Ross Barkley’s second half strike was the difference as Watford suffered a 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park on Friday night.

The Everton man made the most of a vacated Hornets midfield and retreating defence to fire home from 25-yards and send Watford to a fourth straight loss.

The Toffees would have won by more, but for the input of Heurelho Gomes, who made a number of fine stops to keep the score down.

Troy Deeney could, however, have put Walter Mazzarri’s side ahead eight minutes after half-time, but fired wide from six yards to waste Watford’s best chance of the night.

The result leaves Watford 15th in the table with two games to play and they are still not guaranteed of their top flight status.

Their six-point advantage and superior goal difference over 18th-placed Hull City should be enough to keep them safe, but Watford will be looking over their shoulders heading into the last week of the season.

Here’s how Watford’s players rated on Merseyside.

Heurelho Gomes – 7.5

Fine save in the sixth minute to deny Barkley after the Everton number eight cut onto his left foot and curled towards the bottom corner.

Was similarly alert when Denying Tom Davies from a corner early on and saved Watford on a number of occasions.

Daryl Janmaat – 6.5

Watford Observer:

Attacking input provided Watford’s best moments and should have been rewarded with an assist when crossing for Deeney, who fired wide. Was, however, fortunate not to concede a penalty for a foul on Lukaku.

Christian Kabasele – 5.5 (replaced by Juan Zuniga 37)

Turned too easily when charging into a challenge with Barkley to allow Tom Davies a run at goal.

Ended a poor half hour when being beaten by Romelu Lukaku on the right before going off injured.

Adrian Mariappa – 6

Defensively sound and did a good job of keeping the league’s top scorer at bay. Beaten early on by Barkley but grew into the game.

Sebastian Prodl – 5.5

Solid in the first half, but the manner in which he retreated and then turned his back for the Everton winner will make painful viewing for the big Austrian.

Jose Holebas – 7

A real attacking presence in the first half hour before Kabasele’s injury saw him move centrally where he could not have the same impact. Remained solid in a less familiar position.

Abdoulaye Doucoure – 7

Watford Observer:

Drove Watford forward in the early stages, breaking up play well and carrying the ball confidently. Influence lessened after he was shifted to a left-wing role which doesn’t suit him.

Valon Behrami – 6.5 (replaced by Amrabat 71)

Replaced the ineligible Tom Cleverley in midfield and was solid for the most part, tracking back well and pressing enthusiastically. Busy following the run of Lukaku when Barkley was left free to score.

Etienne Capoue – 5.5 (replaced by Niang 81)

Struggled to influence the game in both an attacking and defensive sense as the game passed him by once again. Part of a midfield three which went missing when Barkley picked up the ball in acres of space for the winner.

Stefano Okaka – 7

The liveliest of Watford’s strikers and looked to run at the Everton Defence at every given chance. One such occasion resulted in a drive from range going just wide. A committed display full of bustling energy.

Troy Deeney – 6

Watford Observer:

What could have been had the Watford captain converted at 0-0. Instead Deeney fired wide from six yard. Despite winning a number of headers, he cut a familiarly frustrated figure in attack.


Juan Zuniga – 6

Slotted in at left-back when Kabasele had to make way with injury and did well to offer an attacking outlet. One superb 40 yard ball over the top would have sent Okaka clear had the forwards touch been better.

Nordin Amrabat – 6

Brought on as Watford chased the game and looked to run at the Everton defence when given the chance.

M’Baye Niang – N/A Too short a cameo to impress.