Hornets fight back against Wolves


Written By: Robert Halter


In the second of the FA Cup semi finals at Wembley stadium, Watford squared up to Wolverhampton Wanderers in a late afternoon kick off on Sunday, April 7. In the opening minute, Diogo Jota laid the ball over to Jonny Otto, who curled the ball past the top right corner. Following an infringement on Jota by Adrian Mariappa, a free kick by Joao Moutinho, was bent over the Hornets wall, on top of the outside netting of the crossbar. Ruben Neves got booked for pulling over Roberto Pereyra, but from Jose Holebas’s free kick in the twenty fifth minute, Will Hughes miscued his strike. A clear cut chance for the Golden Boys went a rye, when a delivery by Hornets captain, Troy Deeney, was lobbed over the bar by an unmarked Andre Gray, with just John Ruddy to beat in the Wolves goal. On thirty five minutes from Otto’s run through, a snap shot by Leander Dendoncker was pushed over the crossbar from Heurelho Gomes, and from the resulting short corner by Moutinho, a delivery by Jota, was met by a near post header from Matt Dohery, into the bottom left corner, for a first half lead. Then from a fast break with Willy Boly, breaking forward, Jota curled the ball past the far right post, in the thirty ninth minute. Just before the break from a Hughes delivery and knock on by Deeney, when in sight of goal, Gray’s strike ricocheted over off Wolves captain, Conor Coady. On forty eight minutes, Gomes was forced to palm away a snap shot by Raul Jimenez, through a long ball forward from Romain Saiss. In the fiftieth minute from a cross by Kiko Femenia, a cushioned header from Aboulaye Doucoure, went over. But Wolves reacted instantly, when Jota’s cross was fired over by an outstretched Jimenez. After a booking for Craig Cathcart by tugging over Jota, a free kick from Ruben Neves, curled just past the far right post. After a foul on Femenia by Jota, a free kick by Pereyra, was put over by a rising header from Deeney, in the fifty seventh minute. The next yellow went to Holebas for dragging down Jota, and it proved costly when Moutinho’s free kick was played short to Doherty, whose delivery was brought down on the chest by Jimenez, who acrobatically turned the ball into the left side of the goal in the sixty second minute, before wearing a mask in his goal celebration. The Hornets soon switched Hughes with Gerard Deulofeu. In the sixty ninth minute, from Femenia’s cross, Gray put his header over the top. But on seventy eighty minutes, Watford pulled a goal back, when from a Holebas throw in, Deeney won the ball back for Deulofeu, who curled a strike into the top right corner. Wolves soon switched Neves with Ryan Bennett. A late charge was made by the Hornets as Pereyra combined with Deulofeu, before Holebas fired over. Wolves then took off Neves for Ivan Cavaleiro. But remarkably in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Dendoncker was adjudged to have pushed over Deeney in the area, and after a VAR decision, Denney smashed the spot kick into the top left corner to level the tie as the game went to extra time. In the ninety fourth minute, Jimenez spread the ball out to Otto, whose effort was pushed over by Gomes. An enforced change was made by Watford as an injured Holebas was removed for Adam Masina. Wolves soon took off Moutinho for Adama Traore. But on one hundred and four minutes, through Gray’s incisive pass, Deulofeu slid the ball into the centre of the goal, to put Watford 3-2 ahead. Before the re-start, Wolves brought on Ruben Vinagre for Otto, while Watford later replaced Femenia with Daryl Janmaat. With ten minutes left, from Cavaleiro’s cross, Gomes shielded a header by Jimenez. But due to injury Deulofeu was taken off with his replacement being Ken Sema. Near the end, a chance fell to Cavaleiro, but Gomes rescued the situation before Mariappa cleared the danger, after Jimenez set up the chance but Watford survived to set up a date against Manchester City in the 2019 FA Cup Final.