Watford 1-2 Brentford: Pontus Jansson's late header ensures Bees take all three points

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Watford 1-2 Brentford: Pontus Jansson’s 95th minute header ensures Thomas Frank’s side take all three points at Vicarage Road after Emmanuel Dennis put hosts level

  • Christian Norgaard opened the scoring with a volley after 15 minutes 
  • Emmanuel Dennis equalised for Watford from a tight angle in the 55th minute
  • Pontus Jansson won it for the visitors with a header deep into injury-time 
  • Thomas Frank’s side go up into 11th but Watford remain rooted to 19th

Seconds after missing the chances that could have kept their survival hopes alive, Watford conceded the stoppage-time winner that surely condemns them to an instant return to the Championship.

With the scores level as the match moved past 90 minutes, Hornets substitute Joshua King hit the post and Imran Louza put the loose ball wide of an open goal. To compound the agony for Watford, Pontus Jansson promptly headed in Christian Eriksen’s free-kick at the other end. Those sorts of switches in momentum tend to be the difference between staying up and going down.

Christian Norgaard had given the visitors an early lead and Watford – who have now lost five in six – were booed off at half-time. But Dennis equalised soon after the break and hit the bar with a free-kick shortly before Louza’s miss.

Christian Norgaard opened the scoring with a volley from a Ethan Pinnock's throw-in

Christian Norgaard opened the scoring with a volley from a Ethan Pinnock’s throw-in 

Emmanuel Dennis put the hosts level with an emphatic strike 10 minutes after the break

Emmanuel Dennis put the hosts level with an emphatic strike 10 minutes after the break

MATCH FACTS 

Watford (4-3-3): Foster, Femenia (Cathcart, 87′), Kabasele, Samir, Kamara, Louza, Sissoko, Kucka (Cleverley, 84′), Sarr, Dennis, Pedro (King, 84′)

Unused subs: Ngakia, Etebo, Gosling, Backmann, Kayembe, Forde

Goal: Dennis (55′) 

Booked: Kamara, Louza, Kamara

Manager: Roy Hodgson 

Brentford (4-3-3): Raya, Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock (Sorensen, 21′), Henry, Norhaard, Janelt (Jensen, 74′), Eriksen, Wissa (Ghoddos, 66′), Mbuemo, Toney

Unused subs: Dasilva, Fosu-Henry, Baptiste, Roerslev, Stevens, Fernandes

Goals: Norgaard (15′) Jansson (90+5)

Booked: Toney

Manager: Thomas Frank 

Referee: Simon Hooper 

That made it three top-flight wins in a row for the Bees for the first time since 1946, while Watford became only the second team in the top division to lose 10 home games in a row.

Watford are six points adrift of Everton, who have two games in hand, and 11 behind Leeds, who like the Hornets have six games remaining.

By contrast, Brentford reached 39 points and are surely guaranteed another season in the Premier League.

Eriksen had the first chance of the match when he guided a shot just wide from the edge of the box after finding space 20 yards out.

Then, in their only coherent move of the first half, Kiko Femenia played a one-two with Joao Pedro before crossing for Ismaila Sarr to put a free header over.

It was not long before Watford were punished for that mistake. Ethan Pinnock’s long throw should have been headed clear at the near post, but Kristoffer Ajer did enough to ensure it found its way to the unmarked Norgaard, who tapped in from close range.

Just after the 20-minute mark, Brentford suffered a blow when Pinnock was forced off with injury and was replaced in the back four by Mads Bech Sorensen. Watford could not take advantage, however, as Roy Hodgson’s side showed desperately little quality.

Eriksen had another strike saved by Foster in the 33rd minute and as half-time approached, Vitaly Janelt sliced a volley wide from the edge of the box. 

Moussa Sissoko (L) battles with Yoane Wissa (R) during Saturday's game at Vicarage Road

Moussa Sissoko (L) battles with Yoane Wissa (R) during Saturday’s game at Vicarage Road 

Then Watford nearly drew level in bizarre fashion. Caught off balance by Femenia’s free-kick, Ajer tried to volley clear but instead the ball hit his knee and flew back towards goal. David Raya would have had no chance of stopping it and was relieved to see it spin wide. It was no surprise at all that the home side were booed off at the break.

Their mood would have been darker shortly after it had Ivan Toney managed to convert one of the assists of the season from Eriksen. As the Dane lined up a free-kick, the Watford wall braced for a shot. Instead, like a golfer chipping on to the green, Eriksen lofted the ball over the wall for Toney, whose finish could not match his run as he scuffed it wide.

That was the stroke of luck Watford needed. One minute later, Sarr flicked on Moussa Sissoko’s right-wing cross and Dennis finished impressively at the far post. Though the goal was initially ruled out for offside, VAR replays showed Sarr’s position was legal when Sissoko delivered the ball.

Pontus Jansson won the game for Brentford with a header deep into injury time

Pontus Jansson won the game for Brentford with a header deep into injury time 

With the clock ticking, Dennis nearly won it for Watford with a free-kick from a tight angle on the left that deceived David Raya but skimmed the crossbar.

And they came even closer in stoppage time when substitute King hit the post and, with the goal at his mercy, the off-balance Louza somehow guided the rebound wide.

How they were punished for it. When Brentford won a free-kick on the right, Eriksen delivered it perfectly and Jansson nodded it into the corner for the goal that will probably relegate Watford. 

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