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Ryan Andrews goal ends Watford’s long wait for home win
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Ryan Andrews scored the winner for Watford (John Walton/PA).
Ryan Andrews scored the winner for Watford (John Walton/PA).

Substitute Ryan Andrews ended Watford’s dismal run of form at Vicarage Road as they clinched a 1-0 victory over Sunderland.

Tom Cleverley was able to celebrate his appointment as permanent manager with the club’s first home victory since November 28, ending a run of 12 winless games.

In spite of improved performances since taking charge on a caretaker basis from the sacked Valerien Ismael, Cleverley’s record had read five draws in seven games.

And the first half on Saturday was similarly mediocre, both teams seemingly searching for an identity, with Sunderland, like Watford, on their third manager of a muddled season.

It took 32 minutes for the first chance to arrive.

From a Jack Clarke corner for Sunderland, Dan Ballard rose highest at the far post, but his header was comfortably cleared by Ryan Porteous.

Watford’s only effort of note came six minutes later when Ismael Kone toe-poked a shot wide. As it dribbled toward the advertising hoardings it barely raised a murmur among the Vicarage Road faithful, so soporific had the rest of the half been.

Those two opportunities did at least raise hopes of better things to come.

Moments later, Sunderland ought to have taken the lead when Adil Aouchiche seized on a wayward Watford pass, sprinted forward and laid the ball into the path of Chris Rigg, who was coming in at an angle.

Rigg delayed his shot just long enough for Daniel Bachmann to touch the ball away for a corner with his outstretched foot.

The Watford goalkeeper proved his side’s saviour again in first half added time when he rushed out to block a Trai Hume shot, the ball bouncing up and landing on the roof of the net.

The visitors’ dominance continued into the second period when Clarke sprinted clear, only to steer his shot wide of a post.

Suddenly, though, Watford carved out an opportunity through Ken Sema, whose cross was eventually volleyed by Edo Kayembe against the legs of Sunderland keeper Anthony Patterson.

The deadlock was broken after 64 minutes with a move of rare quality.

Kone waited for Andrews to sprint ahead of him before slipping his pass between defenders and watching the substitute drill a low shot into the far corner.

Sunderland’s search for an equaliser was determined, but they could not carve out an opportunity of note.

There was a poignant moment as the match entered stoppage time, with Yaser Asprilla being substituted and seemingly waving goodbye to the Watford fans. The 20-year-old seems certain to leave Vicarage Road in the summer.


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