U18 Report: Watford 5-3 Burnley
By Danny Varsalona
Watford’s Under-18s produced a clinical performance as they battled back to win 5-3 against Burnley, despite playing more than 70 minutes with 10 men.
The Young Hornets had to dig deep against a physical Burnley side -dealing with a number of dangerous crosses and set pieces throughout.
Burnley opened the scoring, albeit controversially. Watford Keeper James Hoskins seemed to be fouled whilst jumping for the ball, but Michael Fowler nodded the ball home anyway after a deep corner was headed back across goal.
It looked like an even harder task for the Hornets after Hoskins was shown a straight red card for handling the ball outside the area – but the Golden boys responded well, grabbing the equaliser soon after.
Some high pressure led to a mistake from the Burnley keeper that was pounced on by the home side – and Sam Sesay calmly finished under pressure from inside the box just before the half-hour mark.
But, Burnley’s set-piece prowess struck again – after a low free-kick was turned in at the second time of asking by Kian Yari following a good save from substitute keeper, Dante Baptiste.
But Watford’s resilience showed and moments before half-time they got their equaliser. Sesay jinked and shimmied on the edge of the area before curling an effort off the inside of the post – but Sonny Blu-Lo Everton had followed play in and was on hand to chip the ball over the diving ‘keeper from the rebound.
It was 2-2 at half time and whatever was said in the dugout clearly made an impact, as the young Hornets came out revitalised and started the second half the stronger of the two sides.
And, it didn’t take them long to take the lead for the first time in the game – Jayden Bennetts finishing brilliantly into the bottom corner following a lovely run after Watford won the ball in midfield.
It was nothing less than Watford deserved, who had adapted to Burnley’s game plan, even with 10 men, as they began to relax on the ball and control the game.
The fourth came through Bennetts again, this time neatly slotting the ball across the goalkeeper in the left-hand corner after more impressive build-up play.
The Clarets remained dangerous, however, – a cross from the left saw a Clarets attacker head the ball onto the bar – a timely reminder of what the away side could produce.
But, it was Watford who grabbed the next goal- a sweeping counter-attack saw Dom Hutchinson neatly dink the ball over the diving Burnley ‘keeper, following a smart stop – rounding off a clinical performance from the Hornets.
Incredibly the scoring wasn’t over, as the away side grabbed the final goal of the game – a consolation - in the 94th minute, as another cross was nodded in off the post by centre-half Bobby Thomas.
HORNETS | Hoskins (GK) (Red Card, 14), Langston (Baptise (GK), 19), Mullins, Burchell, Matthews (Janijeva, 45), Suckling, Blu-Lo Everton (Trialist, 81), Trialist, Sesay, Hutchinson, Bennetts.
Subs not used | Sanders, Trialist.