Huddersfield 1-0 Watford: Tom Ince hits stoppage-time winner to ease relegation fears
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 14/04/18 7:42pm
Tom Ince scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner as Huddersfield beat Watford 1-0 to move seven points clear of the relegation zone.
In a game of few chances, the Huddersfield substitute swept the ball home from close range in the 91st minute to spark wild celebrations at the John Smith's Stadium.
Victory sees David Wagner's side climb to 14th in the Premier League table with four games remaining and ends a run of five matches without a win.
Watford, two points ahead of their hosts, have now lost four of their last five matches and remain winless on the road under Javi Gracia.
Huddersfield: Lossl (6), Hadergjonaj (7), Zanka (7), Schindler (7), Kongolo (6), Quaner (5), Hogg (6), Mooy (7), Van La Parra (6), Pritchard (6), Mounie (4)
Subs: Ince (8), Depoitre (6), Billing (6)
Watford: Karnezis (6), Janmaat (6), Mariappa (7), Prodl (5), Cathcart (6), Femenia (5), Doucoure (6), Capoue (4), Hughes (7), Pereyra (6), Deeney (5)
Subs: Richarlison (5), Gray (5), Sinclair (n/a)
Man of the match: Tom Ince
Huddersfield settled the quicker of the two sides in a cagey first period and their tireless pressing kept Watford penned inside their own half.
The pressure built as the half reached its midpoint but having dealt with a flurry of Huddersfield corners and conceded no clear chances, Watford began to grow into the game.
Abdoulaye Doucoure twice tested Jonas Lossl, firstly with a tame effort from outside the box and then with a deflected shot from a tight angle that the Huddersfield keeper pushed round the post.
The best chance of the half fell to Troy Deeney. Doucoure drove to the edge of the area, his pass was behind Roberto Pereyra but ran to Deeney, whose right-foot shot was deflected just wide.
It was Watford who began the second half the brighter too with Will Hughes and Pereyra at the centre of a couple of flowing moves.
David Wagner made one change to the Huddersfield side that drew with Brighton as Colin Quaner replaced Tom Ince on the right.
There was also just the one change for Watford as the fit-again Craig Cathcart came in for Jose Holebas, who was not named among in the 18.
However, chances were not forthcoming and Huddersfield gradually worked their way back onto the front foot.
Ince saw a goal-bound effort blocked soon after coming on, Steve Mounie wanted too long when the rebound fell kindly to him and Jonathan Hogg fizzed a low shot just wide as the game looked set to end in deadlock.
Huddersfield were gifted one final chance though as Terence Kongolo's hopeful ball forward was not dealt with by the Watford defence, Mathias Jørgensen got on the end of it and stabbed the ball back across the six-yard box where Ince arrived to turn the ball into an empty net and seal a vital win.
Man of the match - Tom Ince
Quality was at a premium in West Yorkshire but after Huddersfield had huffed and puffed without ever really laying a glove on Watford, Ince came on with half an hour to go and made the final, telling contribution with his stoppage-time strike.
He gave Watford a warning of the threat he posed shortly after entering the fray, drifting into a dangerous position between the centre-backs to get on the end of Pritchard's cut back. Sebastian Prodl made a vital block on that occasion but when he popped up again in the 91st minute, there was no stopping him and he slid the ball home to earn Huddersfield a critical three points.
- Huddersfield have won two of their last four Premier League games at home (D1 L1), after failing to win any of the previous five (D2 L3).
- In contrast, Watford have picked up just one point from a possible 30 away from home in the Premier League since December (D1 L9).
- Javier Gracia is yet to see Watford score an away Premier League goal in his first five matches on the road - the last manager to not see his side score in his first five away Premier League matches was Gus Poyet in December 2013.
- Tom Ince has scored in four of his last five league games against Watford, scoring exactly once on each occasion.
David Wagner, Huddersfield: "It is not only that they've won it, how they have won it makes it even bigger. With this very, very late goal they will always believe that it is possible.
"There was this magic moment from Zanka and Ince was in the right place and scored a great goal, a huge one for us.
"I think the game was very even, both teams neutralised each other, there were not a lot of chances but the one we had, we used. It's a fantastic afternoon for us."
Javi Gracia, Watford: "It is another situation similar to the last games, another goal in added time. I don't know if it is fair but it is another chance we've missed to get points.
"I think they dominated the first 15-20 minutes, we tried to defend and create chances on the counter attack but after that we had more possession, we felt better playing more time in the opposition half. OK, we didn't create many chances but we knew today it would be a tough game.
"We need to keep the same attitude, try to get points in the next game and only be focused on the next game."
Huddersfield have next weekend off before returning to action the following Saturday against Everton at the John Smith's Stadium. Meanwhile, Watford host Crystal Palace next Saturday.