Watford 2-1 Middlesbrough: Watford celebrate Vicarage Road centenary with a win

Watford celebrated the 100 year anniversary of Vicarage Road with a last minute winner against Middlesbrough.

After Ismaïla Sarr had cancelled out Rodrigo Muniz's early opener for the visitors, it took a last minute winner from Vakoun Bayo to get Watford back to winning ways. 

The Hornets were playing in a striped black and white kit to mirror the shirt which they wore in the club's first game at the Vic exactly 100 years ago against Millwall, and it ended up being another memorable night at the famous stadium. 

Rob Edwards reverted to his usual back five with Craig Cathcart returning to the side in favour of Mario Gaspar, whilst Yáser Asprilla replaced the injured Rey Manaj who limped off in the first half against QPR. 

Boro, who have been expected to be challenging at the top of the league, got their first win of the season on Saturday against Swansea and manager Chris Wilder made one change with Rodrigo Muniz replacing Duncan Watmore. 

The visitors started the game on the front foot looking to spoil the party, and it looked as if they may do just that when they took the lead within the opening five minutes. Ryan Giles beat Francisco Sierralta to Alex Mowatt's through ball and his delightful cross was met by the head of Muniz to nod home. 

After losing two home games in a row the Watford fans began to voice their frustration, but it wasn't long before the hosts began to show their dominance. 

João Pedro's future at the club has been under question throughout the whole summer and the Brazilian was showing his class in midfield for Watford. He picked up the ball on the left flank before beating two defenders and sliding in Sarr. The Senegalese forward sold Mowatt a dummy before firing into the far corner to equalise. 

The duo looked set to be leaving Vicarage Road not too long ago and they combined once again just minutes later. Pedro fed Sarr in behind the defence but Boro goalkeeper Liam Roberts did well to prevent the hosts from going ahead. 

And on the stroke of half-time it was Pedro's turn to go close. Edo Kayembe was dominant in midfield and won the ball in a dangerous area before Hamza Choudhury found Pedro in the box, but once again Roberts saved well to keep the scores level. 

Rob Edwards spoke after the QPR game about how he felt his side lacked some intensity and cutting edge in the final third, and this was evident once more after the restart. The hosts failed to utilise their possession and struggled to create many chances.

In fact it was Boro who went closest to taking the lead when Matt Clarke met Giles' free kick, only to be denied by a great save from Daniel Bachmann. Minutes later Clarke went close again. After some pinball in the Watford penalty area both Matt Crooks and Clarke saw efforts blocked and Watford hearts were firmly in mouths. 

Pedro continued to look the most likely to put The Hornets in front and seconds after appeals for a penalty on Sarr were waved away he was denied only by a last ditch tackle from substitute Dael Fry. 

Chances seemed hard to come by towards the end of the match and despite Pedro firing over from a free kick it seemed as if Watford's celebratory evening was going to end with a stalemate. 

However, a special evening at The Vic deserved a special ending. The two substitutes, Gaspar and Bayo combined to snatch a victory in the dying embers. As Gaspar cut inside, his shot from outside of the area was deflected into the path of the Invorian striker. He kept his cool and slid the ball past Roberts to send Vicarage Road into raptures.

Rob Edwards led his team around a bouncing Vicarage Road pitch in front of his delighted supporters. Whilst it was far from a perfect performance by the Hornets, it was a night which will live long in the memory for Edwards, his players and of course the supporters.

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