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Watford vs Newcastle United. Premier League.

Vicarage Road.

Watford 2

  • T Deeney (52nd minute pen, 82nd minute pen)

Newcastle United 1

  • D Gayle (23rd minute)

Watford 2-1 Newcastle: Troy Deeney at the double from the spot to steer Hornets towards safety

Match report and free highlights as Hornets fight back to move six points clear of relegation zone

preview image 2:59
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Watford's win against Newcastle

Watford took a significant step towards Premier League survival as two Troy Deeney penalties helped them come from behind to beat Newcastle 2-1 at Vicarage Road.

Dwight Gayle gave the visitors the lead when he steered home from close range (23) but the hosts improved after the restart as Kiko Femenia was brought down inside the box by Matt Ritchie, allowing Deeney to level (52).

The Watford captain completed the turnaround with a carbon copy from the spot after Javier Manquillo upended Ismaila Sarr (82), as Nigel Pearson's side moved six points clear of the relegation zone.

They remain 17th while Newcastle stay in 13th place in the Premier League table after a second straight defeat.

Deeney fires in a second second-half penalty to complete the turnaround
Image: Deeney fires in a second second-half penalty to complete the turnaround

Player ratings

Watford: Foster (6), Masina (6), Femenia (7), Dawson (6), Kabasele (6), Doucoure (7), Capoue (6), Hughes (7), Sarr (8), Welbeck (6), Deeney (8)

Subs: Cleverley (n/a), Gray (n/a)

Newcastle: Dubravka (6), Manquillo (5), Rose (6), Fernandez (6), Lascelles (6), Schar (6), Shelvey (7), Ritchie (7), Saint-Maximin (6), Almiron (6), Gayle (7)

Subs: Krafth (6), Joelinton (5), Lazaro, (n/a) Bentaleb (n/a)

Man of the match: Troy Deeney

How Watford found breathing space

There was a huge sigh of relief from Pearson at the final whistle after his side collected another huge three points after they won on their last outing on Tuesday - clinging on to defeat Norwich by the odd goal - but this has been a season that for so long has been shrouded in uncertainty.

Faced with a Newcastle side safely nestled in mid-table, this was a glimmer of light for the Hornets - but they were deservedly behind at the break.

The visitors had already threatened when, after 11 minutes, Jonjo Shelvey's corner was inadvertently flicked on by Deeney, forcing Ben Foster to make a smart save at the far post from Miguel Almiron.

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Watford were looking to win back-to-back league games for the first time since January, and they very nearly broke the deadlock against the run of play when, from Femenia's cross, Danny Welbeck struck the post, with a combination of Martin Dubravka's glove and Jamaal Lascelles' clearance preventing the ball from crossing the line.

Dwight Gayle celebrates his goal against Watford with Newcastle team-mate Miguel Almiron
Image: Dwight Gayle celebrates his goal with Newcastle team-mate Miguel Almiron

But Newcastle went ahead midway through the first half as Watford had not learned their lesson from the earlier set-piece.

Ritchie's corner was flicked on by Federico Fernandez, allowing Gayle to prod home his third goal in his last five Premier League appearances.

Things might have been worse for the Hornets were it not for the intervention of Foster, who saved with his feet to deny the returning Allan Saint-Maximin after a lovely flick into his path from Gayle.

Team news

Watford boss Nigel Pearson named an unchanged line-up.The Hornets beat relegation rivals Norwich 2-1 on Tuesday and Danny Welbeck was included again here after scoring the winner with a fine overhead-kick against the Canaries.

Steve Bruce made five changes following Wednesday's 5-0 thrashing at Manchester City, with Emil Krafth, DeAndre Yedlin, Valentin Lazaro, Nabil Bentaleb and Joelinton being replaced by Javier Manquillo, Jamaal Lascelles, Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin and Dwight Gayle.

But Watford emerged reinvigorated upon the restart and they were awarded a penalty within six minutes of the second period - the first conceded by Newcastle this term. Femenia did well to evade Fernandez's challenge before his was caught by Ritchie.

Dubravka last saved a spot-kick on this ground two seasons ago, but he was unable to keep out Deeney's fierce drive for his first goal since February.

Watford's Ismaila Sarr and Newcastle Jonjo Shelvey battle for the ball
Image: Watford's Ismaila Sarr and Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey battle for the ball

Watford's talisman should have doubled his tally after a mistake by Fernandez presented the ball to him, but his shot was saved by Dubravka.

This was the hosts' best period of the game as moments later, Welbeck's shot towards goal deflected off Danny Rose, wrong-footing Dubravka, but the ball looped just over.

The Hornets were transformed, but it took a clumsy challenge from Manquillo to gift them the chance to complete the turnaround as the Spaniard wrapped his arms around Sarr to give referee Craig Pawson no option but to point to the spot again with eight minutes remaining.

Deeney became the first player to score more than one Premier League penalty in the same match since Paul Pogba did so against West Ham last season, once more rifling his attempt down the middle as Watford earned some much-needed breathing space.

What the managers said

Watford boss Nigel Pearson: "It's never easy for players to deal with the sustained disappointment we've had this season. We've not had a spell where we've been out of trouble and we've still got a lot of work to do, but credit where it's due. The players found answers today.

"It's the second game in a week where we've gone a goal behind but we've been able to win it so we have to reflect on the positive aspects. It doesn't matter how good a squad you have. They've still got to deal with the mental pressures, so credit to them."

Nigel Pearson's Watford are four points above the bottom three 0:36
Watford manager Nigel Pearson says they need to see the job through after a crucial 2-1 win over Newcastle provided a huge boost to their survival hopes

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce: "Decisions are meant to be clear and obvious but the penalties looked remarkably soft to me. It was just what Watford needed, you may call us naive, but I felt they were very soft. This is the fourth call like this in a few days. The first was softer than the second. To lose a game in this manner is difficult to accept.

"I thought our first-half performance was excellent, Saint-Maximin forced a good save from Ben Foster that could've made it 2-0 and they needed a shot in the arm. I thought the only way they could beat us was through set-pieces - the first penalty gave them a lifeline.

"Whether we were naive or they were soft, I'll let others make that judgement. We're not getting the decisions in my opinion."

Javier Manquillo brings down Ismaila Sarr inside the box to concede a penalty 1:18
Steve Bruce says Watford were given a ‘huge lifeline’ after being awarded two ‘soft’ penalties as they came from behind to beat Newcastle.

Man of the match - Troy Deeney

Troy Deeney celebrates scoring for Watford
Image: Deeney celebrates scoring his first goals for Watford since February

There was simply no underplaying the importance of this game, with West Ham pulling clear themselves with a convincing win at Norwich, who Watford had come from behind to beat in their last outing.

Nigel Pearson may have told his players the scoreline at Carrow Road during the interval, with his side deservedly trailing - but then came a response full of character, led by Deeney.

This was not his greatest game - far from it - but it could possibly prove to be his most important in a Watford shirt. The Hornets have taken 12 more points in their last 18 games than they achieved in their first 17, which indicates they have a squad that can do far better.

Only Mark Noble at Upton Park (75 per cent) and David Unsworth at Goodison Park (62 per cent) have scored a higher portion of their goals at a specific venue via penalties than Deeney has at Vicarage Road (48 per cent - 13/27).

Opta stats

Javier Manquillo brings down Ismaila Sarr inside the box to concede a penalty
Image: Javier Manquillo brings down Ismaila Sarr inside the box to concede a penalty
  • Watford have won back-to-back Premier League games, despite conceding the first goal in both matches. The Hornets had only won two of their previous 46 in the competition when shipping the opening goal before today (D7 L37).
  • Newcastle remain winless in six Premier League matches at Vicarage Road (D3 L3), only playing more matches at The Dell (8) and the Etihad Stadium (15) without winning.
  • Newcastle (52%) enjoyed more possession than Watford this afternoon, only the seventh time they have had more than their opponents in the Premier League this season - the Magpies have only managed to win one of those matches (D3 L3).

What's next?

Live FNF

Watford travel to face West Ham at the London Stadium on Friday, live on Sky Sports (kick-off 8pm). Newcastle host Tottenham at 6pm on Wednesday.

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