20 September 2023

Watford and West Brom share the spoils after explosive start

20 September 2023

Watford and West Brom played out a 2-2 draw with all four goals at a wet Vicarage Road coming in the first 23 minutes.

Tom Ince gave the hosts a third-minute lead but John Swift and Jed Wallace replied in the next 14 minutes for the Baggies.

Matheus Martins responded for the Hornets but neither side was able to find a winner in the Championship fixture.

Fresh from their win over Birmingham last Saturday, Watford made a sole change with Ismael Kone replacing Tom Dele-Bashiru while West Brom were unchanged from their goalless draw at Bristol City.

The hosts soon took the lead as a move involving five players eventually saw Imran Louza give the ball to Ince, who curled a fine effort into the top right hand corner – his first goal since arriving from Reading this summer.

Stunned by conceding so early, West Brom pressed forward and delivered a stinging reply of their own with two goals in three minutes.

Swift’s 14th-minute free-kick on the edge of the area left Daniel Bachmann stranded before captain Wallace turned home past the Watford goalkeeper after a low cross from Darnell Furlong.

Watford replied when Matheus Martins picked the ball up, made his way to the edge of the area, and struck sweetly past Alex Palmer.

Kone could have put the hosts ahead in the 35th minute after collecting a Martins pass, but his lofted effort went just over the bar.

With the Hertfordshire rain getting even harder after the interval, the defences were notably tighter – limiting the chances both teams were able to carve out.

Bachmann had to turn over a fierce drive from Brandon Thomas-Asante 10 minutes after the restart.

At the other end, Palmer was made to turn a header from Kone on to the crossbar and away to safety.

Both teams looked for the winning effort in a contest that remained finely poised after the first half flurry of goals.

Thomas-Asante was foiled by the onrushing Bachmann with 10 minutes to go after he was fed through by Jeremy Sarmiento.

With six minutes of added time announced, the hosts looked to repeat their previous game against Birmingham by netting the decisive strike late on.

However, the visitors held firm and left Hertfordshire with a hard-fought point.

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