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Swansea undone by spectacular late winner from Watford

24 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Background image Christopher Elkins (CC BY 2.0).

Ken Sema struck his first goal of the season in spectacular fashion to earn Watford a 1-0 win over Swansea.

Harry Darling and Matt Grimes went the closest to scoring for the hosts in the first half while Vakoun Bayo should have netted for the Hornets in what was a tight affair.

Kristian Pedersen thought he had put the Swans ahead after 72 minutes when he headed Grimes’ corner beyond Daniel Bachmann, but the effort was ruled out.

And visiting substitute Sema’s piledriver in the 82nd minute ensured Watford left south Wales with all three points.

Both sides were welcomed onto the pitch by a somewhat tame fireworks display.

And it was the hosts who looked to provide fans with a proper spark early on as they wasted a glorious opening to take the lead.

Having had his initial free-kick cleared, Jamie Paterson’s pinpoint cross found Darling unmarked in the Watford box, but the defender failed to make enough contact with his head to test Bachmann.

The Hornets threatened on the counter attack and forced Brighton loanee Carl Rushworth into a smart save as he kept out Tom Ince’s strike after Jamal Lewis crossed from the left.

But, in truth, the meek pre-match booms and bangs proved to be a surprising highlight.


Both goalkeepers survived minor scares as Edo Kayembe drilled wide following a risky pass from Swansea’s Rushworth to Jay Fulton before Bachmann raced back to gather Grimes’ audacious lobbed effort from 45 yards out moments later.

Swansea took the direct approach in their quest to break the deadlock shortly after the half-hour mark as Harrison Ashby, Liam Cullen and Fulton combined to tee up Grimes whose curling strike was tipped behind by Bachmann.

The clearest opening fell to Bayo who was beautifully picked out at the back post by Jeremy Ngakia two minutes before half-time, although the Ivory Coast international headed straight at Rushworth from point-blank range to ensure the score remained level at the break.

Valerien Ismael’s outfit improved after the restart and saw Francisco Sierralta head over from Sema’s corner nine minutes into the second half.

Both sides made changes after the hour mark in a bid to snatch a winner – with Ollie Cooper and Josh Tymon being summoned by Swansea boss Michael Duff while Yaser Asprilla and Mileta Rajovic came on for the visitors.

The latter had a shot blocked shortly after entering the fray, although Watford thought they had gone behind with 18 minutes left.

Pedersen met Grimes’ corner and headed into the net, but referee Andrew Kitchen disallowed the effort after spotting a foul in the box.

Sema, who was introduced at half-time, then had what was ultimately the final say eight minutes from time as his thumping effort flew beyond Rushworth, with Bachmann twice denying Darling at the end to ensure Watford clinched back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

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