Match report: Watford 4-1 Leeds United

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A Troy Deeney penalty and a red card for debutant Giuseppe Bellusci condemned Leeds United to a tough defeat away at Watford.

Bellusci was dismissed after conceding a 58th-minute spot-kick which Deeney converted to settle a tight, even match at Vicarage Road.

Leeds had earlier fought back from Fernando Forestieri’s first-half opener to level through an own goal but their 10 men had no answer to Deeney’s effort.

Further strikes from Forestieri and Daniel Pudil then made the points safe, ending any chance of a fightback from Leeds and leaving United a place above the Championship’s bottom three.

And Leeds were reduced to nine men in injury-time when Sam Byram was shown a straight red card for an apparent elbow on Pudil.

Hockaday gave Bellusci a start in place of centre-back Liam Cooper, and new signing Mirco Antenucci also made his debut up front alongside Billy Sharp.

United’s formation threatened to make them vulnerable out wide but they settled quickly and kept Watford quiet for 20 minutes before wasting a decent start by conceding to Fernando Forestieri.

The hosts worked an overhit corner back into United’s box and though goalkeeper Marco Silvestri parried an initial shot from Forestieri, the striker reacted quickly to nod the rebound into the net.

Leeds, however, levelled on 32 minutes through an own goal from Gabriel Tamas. Watford were stretched by good interplay between Antenucci and Sharp and Tamas could not avoid turning Sharp’s fierce cross past Heurelho Gomes.

Watford should have regained the lead before the break as Tommie Hoban headed a corner over from four yards out but United finished the first half strong, stunting Watford’s movement and isolating Forestieri and Troy Deeney up front.

Forestieri almost struck at the very start of the second half but dinked a shot just wide and Jason Pearce went close with a rising header over Watford’s crossbar moments later.

But the game swung Watford’s way in the 58th minute when Forestieri pounced on an error, ran in behind Bellusci and forced the Italian to clip his heels inside the box.

Bellusci was sent off as the last man and Deeney stroked a calm penalty to the right of Silvestri.

Forestieri added a third on 67 minutes when Gianni Munari robbed Rodolph Austin and fed the forward who skipped through several challenges before finding the net off Silvestri’s far post, and Pudil’s 30 yard effort in injury-time worsened United’s defeat.

Worse was to come as Byram and Pudil clashed outside Watford’s box and referee James Linington showed Byram a red card as the defender angrily protested his innocence.

Watford:Gomes, Tamas, Angella, Hoban, Paredes (Anya 55), Abdi (Andrews 81), Tozser, Munari, Pudil, Deeney, Forestieri (Ighalo 76). Subs (not used): Bond, Doyley, Fabbrini, Vydra.

Leeds United: Silvestri, Byram, Bellusci, Pearce, Warnock, Austin, Murphy, Bianchi, Tonge (Poleon 76), Sharp (Cooper 62), Antenucci (Smith 81). Subs (not used): S Taylor, Wootton, Cook, Norris.

Young Leeds United fan Toby Nye with Whites captain Liam Cooper.

Millwall fans donate Leeds United ticket refund to Toby Nye's cancer battle