Goalscorers: Troy Deeney 14, 27, Nathan Ake 34, Callum Wilson 37, Ken Sema 38, Ryan Fraser 40
AFC Bournemouth: Asmir Begovic, Nathan Ake, Steve Cook, Charlie Daniels, Dan Gosling, Jefferson Lerma, David Brooks, Junior Stanislas, Ryan Fraser (Lys Mousset 82), Josh King, Callum Wilson (Jordon Ibe 81)
Watford: Ben Foster, Craig Cathcart, Jose Holebas, Kiko Femenia, Adrian Mariappa, Etienne Capoue, Abdoulaye Doucoure (Tom Cleverley 56), Ken Sema (Will Hughes 71), Roberto Pereyra, Gerard Deulofeu (Isaac Success 90), Troy Deeney
Referee: David Coote, Attendance: 10,261
AFC Bournemouth and Watford were experiencing solid seasons when they came head-to-head in January 2019 at The Vitality Stadium. Traditionally, fixtures between these teams had been fairly sparse when it came to scoring goals. However, this turned into a crazy game which saw the points and six goals shared – all coming in a manic first 40 minutes.
The Hornets came into the match in ninth position in the table, two points above their opponents in the table. They landed the first blow in the 14th minute. A neat exchange between Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ken Sema saw the winger float a cross into the box. Meeting it was skipper Troy Deeney. He produced a trademark header, completely unmarked despite the presence of several defenders and his contact was more than enough to beat Asmir Begovic.
13 minutes later, Deeney doubled Watford’s lead with another clinical finish after the hard work had been done by the lively Gerard Deulofeu. A sloppy pass from Dan Gosling allowed the Spaniard to embark on a mazy run with a number of Bournemouth’s players stranded up the pitch. Deulofeu teased and twisted past Nathan Ake, who seemed hesitant to make a challenge for fear of giving away a penalty. Steve Cook did successfully tackle Deulofeu but unfortunately for him, the ball fell straight into Deeney’s path. At this stage, Javi Gracia’s team were well on their way to avenging the 4-0 loss they’d suffered at home to the Cherries in the reverse fixture back in October 2018.
Bournemouth had to score the next goal to stay alive in the contest and they duly did 12 minutes before half-time. From Ryan Fraser’s free-kick and a set-up by Cook, Gosling almost made amends for his earlier error. Ben Foster made a brilliant save to deny him but unfortunately for the Watford shot-stopper, Ake was in the right place to convert and score for the second successive match.
Four minutes later, the home side were level with a second successful set-piece. Fraser again played his part with another dangerous delivery. This time, there were no rebounds. Callum Wilson provided a smashing, looping header over Foster to make the scoreline 2-2.
Watford had been stung but they buzzed themselves back into the lead less than 60 seconds later. Deeney beat Ake in an aerial battle and the ball fell to Sema, who struck a decent shot with his left-foot that snapped past Begovic. His first-ever Premier League goal had the visitors back ahead. However, they couldn’t hold on until the interval.
In the 40th minute, Fraser’s lively first half display was capped off with an equaliser, finishing off a sweet move which involved clever dummies from both forwards, Wilson and Josh King.
The second half was a much quieter affair but the first half frolics meant this was a match to remember. The points deservedly shared between two teams who had come up together from the Championship in 2015.