Hull City

1

Watford

2

A Goal of the Season contender from Wesley Hoedt clinched an outstanding away win over in-form Hull City, who had earlier seen a penalty saved by Watford goalkeeper Ben Hamer.

Edo Kayembe opened the scoring on his 50th Hornets outing in the game’s early stages, only for Scott Twine to drag the Tigers level just two minutes later.

Hamer’s superb low save denied Jaden Philogene from the penalty spot on the hour but the game’s standout moment belonged to Hoedt, who scored with a stunning chip just five yards from the halfway line.

It proved to be a worthy winner for Watford, who secured their second away victory of the season and have now suffered just one defeat in nine Sky Bet Championship games.

There were no changes to the line-up from Tuesday’s 3-2 comeback win over Norwich City, which meant Valérien Ismaël opted to stick with Hamer in goal despite the return from suspension of club captain Daniel Bachmann, who was named on the bench.

Hull were quickest out of the traps in freezing temperatures at the MKM Stadium and might have taken a second-minute lead had Hamer not kept out a header from the unmarked Tyler Morton.

Watford responded well and nearly scored an early opener of their own, Ismaël Koné running onto a Mileta Rajović lay-off and firing over from inside the box.

The Hornets did break the deadlock moments later though. Ken Sema and Jamal Lewis combined well on the left and when the latter dragged the ball back, Kayembe was on hand to control and convert from around 12 yards.

It was a pleasing start for the visitors, but their lead was to prove short-lived as Twine steered home a Hull equaliser after Hoedt’s tackle had cut short Liam Delap’s mazy run, the goal bringing an end to a frantic opening 10 minutes.

Philogene went into the game topping the Tigers’ goal and assist charts for the season, and the young attacker was denied a seventh strike of the campaign when Hamer tipped over a dangerous shot from the edge of the area.

The 21-year-old Aston Villa youth product then displayed clever footwork in holding off Kayembe and side-stepping Ryan Andrews, but his angled shot flew well wide of the far post.

Watford finished the half strongest and, having opened his Hornets account in midweek, Koné drew a desperate save from Ryan Allsop with a Gerard Deulofeu-esque chip that nearly curled into the far corner, before Yáser Asprilla’s 20-yard shot deflected wide.

The first real chance after the interval fell to Hornets left-back Lewis, who cut onto his right-foot and was unfortunate to watch a deflection take the power out of his shot.

Both goalkeepers had enjoyed a quiet opening to the second half but Hamer was about to be called into action in the most dramatic fashion. Jake Livermore was ruled to have tripped Jacob Greaves inside the box and from the resulting 60th-minute penalty, the Watford stopper dived to his right and produced a fine low save from Philogene.

Not deterred by the missed opportunity, Hull City continued to push forward and saw good chances for Twine and Delap go begging.

Watford opted for fresh legs with 25 minutes to go, Tom Ince and Vakoun Bayo introduced for Asprilla and Rajović in a double change that helped relieve some of the pressure on the Hornets’ goal.

Lewis was enjoying another impressive afternoon on Watford’s left and the Newcastle United loanee nearly scored his first goal for the club with a shot that was punched into the air by Allsop.

The Hull goalkeeper could do little about what followed, however. Imperious at the back once again, Hoedt dispossessed Delap just inside the half and sent an outrageous chip over the stranded Allsop and into the top corner to restore Watford’s lead in unbelievable fashion with quarter of an hour to play.

Ismaël opted for defensive reinforcements, introducing Francisco Sierralta and Mattie Pollock in place of Andrews and Sema as the visitors prepared for the inevitable Hull City onslaught.

Philogene threatened once more for the Tigers, this time finding the roof of the net with a dangerous effort from 20 yards.

Despite throwing men forward in the latter stages, the Tigers failed to test Hamer with any further meaningful attempts on goal and – helped by the stoppage-time introduction of Tom Dele-Bashiru for Koné – Watford earned another memorable and important three points.

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