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Fernando Forestieri and Daniel Pudil score as Watford win at Huddersfield Town
5:08pm Saturday 5th October 2013 in Sport
The margin of victory should have been more comfortable but Watford are back to winning ways after a fine performance was rewarded with a 2-1 victory at Huddersfield Town this afternoon.
Danny Ward headed in an Adam Hammill cross to give the Terriers the lead but the advantage didn’t last long as Fernando Forestieri expertly volleyed home a Davide Faraoni cross.
Both sides had opportunities to regain the upper hand but it was the Hornets who took a lead into the break when Daniel Pudil reacted quickest after keeper Alex Smithies spilt a Lewis McGugan free-kick.
Huddersfield came into the game with an unbeaten home record in the league but their margin of defeat should have been more emphatic as the Hornets spurned a succession of fine chances but they were not made to regret them.
Gianfranco Zola once again shuffled his pack, making six changes from the team which started Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers.
In came Lloyd Doyley, Joel Ekstrand, Sean Murray, Josh McEachran, Pudil to make his 50th Hornets appearance and Forestieri. Essaid Belkalem, Marco Cassetti, Iriney, Cristian Battoicchio and Ikechi Anya dropped to the bench, while Javier Acuna was ruled out through injury.
As well as Pudil, there were two other appearance landmarks for the visitors. Troy Deeney made his 200th professional start and Manuel Almunia his 50th league appearance for Watford.
Mark Robins made two changes to the Terriers team which gained a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough last time out to draw for the third match in succession.
Oliver Norwood was brought into midfield alongside Hornets old boy Jonathan Hogg and Ward also started, with Oscar Gobern and Sean Scannell dropping to the bench.
The game got off to a low-key opening but it was the hosts who had the first attempt in the fourth minute when Almunia was not troubled by a tame Hammill strike from the edge of the area.
Soon after, Gabriele Angella was forced to put the ball behind for a corner as James Vaughan sought to latch on to a pass forward from the halfway. From that set piece though, the Hornets broke downfield and although a heavy Deeney touch threatened to end the move, McEachran kept the move going which ended with McGugan sending a dipping effort over the bar from 25 yards.
Norwood and Hammill sent a couple of long distance efforts over at the other end but after a quiet period the game burst into life with two goals in as many minutes.
It was the Terriers who made the breakthrough in the 17th minute when the Hornets were caught napping as Ward arrived at the far post to glance a Hammill cross from the right down and wide of Almunia to make it 1-0.
It was a lead that was to prove shortlived though, as the ball was worked to the right side of the penalty area and Faraoni’s delivery picked out the unmarked Forestieri in space and he caressed a lovely controlled side-footed volley past Alex Smithies to make it 1-1.
The Hornets almost had another opportunity when McGugan whipped in a free-kick at pace from right of centre around 40 yards from goal but Faraoni was unable to get a touch.
A Ward header didn’t unduly trouble Almunia but in the 30th minute the Hornets spurned a fine chance to take the lead as the Terriers were again opened up on the counter when Forestieri’s chipped past found Deeney and he laid the ball into Murray, who went for a first-time side-footed finish but Smithies was equal to it.
Having gone close to falling behind, Huddersfield almost took the lead soon after when a Hammill cross from the right picked out Vaughan but the home side's top scorer powered a header wide of the far post.
Faraoni was booked for pulling back Joel Lynch in the 36th minute – his fifth caution of the season meaning he will be suspended for the Derby County game – and three minutes later he was joined on a yellow card by Ward following a late challenge on Angella.
But the next opportunity came the Hornets way when Forestieri slid the ball down the side of the Town defence to find Faraoni in space and his goal-bound effort was cleared off the line by Jazz Richards.
However, the Hornets were able to get in front before the break when they scored a second in the last minute of normal time.
The situation arose when the visitors awarded a free-kick to the left of centre around 25 yards and although McGugan’s curling effort was on target, it should have been dealt with by Smithies. However, the keeper let the ball squirm from his grasp and Pudil reacted quickest to convert the rebound and make it 2-1.
Indeed, the Hornets weren’t far away from adding a third in stoppage time when another McGugan delivery, this time low and hard from the left, caused more problems for Smithies, who could only parry, but Anthony Gerrard was able to clear before Deeney could pounce.
Robins made a change at the start of the second half, with teenager Duane Holmes replacing Adam Clayton.
The Hornets had looked threatening on the counter-attack in the first half and it was this method of play that almost yielded a third goal six minutes after the restart.
The impressive Forestieri was again the player to lead the charge and he found McGugan, who could have slipped in Deeney but chose to go it alone and he fired narrowly wide from the edge of the area.
Almunia was able to make a routine save from a Hogg shot before Deeney spurned a fine opportunity to add a third when he seized on a lapse from Gerrard, only to fire over the target with just Smithies to beat.
Robins made his second change in the 65th minute with Martin Paterson coming on for Richards but the visitors were starting to rack up more and more openings.
First Faraoni sliced a shot wide of the near post after the Hornets passed their way across the Huddersfield area and then Forestieri was twice thwarted by Smithies after Deeney’s pass put him through one against one.
An even better chance was to follow in the 73rd minute, again on the counter-attack, when Doyley featured prominently as he broke towards the left side of the area before sliding the ball across to McEachran, who looked odds-on to score his first senior club goal but he missed the target.
Next Forestieri shot straight at Smithies after being teed up by Deeney’s cross-field ball but then Zola decided to make a couple of changes as Iriney came on for McEachran and Anya replaced Pudil.
It was Anya who was to have the next opening, seeing a shot deflected over after more fine build-up play involving Murray and Deeney, but Huddersfield then had a rare second-half opportunity when Ward curled a free-kick from wide on the left the wrong side of Almunia’s near post.
Both sides made their final substitutions with five minutes to go as Scannell came on for Lynch before Forestieri’s fine afternoon was ended when he was replaced by Fabbrini. And it was the Italian who almost set up another opening when his ball into space almost set Anya through but Smithies read the danger and raced from his area to clear.
There was the occasional nervous moment in the six minutes of injury time as Huddersfield dominated possession and frantically tried to carve out one more clear opening, but their opponents came through it to record a thoroughly deserved victory.
Huddersfield Town: Smithies; Richards (Paterson 65), Clarke, Gerrard, Lynch (Scannell 85); Hogg, Norwood; Hammill, Clayton (Holmes 46), Ward; Vaughan. Not used: Bennett, Woods, Gobern, Stead.
Watford: Almunia; Doyley, Angella, Ekstrand; Faraoni, McGugan, McEachran (Iriney 78), Murray, Pudil (Anya 80); Deeney, Forestieri (Fabbrini 86). Not used: Bond, Belkalem, Cassetti, Battocchio.
Bookings: Faraoni for a foul on Lynch (36); Ward for a foul on Angella (39).
Attendance: 14,311 (950 away).
Referee: David Webb.
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