Express & Star

West Brom 2 Watford 2 - Report

A stoppage-time rocket from right-back Darnell Furlong earned Albion a comeback point in a rollercoaster clash against Watford.


Carlos Corberan's men looked down and out at 2-0 down midway through the second half with the visitors deservedly clear through Edo Kayembe and Mileta Rajovic at The Hawthorns.

But to their credit Albion rallied on a rare home off-day to claim an unlikely point. Brandon Thomas-Asante struck with 20 minutes left but still the hosts looked out of ideas.

Tom Fellows drives forward for Albion (Photo by Malcolm Couzens - WBA/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Furlong and many colleagues had struggled against a lively Hornets side but the full-back's bolt from the blue from 25 yards from almost nothing. Substitute Grady Diangana inspired his side with two assists as a run of form extended to one defeat in 12.

Very few saw any return coming at two down and a point was made more welcome for results elsewhere in the play-off picture, including defeats for Norwich, Coventry and Preston as the Baggies momentarily opened the gap to seventh to eight points.

Corberan rang the changes for his side's second game in 72 hours with four alterations to the side that struggled to draw at Millwall.

John Swift on the ball (Photo by Malcolm Couzens - WBA/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

The one enforced change was the expected absence of defender Cedric Kipre, who trudged off at The Den with a damaged shoulder. The head coach is set to give an update on Kipre's status after the Watford contest.

Semi Ajayi was his direct replacement as the Nigerian started his first Albion game of 2024 - though many starts have since came for his nation.

Club captain Jed Wallace dropped out, as did Diangana and Andi Weimann as the hosts' attack was given a freshen-up. In from the off were Tom Fellows and, for the first time in more than a month, John Swift - goalscorer at Millwall - and Thomas-Asante.

The visitors, managed by interim boss Tom Cleverley who replaced ex-Albion chief Valerien Ismael who was sacked a month ago, brought in Ismael Kone and skipper Wesley Hoedt to their ranks. Jake Livermore was among the Watford substitutes.

There was a buzz of freshness in Albion attack from the off as the hosts looked in the mood. Though it was an error from Hornets defender Francisco Sierralta, dallying on the ball from goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann's pass, that led to a first opening.

Thomas-Asante shrugged the Chilean defender off the ball and found himself one-on-one with Bachmann, but the Austrian came out on top against the Baggies' returning frontman, whose finish was tame when he had time to measure an effort.

West Bromwich Albion's Brandon Thomas-Asante and Watford's Francisco Sierralta

The rebound popped out to Swift, who squared to Mikey Johnston first-time, but the loanee was crowded out and his effort blocked. The former could have perhaps looked to shoot himself.

Albion were in the ascendency and moments later Thomas-Asante had a much better effort as a powerful header from Darnell Furlong's cross was well kept out by the flying Bachmann.

Emmanuel Dennis, on loan from Nottingham Forest, was the visitors' clear bright spark as Cleverley's men pushed for a foothold.

Chances fell away, though, as the game fell flat either side of half hour. It was not aided by unnecessary decisions from officials, but the home side lacked a tempo and both sides cancelled each other out. Ajayi, marauding from defence, was a spark for his side.

The home side might've grabbed an opener on the stroke of half-time for the second home game running, but Thomas-Asante could only guide a difficult header from Fellows' fierce cross wide across goal.

The home side didn't get going after the restart and paid the price. A corner was controversially awarded after a Hornets shirt looked offside, but Tom Dele-Bashiru's corner was only half cleared and dropped to Kayembe on the edge of the D.

The DR Congo international took a touch to settle himself before he arrowed a low left-footed drive through a sea of bodies in down to Alex Palmer's left.

West Bromwich Albion's Mikey Johnston attempts a shot on goal (PA)

A lifeless clash drifted past the hour with Albion lacking invention. The hosts were very lucky not to fall two behind as Dele-Bashiru was denied by Palmer from range, before Dennis danced along the byline and saw an effort strike the post from an impossible angle. It was far too easy on both counts.

Corberan's men weren't so fortunate moments later. Sub Yaser Asprilla released Jamal Lewis down the left and his low cross to the back post was met by fellow sub Rajovic, who slid home from a yard out.

The home head coach had been set to make a triple change and did so afterwards as Yann M'Vila, Adam Reach and Grady Diangana entered. The latter fed Thomas-Asante with 20 minutes left and the striker lashed into the far corner from a tight angle for 2-1.

Albion tails were briefly up but Palmer had to save from Asprilla, Matheus Martins and Ryan Andrews as a leveller looked unlikely.

But, with the board for five minutes added just raised, Diangana played a simple square ball to Furlong in space and the right-back did the rest with his fourth goal of the season to lift the lid off The Hawthorns for a potentially crucial point.

Albion (4-2-3-1): Palmer; Furlong, Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend (c); Yokuslu (M'Vila, 67), Mowatt (Reach, 67); Fellows (Wallace, 72), Swift (Diangana, 67), Johnston (Weimann, 84); Thomas-Asante.

Subs not used: Griffiths, Pieters, Chalobah, Phillips.

Watford (3-5-2): Bachmann; Sierralta, Hoedt (c), Porteous; Andrews, Dele-Bashiru, Kayembe (Livermore, 85), Kone (Asprilla, 55); Bayo (Rajovic, 55), Dennis (Martins, 74).

Subs not used: Hamer, Ince, Pollock, Morris, Massiah-Edwards.

Referee: Gavin Ward