherty, Johnson, Gorkss, Robinson, Hunt (Cassidy 64), Henry (Davis 70), O'Hara, Sako, Sigurdarson, Doyle (Ebanks-Blake 64). Subs Not Used: De Vries, Edwards, Ward, Batth.
Goals: Sako 90. Watford: Bond, Doyley, Nosworthy, Ekstrand, Cassetti, Abdi, Chalobah (Hogg 82), Battocchio, Anya (Pudil 84), Deeney, Vydra (Forestieri 78). Subs Not Used: Bonham, Yeates, Murray, Geijo.
Goals: Abdi 41.
Ref: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).
But it was not enough to pull Wolves clear of the relegation zone as they had been chasing the game since four minutes before the interval.
Almen Abdi — one of Watford’s controversial Italian loanees — struck a delightful free-kick from the edge of the area as the division’s top scorers looked to put three points between themselves and third-placed Hull City.
Protests had been planned outside the stadium before kick-off to voice concern about Wolves owner Steve Morgan’s stewardship. But the multi-millionaire had eased their anxiety by appearing before a group of supporters in midweek. He admitted making mistakes and apologised. The group which gathered under the statue of Wolves legend Billy Wright was no more than 50-strong and soon dispersed.
The air of relative calm around the stadium would have changed had Matej Vydra’s seventh-minute shot that deflected off Roger Johnson found the net.
Shortly afterwards, Bond, who had been promoted after Manuel Almunia was forced out with a hamstring injury, produced a superb double-stop.
Neat strike: Almen Abdi scores for Watford
Watford's Almen Abdi celebrates his goal
He blocked Kevin Doyle’s fierce drive and then got to his feet quickly, palming Sigurdarson’s follow-up shot over the bar.
The value of that save was seen four minutes before the interval when
Watford took the lead. Karl Henry tried desperately to rob Vydra of the
ball as he advanced to the edge of the penalty area.
But amid a cluster of bodies the Czech fell to the ground and referee
Paul Tierney awarded the free-kick. Midfielder Abdi took responsibility,
curling his shot around the wall and past Carl Ikeme’s outstretched
Bond then saved well from Doyle shortly before the hour but at the other
end, Ikechi Anya missed with a side-foot effort from six yards out and
Ikeme pulled off a superb tip-over from Christian Battocchio’s
Watford may consider this two points dropped, but while the Football
League considers closing the loophole that allowed them to sign a dozen
players on loan from Udinese last summer, Zola’s men are still closing
in on promotion.