Leeds United 2 Watford 3: Hornets attack again too sharp for Whites
RESOLUTE at the back the previous weekend, ragged seven days on, but some things do not change for Leeds United.
Namely their propensity to be involved in open games – and leak goals – against Watford, whose goals tally against the Whites is now 20 in six outings.
Leeds have had some punishing days against the Hornets, with Saturday a case in point with an early two-goal lead manufactured thanks to strikes from the recalled Billy Sharp and Rudy Austin wiped out by potent visitors.
Scorers Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra – the latter’s second goal on 81 minutes being the final decisive act – would prove a handful for most Championship defences and they hardly needed second invitations to attack.
This is what they got in the second half when Leeds simply could not cope with their pace and subtle movement, with Almen Abdi also posing no end of problems.
It was a tough day at the office all right, as captain Liam Cooper acknowledged.
He said: “It was devastating and the lads are disappointed. We managed to be the better side and had good chances early on in the second half to go and finish the game. But we conceded some sloppy goals.
“They were the best forward three we have faced this season, to be fair. Obviously, Abdi, Vydra and Deeney are very good and certainly put us up against it. I can’t see us coming up against forwards that good every week.”
All was set fair after 19 minutes with Sharp tapping home his 150th career goal on seven minutes, profiting after Ikechi Anya’s slapdash header which almost flew past Huerelho Gomes, with the striker left with an open goal.
A stunning half-volley from Austin doubled the advantage before Watford, poor for the first 35 minutes, earned themselves a lifeline when Deeney raced clear and slotted home after fine work by Vydra.
Deeney repaid the compliment to set up Vydra for a leveller on 56 minutes, after a storming start to the second half just failed to see Leeds hit a third, with Austin denied twice.
After Vydra’s equaliser, Watford scented blood with Vydra bundling home the winner to boost their prospects of automatic promotion.
Leeds United: Silvestri, Wootton, Cooper, Bamba, C Taylor, Murphy, Austin (Adryan 74), Cook, Mowatt (Antenucci 84), Byram (Cani 90), Sharp. Unused substitutes: S Taylor, Berardi, Sloth, Walters.
Watford: Gomes; Paredes (Hoban 90), Ekstrand (Angella 42), Cathcart, Anya; Layun (Munari 52), Watson, Tozser; Abdi; Deeney, Vydra. Unused substitutes: Bond, Pudil, Motta, Forestieri.
Referee: A Haines (Tyne and Wear).
Man of the match: Matej Vydra.