Soccer  

Norwich City 0-1 Watford: Late Vakoun Bayo strike sees Hornets beat Hornets

Vakoun Bayo scores for Watford against Norwich City
Vakoun Bayo’s goal was his fourth in 22 Championship appearances for the Hornets this season

Vakoun Bayo’s late breakaway goal earned victory for Watford and left managerless Norwich City pondering a dismal home run which has now seen them win just once in nine Championship matches at Carrow Road.

Bayo tapped the ball home after a slick move, Ismaila Sarr racing away down the left and showing great composure to pick out the striker to net from close range.

Watford had been the more threatening for much of an entertaining game, with the impressive Keinan Davis twice going close before the break.

But the Canaries, in their second game under interim boss Allan Russell, improved in the latter stages and twice threatened through Adam Idah, only for Bako’s effort to ensure the Hornets move up to fourth in the Championship table and leave Norwich languishing in 11th place.

The win was the perfect response from an injury-hit Watford side thrashed 4-0 by Swansea City last time out, but a real blow to the hosts, who have failed to win either of their games since sacking Dean Smith following a run of just three wins in 13 league games.

Watford, no doubt with the stern words of boss Slaven Bilic still ringing in their ears after their hammering by the Swans, showed much more cohesion in the early stages with Davis involved in all their best moments.

The on-loan Aston Villa man’s nifty footwork led to him having an early strike beaten away at the near post by keeper Angus Gunn, and he also sent a delicious curling effort narrowly wide before then squaring a pass to Sarr, whose goalbound shot was blocked.

Norwich, who are expected to reveal Smith’s successor this week, settled after an understandably edgy beginning, Grant Hanley having a header rightly ruled out for offside in their first real moment of note 10 minutes before the break.

The lively Josh Sargent – three times a goalscorer in his previous three games against the Hornets – then got free on the left but saw his cross stopped by keeper Daniel Bachmann.

The end-to-end nature continued after the interval but big chances remained rare.

Bayo missed a glorious one however, fluffing his lines horrendously five minutes after the restart when he scuffed his effort from point-blank range and allowed the hosts to scramble the ball clear.

Norwich looked to be finishing the stronger, with Marcelino Nunez dragging a shot wide from the edge of the box and Sargent lifting an effort over the bar when racing through on goal.

But their best opportunities fell to Adam Idah, who first missed the target when well placed and then curled a superb 20-yard strike a fraction wide following some fine approach play by Teemu Pukki.

Watford lost Davis, Samuel Kalu and Christian Kabasele to injury towards the end, but still emerged victorious thanks to Bayo – although the Canaries almost snatched a point when Gabriel Sara’s free-kick grazed the bar during nine minutes of added time.

Norwich interim boss Allan Russell told BBC Radio Norfolk:

“It was an open game – a proper game. Lots of times, in these situation it’s a switch-off in focus or a poor decision that kills you.

“We knew we had to limit their transitions and we gave them a counter-attack which they took advantage of. That said, we had enough chances to win it. The quality could have been better, but the effort desire and determination was all there to be seen.

“The players know the standards have not been good enough. It is a really good group of player who are willing to work hard. There is an honesty in the dressing room. But it is a dressing room that needs a lift in confidence.

“Motivation is not an issue. If you look at the players, not one of them lacked motivation, drive or bravery. We just lacked quality at certain times.”

Watford boss Slaven Bilic told BBC Three Counties Radio:

“It was a great result. Given all the difficulties it was a great performance. Sometimes you are asking your team to give more than the maximum.

“From my point of view, we had the better chances. It was collectively a really, really good performance – fantastic. I am extremely proud of the team. Unfortunately we have another few injuries – we are big-time unlucky.

“We heard the fans. It was a very good good day for us. We have the FA Cup and normally you play with your second team, but we don’t have a second team – we just have a team.

“Some of the players will hopefully be back very soon. We showed that even when the situation is impossible, still it is possible. The only way to get something is to give your maximum and to be positive. It’s three points on the table but it feels like much more than that.

“We need to be active in the transfer window. We have been active and already have got a couple of players, but we will need more.”

Line-ups

Norwich

Formation 4-3-3

  • 28Gunn
  • 2AaronsSubstituted forOmobamideleat 74′minutes
  • 5HanleyBooked at 45mins
  • 6Gibson
  • 15McCallum
  • 26Núñez
  • 46GibbsBooked at 18mins
  • 17Gomes Sara
  • 11Idah
  • 22Pukki
  • 24Sargent

Substitutes

  • 1Krul
  • 4Omobamidele
  • 9Hugill
  • 10Dowell
  • 14Cantwell
  • 25Hernández
  • 30Giannoulis

Watford

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Bachmann
  • 27KabaseleSubstituted forTroost-Ekongat 83′minutes
  • 31SierraltaBooked at 68mins
  • 15Cathcart
  • 2NgakiaBooked at 4mins
  • 3M Gaspar
  • 25Bacuna
  • 42MorrisBooked at 49mins
  • 28KaluSubstituted forBayoat 29′minutes
  • 23Sarr
  • 7DavisSubstituted forAsprillaat 64′minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Troost-Ekong
  • 18Asprilla
  • 19Bayo
  • 26Hamer
  • 32Pollock
  • 36Hungbo
  • 50Blake

Referee:
James Linington

Attendance:
26,587

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