Lilywhites lucky at Watford
Written By: Robert Halter
Tottenham Hotspur were undefeated in their last seven competitive games against Watford as both teams met at the end of 2015, with the Lilywhites returning to Vicarage Road for the first time in over nine years. There was no love lost for a former Spurs player, Etienne Capoue, after a crunching tackle on him by Dele Alli, who got the first booking of the game. But on the quarter of an hour mark, the Watford playmaker responded as Capoue first sent a right footed shot high over to the right and then missed with a left footed shot from outside the box from an assist by Odion Ighalo. But it was Alli that turned the game on seventeen minutes, after winning a tackle of Craig Cathcart, before Erik Lamela ran through to slide the ball past Heurelho Gomes, who was left helpless against his former club, as the Lilywhites forged ahead. A minute later, from a left wing cross by Harry Kane, the ball was dragged wide by Lamela. After shirt pulling by Jan Vertonghen on Ighalo, no decision was given Watford’s way, by referee, Anthony Taylor. Then within sixty seconds, as Nathan Ake whipped in a cross from the left, a low left footed volley by Ighalo, drifted wide. Two minutes later, Alli’s right footed effort drifted wide from the right side of the box after he collected the ball from Vertonghen. On thirty four minutes, Kane attempted a strike from distance but the ball bent over the crossbar before Jose Manuel Jurado’s low strike was collected by Spurs captain and shot stopper, Hugo Loris, after build up play from Almen Abdi, sixty seconds later. In the thirty seventh minute, Gomes was forced to punch clear, an in swinging cross on the right by Kieran Trippier. But on forty one minutes, from a cross by Abdi, the ball found Watford captain, Troy Deeney, whose headed pass gave the ball to the Hornets prolific marksman, Ighalo, who showed steel and determination to fend off Eric Dier, before driving home a right footed strike into the centre of the goal. On forty three minutes from a Lamela corner, the ball fell to Trippier, who bent the ball narrowly wide. Spurs soon replaced Mousa Dembele with Christian Eriksen. Before the second half took place, Watford brought on Valnon Behrami for Abdi. In the fifty second minute, a left footed strike by Eriksen, missed wide to the right and then two minutes on, Eriksen turned provider for Kane, who with his right peg brought out a save by Gomes, who protected the centre of his goal. In the fifty seventh minute, from Trippier’s ball in, a stooping header by Kane, drifted past the top right corner. The Golden Boys then switched Miguel Britos with Sebastian Prodl. But disaster struck for Watford when Ake received a straight red card for a dangerous high boot on Lamela in the sixty second minute. With the man advantage, Spurs pressed in the next two minutes, when Toby Alderweireld’s left footed shot went wide to the left from an assist by Alli. The Hornets soon changed Jurado with Allan Nyom while Spurs took off Tom Carroll for Heung-Min Son, and later brought on Nacer Chadli for Alli. In the eighty ninth minute, goal line technology was required to determine that Watson’s in swinging corner did not cross the line as Lloris held onto the ball. But Spurs won the game at the death when Trippier swung a high cross into the Watford area, which Gomes could only punch back to the Spurs full back, and the follow up cross from Trippier was met with a deft back heel by Son, as he managed to find space in front of Gomes, to put the ball through the legs of the Hornets keeper, and despite suspicions of offside prior to Son scoring, the goal stood. In stoppage time, Dier made an important block to keep out Deeney’s strike from the left side of the box, to secure all three points for Tottenham Hotspur and end a six game unbeaten run for Watford.