Date: 1st April 2018 at 1:58pm
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The rain poured and the sun shone through a game that was entertaining but lacking in much quality (until the 92nd minute). The Cherries defensive troubles were demonstrated before the game with both Captain Francis (hamstring) and Adam Smith (medial ligament) missing through injury. Into the fray came the game Wee Man to take up his place as stand-in right back and Daniels was restored to his customary Left Back role.

The game started brightly for the men in pale blue. With chances for Stanislas and Ake it looked as if Bournemouth had returned from Dubai in positive mood. However, that positive tone was soon lost when the home team scored from a worked corner, which took a wicked deflection off of the hapless King. Team mates seemed to think Ibe was at fault, for leaving his player unmarked, although he seemed to have different ideas.

The game became a bit dour and abrasive. Watford look a very good team going forward and Will Hughes was controlling a lot of the ball in midfield and creating chances for them. Some of the home team`s tackling was, however, brutal and Prodl was very lucky not to pick up a yellow card for a cynical tackle on King near to the half way line.

Up front nothing was happening at all for Bournemouth and it came as somewhat of a surprise when the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty and gave a Watford player a yellow card. Having had the opportunity to see it again on TV it was a clear penalty (Watford fans take note) although I think a yellow card was a sufficient punishment for the home player as Ibe would not have scored from that position in a million years.

KING calmly placed his spot kick into the left hand corner of the goal with the goalkeeper going the other way.

HT Watford 1 AFCB 1

The second half had hardly started before Watford took the lead again. Fraser was outmuscled by Deeney and he set up the play which eventually brought the goal, another deflected shot leaving Begovic with no chance.

The rest of the half was full of mistakes and missed passes from both sides and some poor tackles, mainly from Watford. The referee, on his debut, seemed loathe to penalise the home team for some fairly brutal actions. He did eventually book four home players including Prodl, who should have already been booked in the first half. Interestingly, Watford immediately withdrew him.

As the game moved into the last 20 minutes Watford gradually withdrew, to protect their lead, and Bournemouth came more into the game. Goal opportunities were still rare, however, but a header from Defoe was, supposedly, popped over the bar by the home team keeper.

Four minutes were raised for added time and when a hopeful cross was thrown over Ake got his head to the ball. It fell to DEFOE who allowed it to bounce and then with excellent skill smacked it into the net.

FT Watford 2 AFCB 2

Begovic 7 No fault for the goals and came to take a couple of crosses with confidence
Fraser 7 Although lacking in height and being muscled off the ball at times by bigger players he gave a very good account of himself as a stand-in right back
Cook 7 Strong and steady as always.
Ake 7 Could have had a couple of goals with headers in the first half will get an assist for the last minute equaliser
Daniels 7 Had a steady game but wasn`t able to get forward as much as usual
Gosling 8 Very strong in midfield and got his foot in and tackled hard throughout the game. A great engine
Cook 6 Was outshone by the stronger and more creative Hughes. Gave the ball away too many times
Stanislas 6 Threatened early on but by the time he went off with what looks like a serious injury had faded. (Thanks to Watford fans for booing him while he was on the ground in obvious pain)
Wilson 5 Ran about a lot but was rarely in the game. He was flagged offside three times in the second half when it must have been very, very close.
King 5 Another very poor game. Never really in the game and I honestly thought that he had been subbed in the second half. He disappeared.
Ibe 5 Not at his best. Often made the wrong choice of pass and didn`t really threaten at all. At fault for first goal.

Pugh 6 Came for Stanislas just before half time and injected some life for a while but is obviously game rusty
Defoe 7 Tempted to give 8 for his two goal efforts but that is all he did. I say all. It was a very good goal.
Surman n/a Not on long enough to make a big difference
Verdict
From my perspective this was a lucky point. We did not play particularly well after the first 15 minutes. We were bullied off the ball by a very physical team and rarely got a hold in midfield, mainly due to the impressive Hughes. But a point is a point and, after Leicester, it was nice to do something similar to another team, especially Watford. An away point has always got to be celebrated in this league.