Championship
WatfordWatford3StokeStoke City2

Watford 3-2 Stoke City: Ismaila Sarr scores stoppage-time winner for Hornets

Ismaila Sarr
Ismaila Sarr's goal was his third for Watford this season

Ismaila Sarr scored a stoppage-time goal as Watford won for the first time in four Championship games by beating Stoke.

Sarr found the bottom corner from Ken Sema's pass to settle a game in which the lead changed hands three times.

Stoke were given early impetus when Steven Fletcher converted Nick Powell's low cross.

But Watford drew level when Tom Cleverley's shot was judged to have crossed the line after being tipped on to the bar by keeper Angus Gunn, who was himself then barged over the line by Joao Pedro after gathering the bouncing ball.

Brazilian teenager Pedro made it 2-1 from the spot after Gunn was penalised for bringing down Sarr, who netted the decider after Powell scored his third goal in five games to bring Stoke level with a powerful low strike.

The victory lifted Vladimir Ivic's side into fourth place, with Stoke - who had won on six of their eight previous league visits to Watford - slipping down to 11th.

Ivic resisted the temptation for major changes despite Saturday's disappointing performance at Barnsley, but brought in Christian Kabasele for William Troost-Ekong in defence.

It only took Stoke two minutes to find a way through, though, as Fletcher applied the finishing touch following a clever short corner routine involving three team-mates.

Watford dominated possession but lacked a cutting edge until Cleverley's controversial equaliser - his second goal of the season

Fletcher glanced a header wide for Stoke after the break but Gunn was penalised when Sarr ran onto a missed clearance and tried to go round him, and Pedro found the corner from the spot.

It was his final act as he and Cleverley were replaced by Andre Gray and James Garner and the former could have made it three when he headed wide from Kiko Femenia's cross before Powell appeared to have earned Stoke a point, only for Sarr to pick his spot from the edge of the box and make it four wins out of five for Watford at home.

Watford boss Vladimir Ivic:

"The first moment I couldn't see exactly what happened but at half-time I heard that maybe we were lucky with the (first goal) decision.

"But we cannot speak just about this goal. If we speak generally about the game we didn't start well. We started to play after the goal of our opponent and this is something we need to fix.

"After that we were the dominant team and I believe we have made progress if you speak about possession, attacking moments and crossing.

"We can do better and our target will be to do that. We need to be focused from the first second to the last of every game."

Stoke manager Michael O'Neill on Tom Cleverley goal:

"We didn't feel it was a goal. I've seen the replays and it's clear the initial shot did not cross the line.

"The officials have to look at the events as well as the technology. On this occasion the technology didn't help them in any way - when you see the events it was a very harsh decision against us.

"We felt there was a foul on Angus after he gathers the ball so if the technology is triggered post the goal obviously you would expect that is not a goal.

"We are disappointed with the decision but it is not going to change now and we will just have to move on from it."

Line-ups

Watford

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Foster
  • 15Cathcart
  • 27Kabasele
  • 6Wilmot
  • 21Femenía
  • 14ChalobahBooked at 56minsSubstituted forHughesat 89'minutes
  • 29CapoueBooked at 90mins
  • 8CleverleySubstituted forGarnerat 62'minutes
  • 12Sema
  • 10João PedroSubstituted forGrayat 62'minutes
  • 23Sarr

Substitutes

  • 3Ngakia
  • 5Troost-Ekong
  • 9Deeney
  • 16Garner
  • 18Gray
  • 19Hughes
  • 26Bachmann

Stoke

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1GunnBooked at 61mins
  • 14SmithSubstituted forVokesat 74'minutes
  • 36Souttar
  • 6Batth
  • 3Fox
  • 26Campbell
  • 13ObiBooked at 79mins
  • 34Thompson
  • 11McClean
  • 21FletcherSubstituted forBrownat 66'minutes
  • 25PowellSubstituted forCousinsat 86'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Lindsay
  • 9Vokes
  • 18Brown
  • 20Oakley-Boothe
  • 24Cousins
  • 35Tymon
  • 40Nna Noukeu
Referee:
Andy Davies

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home66%
Away34%
Shots
Home12
Away5
Shots on Target
Home3
Away3
Corners
Home4
Away1
Fouls
Home12
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 3, Stoke City 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 3, Stoke City 2.

  3. Post update

    Ismaila Sarr (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Tyrese Campbell (Stoke City).

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Harry Souttar (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by James McClean with a cross.

  6. Booking

    Etienne Capoue (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Will Hughes (Watford).

  8. Post update

    Jordan Thompson (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! Watford 3, Stoke City 2. Ismaila Sarr (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ken Sema.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Will Hughes (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ismaila Sarr.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ismaila Sarr (Watford) header from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ken Sema with a cross.

  12. Post update

    Offside, Stoke City. Jordan Thompson tries a through ball, but Harry Souttar is caught offside.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Ben Wilmot (Watford).

  14. Post update

    Tyrese Campbell (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Will Hughes replaces Nathaniel Chalobah.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Kiko Femenía (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Jacob Brown.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Stoke City. Jordan Cousins replaces Nick Powell.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nick Powell (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Tyrese Campbell.

  20. Goal!

    Goal! Watford 2, Stoke City 2. Nick Powell (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Tyrese Campbell.

FA Cup banner
  • Watch 13 first-round ties on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app this weekend. Find out more here.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Reading10712179822
2Swansea10541136719
3Norwich10532128418
4Watford10532117418
5Bournemouth10451128417
6Middlesbrough1045195417
7Bristol City105231411317
8Millwall10442108216
9Luton10514810-216
10Brentford104331712515
11Stoke104331212015
12Preston104151412213
13Cardiff103431210213
14Birmingham1034388013
15Huddersfield104151112-113
16QPR103431012-213
17Blackburn103251813511
18Barnsley102441013-310
19Rotherham10235811-39
20Nottm Forest10235712-59
21Coventry102261020-108
22Wycombe10217617-117
23Derby10136514-96
24Sheff Wed10325610-45
View full Championship table

Top Stories