Watford 2-0 Blackpool: The Hornets celebrate Graham Taylor Matchday with a win

Second half goals from academy graduate Tobi Adeyemo and Ismaïla Sarr were enough to secure all three points for Watford.

After a slow first half made up of few chances, a string of substitutions by Slaven Bilić made the difference as Watford moved up to third in the table. 

It's back-to-back league wins for The Hornets as they celebrated Graham Taylor Matchday with three points, marking the sixth anniversary of the legendary manager's passing. 

The extensive injury list had been haunting Bilić over previous weeks, but he was able to welcome Hamza Choudhury back into the starting XI whilst Ismaël Koné made his home debut. 

The visitors were buoyant from their emphatic 4-1 victory over Premier League side Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup last week, and Josh Bowler made his first appearance since returning to the club. 

It was the hosts who started on the front foot. Mario Gaspar's teasing corner in the opening five minutes was parried by Chris Maxwell to Sarr who rifled the ball against the upright.

From the opening few minutes it seemed as if the game was going to be an open one. However, after Sarr's chance both sides failed to create much and the tempo of the game was slowed by a number of stoppages. 

Bowler's free kick was comfortably saved by Watford 'keeper Daniel Bachmann and Sarr's cross towards Bayo was cleared by the Seasiders. That was all that came to fruition in the first half and referee Gavin Ward was booed off by the home crowd for seemingly inconsistent bookings between the two teams. 

The second half started in a similar vein to the first with Watford very much on the front foot. Maxwell had to make a smart move with his feet from Vakoun Bayo who had been picked out by Sarr on the byline. 

Bilić made a double change at half-time and reverted to a back four, with Joåo Ferreira and Matheus Martins coming on to make their debuts. The latter was involved in a flowing move which resulted in Koné curling a shot safely into the hands of Maxwell. 

With the game starting to slow again, Bilić made another double change with Yáser Asprilla and Adeyemo coming on. It only took them four minutes to make an impact; Asprilla put Martins through on goal and when his shot was saved by Maxwell, Adeyemo was on hand to finish on the turn. 

It seemed fitting that the goal to break the deadlock was scored by academy graduate Adeyemo on Graham Taylor Matchday. The manager was a pioneer for developing young players at the club. 

Blackpool didn't look like creating many meaningful chances and the game was put to bed in the closing minutes of the game. Once again, the substitutions made the impact with the impressive Martins winning the penalty. He latched onto the end of a long ball behind the defence and was brought to ground by Maxwell. Sarr stepped up, sending the 'keeper the wrong way and making it 2-0 to the Hornets. 

Watford player ratings: Bachmann 6, Ngakia 6 (Ferreira 5), Cathcart 8, Troost-Ekong 6 (Martins 8), Sierralta 6, Morris 7, Choudhury 6 (Asprilla 7), Gaspar 7, Koné 7, Sarr 9, Bayo 5 (Adeyemo 7)

 

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