Match ends, Watford 1, Leicester City 1.
Watford 1-1 Leicester: Teams share point after superb late goals
Watford "have a responsibility" to ensure they are still in the Premier League when fans can return to Vicarage Road, says manager Nigel Pearson.
The Hornets, who have had strong home form under Pearson, rescued a point behind closed doors against Leicester after Ben Chilwell and Craig Dawson traded excellent stoppage-time goals.
But they remain deep in relegation trouble and Pearson said his players did not find it easy to play without their home crowd.
"It is a really strange day," he told BT Sport. "For the players who thrive on atmosphere and emotional attachment it will be difficult to get used to.
"We want our fans back here when it is safe, our responsibility in the meantime is that when they come back here next it is for Premier League football."
Dawson digs out a point
Watford delivered the on-pitch shock of the season when they thumped Liverpool 3-0 in their last home game way back in February.
In fact, three of their six league wins have been at home against sides in the top seven.
So it was perhaps no surprise that - after a minute's silence for the NHS and coronavirus victims and all players and officials then taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement - the hosts had the better chances, with both Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr missing great opportunities to open the scoring.
Kasper Schmeichel excelled on both occasions but could no nothing about Dawson's improvised overhead kick which preserved a valuable point.
"It is a really good point against a good team," said Pearson. "We have proved to ourselves we can compete.
"Let's hope it doesn't stay like this for too long. It is not something we'd thrive on. We need to negotiate this period of time and as a football club we need to do what we can to retain our status."
The Hornets were led by captain Troy Deeney, who was late back to training after deciding he did not want to put his child, who has had breathing difficulties, "in more danger" from coronavirus.
Deeney looked as sharp as anyone and went close with a header at 0-0 before the late flurry of excitement.
Defeat would have been harsh on the Hornets, who, with home games against Southampton, Norwich and Newcastle still to come, look set to fight for survival all the way.
Vardy's wait goes on
Leicester looked typically slick and tidy and controlled much of the game's possession without getting Jamie Vardy into the game too often.
The striker, who only made his top-flight debut at the age of 27, is remarkably just a goal away from reaching the landmark of 100 in the Premier League but his only sight of the net was a powerful shot driven wide on the spin.
The introduction of Demarai Gray helped Leicester raise the tempo, and they finally tested Ben Foster through James Maddison's low shot seconds after Marc Albrighton had thumped the post.
Chilwell then broke the deadlock with his superb goal, smashing in from 20 yards off the far post, but the visitors could not hold on.
"It was a great pass to Ben Chilwell for the goal and we have said to him that he has a great strike on him," said manager Brendan Rodgers.
"It was sweet and could have won the game but it wasn't to be. But in patches we were good and in the course of time will be better.
"We felt we had done enough to win it. Kasper made some good saves but Ben Foster had to make them too. We will take a point and move on."
A return to the Champions League looks likely for Rodgers' side, who now have an eight-point cushion to fifth-placed Manchester United.
Manchester City's two-year ban from European competition - appeal pending - means fifth place will be enough for a Champions League spot.
Man of the match - Ben Chilwell
Expect the unexpected late drama - the stats
- Six of the past seven meetings between these two sides in the Premier League have seen a goal or a red card in the 90th minute or later (six goals, one red card).
- Watford have won just one of their past eight top-flight games (D3 L4), after winning four of the five before that (D1).
- Leicester have enjoyed just four wins in their past 14 Premier League games (D4 L6), after winning 12 of the 14 before that (L2).
- Brendan Rodgers is the fourth manager from either Northern Ireland or the Republic to hit the 200-game mark in the Premier League (also Joe Kinnear, David O'Leary and Martin O'Neill).
- Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell has scored two goals in his past five Premier League appearances, as many as in his previous 91 in the competition.
- Craig Dawson's goal was his first in the Premier League in 31 appearances (since February 2018) and his first ever in the competition for Watford (21 games).
Watford travel to Burnley for an 18:00 BST kick-off on Thursday 25 June, while Leicester are at home to Brighton at the same time on Tuesday 23 June.
- 21FemeníaSubstituted forMariappaat 77'minutes
- 11MasinaSubstituted forHolebasat 88'minutes
- 29CapoueSubstituted forChalobahat 77'minutes
- 16DoucouréSubstituted forCleverleyat 77'minutes
- 37PereyraSubstituted forWelbeckat 69'minutes
- 11AlbrightonSubstituted forIheanachoat 83'minutes
- 8TielemansBooked at 40minsSubstituted forChoudhuryat 76'minutes
- 15BarnesSubstituted forGrayat 65'minutes
- Craig Pawson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Watford 1, Leicester City 1.
Offside, Leicester City. Kasper Schmeichel tries a through ball, but Jamie Vardy is caught offside.
Goal! Watford 1, Leicester City 1. Craig Dawson (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Christian Kabasele following a corner.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Wilfred Ndidi.
Goal! Watford 0, Leicester City 1. Ben Chilwell (Leicester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Demarai Gray.
Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Adrian Mariappa (Watford).
Substitution, Watford. José Holebas replaces Adam Masina.
Attempt missed. Adam Masina (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.
Foul by James Maddison (Leicester City).
Christian Kabasele (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Jonny Evans (Leicester City).
Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Leicester City. Kelechi Iheanacho replaces Marc Albrighton.
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Adam Masina.
James Maddison (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford).
Foul by James Justin (Leicester City).
Tom Cleverley (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Demarai Gray (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ben Chilwell.
Substitution, Watford. Adrian Mariappa replaces Kiko Femenía.
Substitution, Watford. Tom Cleverley replaces Abdoulaye Doucouré.
Substitution, Watford. Nathaniel Chalobah replaces Etienne Capoue.
Çaglar Söyüncü (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ismaila Sarr (Watford).
Substitution, Leicester City. Hamza Choudhury replaces Youri Tielemans.
Attempt missed. James Maddison (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by James Justin.
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Ben Foster.
Attempt saved. James Maddison (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Demarai Gray.
Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Demarai Gray.
James Justin (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Danny Welbeck (Watford).
Substitution, Watford. Danny Welbeck replaces Roberto Pereyra.
Attempt missed. Demarai Gray (Leicester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Ben Chilwell.
Substitution, Leicester City. Demarai Gray replaces Harvey Barnes.
Foul by Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City).
Ismaila Sarr (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Craig Dawson.
Foul by Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City).