Match report: Bennette strikes late on

Watford 2-2 Sunderland

Jewison Bennette’s stunning late equaliser secured a point for Sunderland on Saturday at Watford.

Keinan Davis opened the scoring with 34 minutes on the clock, tapping home from close range after bright play from Yaser Asprilla and Hassane Kamara.

The Lads should have been awarded a penalty when Jack Clarke was felled in the box, but Aji Alese levelled immediately after to ensure parity remained at the break.

Watford edged back in front when Luke O’Nien headed into his own net after the hour mark, with further penalty appeals waved away before an offside flag ruled out a Clarke equaliser.

Substitute Leon Dajaku fired inches wide late on and the Hornets looked to have held on, but Bennette’s classy finish clinched a point with 86 minutes on the clock.

Tony Mowbray made one change to the side that eased past Reading on Wednesday, as Elliot Embleton replaced Ellis Simms.

Watford, meanwhile, made five changes from side that were defeated by Blackburn Rovers in midweek, with William Troost-Ekong, Kortney Hause, Asprilla, Kamara and Davis coming into the starting XI.

Anthony Patterson produced a stunning point-blank save with five minutes played, albeit Joao Pedro would have been denied due to a foul in the build-up had the Brazilian found the net.

The Hornets enjoyed the bulk of the play during the opening exchanges, but an effort from Lynden Gooch whistled past the post with 21 minutes on the clock.

Patterson denied Joao Pedro for a second time after the half-hour mark, but Watford struck first blood when the ‘keeper’s save fell to Davis and he converted from close range.

Sunderland should have been awarded a penalty when Clarke was toppled over in the box, but appeals were waved away despite a clear shove on the winger by Hamza Choudhury.

The Lads dusted themselves down and immediately levelled, as Alese’s strike was judged to have crossed the line a fraction before it was thundered clear.

Rob Edwards’ side started the second period on the front foot, with Joao Pedro and Asprilla leading the charge for the Golden Boys.

Patrick Roberts and Corry Evans were then cautioned and the pressure told after the hour mark, as O’Nien headed into his own net. 

Amad was introduced in place of Embleton in response and the Lads were denied a second penalty with 20 minutes remaining, as Roberts’ cross appeared to strike a hand.

Clarke volleyed home soon after, but an offside flag brought a premature end to the winger’s celebrations before Jewison Bennette and Dajaku took to the field.

Jay Matete and Abdoullah Ba were also introduced late on – and a moment of magic arrived four minutes from time, as Bennette turned before firing home a dramatic late equaliser.  

Watford: Bachmann, Kamara (Bayo 73), Troost-Ekong, Hause, Cathcart, Sema, Choudhury, Kayembe, Asprilla, Pedro, Davis (Gosling 81).
Subs not used:
Okoye, Sierralta, Kabasele, Kalu, Hungbo.

Sunderland AFC: Patterson, Gooch, O’Nien, Batth, Alese, Evans (Matete 79), Neil (Dajaku 72), Embleton (Amad 63), Roberts, Pritchard, (Ba 79) Clarke (Bennette 73).
Subs not used:
Bass, Hume.

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