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Match Reports

Watford 0 Burnley 0

Clarets denied injury-time 'winner' but collect another valuable point

19 January 2019

These two sides had never been involved in a goalless draw at Vicarage Road before and it’s a mystery how that record was ended in the most unlikely of stalemates.

Both sides had chances to break the deadlock and take the scoring run into a 21st fixture. 

But it was Burnley who would have felt the most aggrieved not to have taken maximum points – Chris Wood having an injury-time effort ruled out despite appearing to be on-side – as their recent upsurge in form continued.

A fourth successive top-flight win for only the second time since 1968 eluded the Clarets as they were unable to repeat the result that made it four in a row by winning at Vicarage Road last season.

But bar a more clinical edge in front of goal they couldn’t have done much more to record a third away win of the campaign with one of their best performances on the road this season.

Sean Dyche’s men again looked like a side more than capable of piling up the points to pull away from trouble near the foot of the table.

And they were at least able to add one more to the collection as goalkeeper Tom Heaton also played his part in keeping the momentum going with a second clean in four games the reward for another impressive performance.

Watford, trying to emulate the Clarets of last season and finish ‘best of the rest’ outside the top six, had lost just one of their previous eight games and started like a team not short of confidence.

Troy Deeney, one of the few survivors from Dyche’s time in charge in 2011/12, caused early problems by creating two chances for the Hornets to take the lead.

His ball over the top released Gerard Deulofeu inside the opening two minutes but the former Barcelona man was unable to beat Tom Heaton, who stood firm to make a vital save.

Deeney’s knock-down from a Roberto Pereyra cross then found Ken Sema, whose effort was blocked in front of goal by James Tarkowski as Heaton covered behind.

But that kind of threat was the exception rather than the norm as Burnley then played their way into the game to become the dominant force for the remainder of the first half.

And they should have led thanks to two chances for Ashley Barnes.

It was the running of Barnes and Chris Wood – and the prompting of the midfield men behind – that got the Clarets on the front foot and totally knocked Watford out of their stride.

But Barnes was unable to provide the final touch as he headed a superb Ashley Westwood cross into the arms of a grateful Ben Foster in the Watford goal.

And then after Adrian Mariappa had inadvertently headed a Phil Bardsley cross to the feet of the striker in front of goal, Barnes directed his effort wide of the target.

Wood and Dwight McNeil also found the side netting, but in stoppage time Watford almost made the most of their reprieve when Deeney connected with a cross from Kiko Femena to bring another fine save out of Heaton, moving sharply to his right to parry.

The break did nothing to check the Clarets’ momentum as Jeff Hendrick then had the chance to add to the goal he was belatedly awarded to set up last weekend’s win over Fulham after being teed up by Wood.

But Foster blocked his effort and from back-to-back corners, McNeil blazed over after Ben Mee had headed the ball back across the six-yard box.

It was remarkable that the stalemate sustained as Heaton had to again show smart reflexes to block with his legs after a Deeney header was diverted goalwards by a falling Tarkowski and Pereyra curled an effort just wide.

But Burnley were never content to just settle for a point and in injury time they were controversially denied all three.

McNeil’s skidding drive was parried by Foster and Wood was in line with last defender Jose Holebas when he followed up to tuck away the loose ball – an assistant’s flag denying him a dramatic winner.

Watford: Foster, Mariappa, Deulofeu, Cleverley, Deeney, Sema (Success 56), Femenía (Britos 77), Holebas, Kabasele, Capoue, Pereyra. Substitutes: Gomes, Masina, Gray, Quina, Wilmot.

Booked: Deulofeu

Burnley: Heaton; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, McNeil; Barnes, Wood. Substitutes: Hart, Lowton, Vokes, Gibson, Defour, Vydra, Long.

Booked: Mee, Bardsley

Referee: Michael Oliver

Attendance: 19,510

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