A late Watford winner was exactly what the doctor ordered at Vicarage Road.
Ismaila Sarr secured a thrilling three points for Watford as they beat Stoke City 3-2 in a tight Championship affair.
Vladimir Ivic’s Hornets where on the back foot from the get-go in Hertfordshire.
Behind within two minutes, Watford were off to a slow start at home. Potters striker Steven Fletcher connected with Nick Powell’s low cross, the ball drilled into the box for the Scotsman to net his third of the season.
A frustrating beginning for the hosts, a positive response from the Golden Boys was duly rewarded in the 30th minute. Following on from an earlier Etienne Capoue rocket that drifted just wide of Angus Gunn’s post, Hornets Captain Tom Cleverley was the hero of the first half.
An end-to-end opening 45 minutes revolved completely around Cleverley’s second of the season. A beauty from the edge of the area, the Stoke bench were up in arms as the midfielder drew Watford level. The Potters were adamant that the ball did not cross the line. The thunderbolt riveted off the underside of the cross bar and Gunn was then bundled into his own net by a forceful Joao Pedro.
Referee Andy Davies confirmed that Cleverley’s stunner had in fact stood. It is believed that the technology was triggered from Gunn being pushed across the goal line.
Hornets defender Nathaniel Chalobah very nearly followed up with an immediate second. The momentum in Watford’s favour as the half drew to a close after an additional five minutes.
It took Watford just 15 minutes to take the lead in the second half. Gunn gifted the hosts a second goal, the Stoke goalkeeper bringing down Sarr in the 60th minute as the Senegal international hit the deck trying to take the ball around him – Davies subsequently awarding a penalty.
Making no mistake from the spot, Pedro expertly converted from six yards. The boy from Brazil calmly tucked he penalty into the bottom left corner - His last move as Andre Gray came on in his place.
So nearly a case of a super substitution as Gray headed inches wide from a Kiko Femenia cross in the 73rd minute, Watford didn’t hold on to their lead for long.
Drawing level in the 81st minute, a Tyrese Campbell cross found Stoke’s Powell who made the back of a net ripple for what most thought was the final time at Vicarage Road.
With the scores level, Watford fought hard and until the end. Firing on all cylinders, Ken Sema smartly beat his man on the byline, cutting it back to Sarr who grabbed a winner in the 93rd minute.
On the edge of the box, the forward fired it into the bottom corner and handed Watford a much needed three points.
The Hornets climb to fourth in the table and face Coventry at home on Saturday.