Soccer

West Brom hit back from two goals down to pick up a point in their play-off push

The hosts were on the back foot against Watford but battled for a draw.

West Bromwich Albion’s Darnell Furlong celebrates scoring their side’s second goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Picture date: Monday April 1, 2024.
West Bromwich Albion v Watford – Sky Bet Championship – The Hawthorns West Bromwich Albion’s Darnell Furlong celebrates scoring their side’s second goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Picture date: Monday April 1, 2024. (David Davies/PA)

Darnell Furlong scored a dramatic late equaliser for West Brom as they took another point in their efforts to secure a Sky Bet Championship play-off spot with a hard-fought 2-2 home draw against Watford.

Furlong struck in stoppage time to draw Albion, who had trailed by two goals, level at The Hawthorns.

Edo Kayembe had opened the scoring for the visitors in the 51st with a fine finish and then the Hornets doubled their lead through Mileta Rajovic in the 66th minute.

However, the Baggies refused to roll over and Brandon Thomas-Asante pulled a goal back in the 71st minute, before Furlong fired in a wonderful strike from range, in added time, to restore parity.

West Brom settled quickly and began to zip the ball around in the Watford half but the first chance carved out came as a result of a Hornets error.

Francisco Sierralta was caught in possession by Thomas-Asante, who bore down on goal but was denied by Daniel Bachmann in the visiting goal. John Swift then swept the rebound into the path of Mikey Johnston, who was also squeezed away from a clean shot on target.

Thomas-Asante was kept at bay for the second time in quick succession when he met Furlong’s cross, only for Bachmann to once again beat away his effort.

Watford began to grow into the game, with Emmanuel Dennis the main threat. However, the visitors struggled to create openings of similar clarity to those which Albion had failed to take advantage of.

The Hornets returned with renewed vigour after the interval and nosed themselves in front after a period of early pressure. Tom Dele-Bashiru’s in-swinging corner was only cleared by Semi Ajayi as far as Kayembe who, on the edge of the penalty area, expertly controlled the ball and beat Alex Palmer with a clean, low shot into the corner.

Interim manager Tom Cleverley wasted no time in looking to build on his side’s breakthrough and immediately introduced Rajovic and Yaser Asprilla.

While West Brom continued to toil, Watford smelled blood and made it 2-0 when Asprilla spread the ball to Jamal Lewis, who picked out Rajovic at the back post and he rolled the ball home.

Carlos Corberan reacted with three substitutes of his own and Grady Diangana, one of those changes, made an instant impact when he lifted the ball through the Watford back-line for Thomas-Asante to race onto. Despite the angle always tightening, the forward made no mistake on this occasion and hammered his effort into the far corner to halve the deficit.

Watford did have the chance to extend their lead again but Asprilla found the torso of Palmer and the hosts, late on, built up some steam.

Diangana again was the architect of their leveller, in the first minute of added time, laying the ball on for Furlong, who shot from distance. Bachmann got his fingertips to it, but could not keep the effort out.

It earned fifth-placed West Brom a point which extended their advantage over the chasing sides in the race for the play-offs.