Football: Battling Watford boost promotion bid
Watford closed the gap in the race for promotion from the Championship with a thrilling 4-3 win at Bolton on Saturday.
London: Watford closed the gap in the race for promotion from the Championship with a thrilling 4-3 win at Bolton on Saturday.
Slavisa Jokanovic`s side came from 2-1 down to steal the points thanks to a last minute goal from Troy Deeney and the fifth placed Hornets are now just three points behind second placed Middlesbrough.
Watford had taken the lead through Odion Ighalo and although goals from Zach Clough and Adam Le Fondre put Bolton ahead, the visitors went back in front as Almen Abdi and Joel Ekstrand got on the scoresheet.
A remarkable finale saw Clough`s second equaliser with five minutes to go bring the sides level at 3-3.
Then Deeney, a 57th-minute substitute for Gabriele Angella, beat Andy Lonergan with a low shot from 16 yards to give Watford the victory in the final moments of a breathtaking encounter.
"It was an incredible game and interesting for supporters but I prefer a game to be more controlled," Jokanovic said.
"During the game I had mixed emotions. We scored four goals and could have scored more. They scored off three crosses when we had enough information to know this situation would happen but we didn`t avoid it."There was an equally dramatic clash at Bloomfield Road, where bottom of the table Blackpool rescued a 4-4 draw against Nottingham Forest despite finishing the match with nine men.
The Seasiders were on course for just their fifth victory of the season when Gary Madine scored his first goal since joining on loan from Sheffield Wednesday.
Andrea Orlandi added a second just after the hour mark, but Forest scored twice in two minutes through Dexter Blackstock and Gary Gardner to draw level.
Steve Davies restored the home side`s lead on 73 minutes before Forest midfielder Henri Lansbury tucked home a spot-kick four minutes later - the concession of which saw Tom Aldred red-carded.
Darren O`Dea was then stretchered off to leave Blackpool two men light and Chris Burke thought he had won it for the visitors with a goal five minutes into added time.
But David Ferguson headed home deep into stoppage-time to snatch an unlikely point.
"The lads dug deep and I didn`t actually see the equaliser because I was getting a bit of grief from one of our own fans for not being attacking enough," Blackpool manager Lee Clark said.
"Thankfully David popped up with the equaliser. I`m drained and I wasn`t even involved. I`ve never experienced anything like that in my life."
Bournemouth climbed back to the top of the table after a 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield, but were left ruing a fine display from Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies.
Huddersfield`s former Everton striker James Vaughan struck midway through the second half to cancel out Yann Kermorgant`s 11th goal of the season for Bournemouth.
And Smithies made a hat-trick of world class saves that prevented the hosts from claiming all three points.
Norwich`s promotion challenge gathered pace as they beat Wolves 2-0 at Carrow Road thanks to goals from Bradley Johnson and Lewis Grabben.
Daryl Murphy scored twice to move fourth placed Ipswich to within two points of the top two as they secured a 2-1 win at Fulham.
Elsewhere, Charlton routed Brentford 3-0, Leeds defeated Millwall 1-0 and Sheffield Wednesday drew 0-0 with Brighton.