Blues fightback fails to beat Hornets

By Michael Kenrick 10/12/2016  327 Comments  [Jump to last]

Eighth and ninth goals of the season for Everton's prime goal-getter but they weren't enough
Watford 3 - 1 Everton

Ronald Koeman made a couple of changes, with McCarthy and Deulofeu getting the chance to impress. Mirallas and Funes Mori retained their places. Jagielka and Barkley failed to start a second successive game as Everton continue the season without record signing Yannick Bolasie.

The now standard Everton kick-off ensued: back to Williams, the ball lofted forward and possession conceded. But it was Everton who attacked through Deulofeu but he could not get past the defender and ended up conceding a free-kick. Holebas tried his trademark long throw at he other end, another long ball pumped up toward Lukaku, Mirallas called for a push.

A half-chance came from the next ball forward and almost fell for Lukaku but he did not attack the ball and it was cleared. Guedioura was carded for a stamp on Gana's ankle.

A zipped ball out to Deulofeu was glanced behind for Everton's first corner that was powered in at Gomez along the goalline, who was forced to do a volleyball save and deflect it away from goal.

Watford mounted their first decent attack, Amrabat getting past Funes Mori with ease but crossing poorly. But they put a good move together that saw Capoue cross dangerously, Funes Mori preventing any shot on Stekelenburg's goal. Deulofeu clipped the heels of Zuniga and his name went in the book. The kick for Watford came to nothing.

Watford had settled better and were setting the tempo but a bouncing ball over the top from Gareth Barry fell nicely for Lukaku and he side-footed it past Gomez to give Everton the lead. That gave Everton a surge of life, with attacks developing down both sides, crosses from Deulofeu and Baines threatening more goals.

But at the other end, Deeney got a chance to shoot but it was weak and Stekelenburg saved comfortably, with nothing coming from a Watford corner soon after. Everton looked more solid but the focus of all forward movement was Lukaku.

Amrabat again caused havoc down Everton's left, beating Banes then Funes Mori but Deeney could not get a clean strike on it and Everton escaped. Then it was the turn of Okaka and Holevas down the Everton right but that came to nothing.

Williams was called for climbing over Troy Deeney, the kick fired straight at Lukaku and the ball was back with Everton, to the frustration of the home crowd. But it was scrappy stuff from the visitors as well, and not pretty to watch at times.

Mirallas zipped in a nice ball right to Lukaku's feet but the big man was under pressure and it came right back. The pressing game saw lack of any fluidity from both sides in a tight and competitive midfield. Okaka was flattened by a Funes Mori clearance and was spoken to by the ref for his 'You watching?' gesture.

A header on target was saved easily by Stekelenburg. But in the next attack, it was Amrabat who fired in a tremendous cross and Okaka ran past Williams and did a brilliant flick on the turn to bamboozle Stekelenburg and put Watford back in the game.

Gana gave the ball away in a forward position and it put Everton under real pressure. More clever stuff from Amarabat, and a good ball to Deeney on the far post was thankfully fluffed by the 99-goal Watford man. Capoue looked to beat Barry as he drove into the Everton area, Barry clipping the ball away.

Deulofeu whipped in a tremendous cross that Mirallas could not quite reach. It was frenetic stuff at times with no lack of effort from both sides, fighting for every ball. Coleman was next to cross in well but Mirallas was not determined enough to make a chance out of it as the half ended.

Behrami started throwing up before the restart which was a little delayed. Deulofeu did his trademark run with 15 stepovers and no delivery, the ball going behind as Barkley was out to warm up early.

Deulofeu fired in another cross, earlier this time, but straight to Gomez as the second half so far lacked the vim and vigour of the first. Mirallas and Coleman combined but the Irishman was called off side before he crossed to Baines.

Deulofeu was fouled on another run in and he risked censure for his animated reaction. It was Deulofeu again into the area, but he played it behind both Mirallas and Lukaku. A good move was spoilt by Lukaku advancing offside.

It was scrappy and formless with neither side doing very well, silly fouls and offsides breaking the tempo. Guedioura fired in one free-kick that was headed over. The next silly foul by Deulofeu on the other side was punished by Prodl, headed in with ease.

Baines seemed to take out Amrabat with a raised arm, and he was booked. Britos came around the back and it needed a smart save from Stekelenburg. But Holevas headed in the corner undefended, a shocking capitulation by the Blues.

Barkley came on with a massive task to turn around an absolute disaster on the part of the Blues who had ominously failed to build on their lead, and had now yielded three goals in a shocking collapse.

Deulofeu fired in a low cross and Lukaku for once was ahead of his defender but Prodl was too clever for the big man. Deulofeu did well to run down the channel but Mirallas had been turned and could not do anything with the ball.

Another silly free-kick this time given up by Williams almost gave the Hornets another chance. Everton were being pressed hard as Valencia replaced Mirallas. Into the final 20 minutes and Watford slowed the tempo to a walking pace, pulling everyone back and making Everton's task harder than ever.

Everton did finally put together a decent move, Valencia winning a corner that Deulofeu swung in well but Barkley could not fire in the second ball. Barkley's free-kick was punched away by Gomez. Deulofeu tried his luck from the left but Barkley could not dig out the shot. Gomez collected a corner easily but the Blues kept pressing. Valencia fired a shot wide.

Holevas got free and was sandwiched but no penalty called, as a bearded Aaron Lennon replaced Leighton Baines for Koeman's final throw of the dice. A great cross-field pass from Barkley and tremendous ball in from Deulofeu for Lukaku to flick home... only he didn't and he was called offside anyway.

A good cross in from Lennon was headed behind lamely by Valencia. Finally a better play from Valencia and a great cross from Lennon headed home by Lukaku.

It was desperate stuff as Everton fought for an equalizer, Valencia being impeded by Britos but no call from referee Taylor. Barkley played a soft free-kick straight at Gomez. Spoiling tactics from Watford as they looked to run down the clock.

A dismal result for Everton from the scoreline despite some tremendous effort put in by the Blues in a very competitive game, who slip down another place in the League despite two goals from Lukaku.

Watford: Gomes, Zuniga (90+2' Kabasele), Prodl, Britos, Holebas, Guedioura [Y:7'] (61' Janmaat), Behrami, Capoue, Amrabat, Okaka (81' Watson), Deeney.
Subs: Success, Sinclair, Ighalo, Pantilimon.

Everton: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, Gueye (63' Barkley), McCarthy , Deulofeu [Y:14'], Mirallas (70' Valencia), Lukaku.
Subs: Robles, Jagielka, Lennon, Cleverley, Holgate.

Referee: Anthony Taylor

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