TROY DEENEY’S late penalty capped a superb half showing from Watford who secured a third victory of the season at Huddersfield’s expense.
The Hornets fell behind to a speculative strike from Oliver Norwood before the impressive Fernando Forestieri levelled in the second half.
Fitz Hall put the ‘Orns in front with a goal on his debut before Huddersfield tore back into the Watford half to equalise through sub Alan Lee.
With just four minutes left on the clock Troy Deeney marked his first start since his release from prison with a penalty winner to secure a season-starting win for the men from WD18.
Zola handed a full debut to Hall as part of a thee man defence, Tommie Hoban also debuting for the Golden Boys.
Deeney partnered Forestieri in a two-man attack as Watford set up 3-5-2.
For Huddersfield, Jermaine Beckford was handed a debut after signing on loan yesterday.
The hosts started the brighter of the two, dictating the play early on as Watford got to grips with Beckford and Lee Novak.
It was however the visitors who had the first effort on goal, Jonathan Hogg hooking a ball over the top which Deeney bullied the Terriers’ defender out of before turning and firing a low shot goal wards to be blocked.
Ten minutes later Deeney was involved again as he fed Marco Cassetti down the right hand side, allowing the wing-back to cut inside and shoot left footed. The Italian’s effort zipping narrowly wide of Alex Smithies’ right-hand post.
Forestieri was the next to cause trouble in the host’s box, curling a delightful effort narrowly wide of the top corner after Neuton’s deft chip into him.
Just three minutes later, Watford’s failure to take their chances looked decisive as Norwood pinged a free kick in off Manuel Almunia’s right hand post from 20 yards.
The Spaniard should have done better, only reaching the shot at the last second; a weak claw not enough to prevent the opener.
Watford dusted themselves a down after that setback, Deeney causing havoc as he prevented Smithies completing a routine collection, Forestiero unable to divert goal wards with the Town ‘keeper prone.
Novak could have added a second for Grayson’s side when his half volley was pushed away by Almunia at the near-post.
As the second half began, Forestieri continued to prove a threat, shooting wide on his right foot early in the second period.
The ‘Orns set up camp in the Huddersfield half, Almen Abdi & Nathaniel Chalobah rescuing a seemingly lost cause, allowing Forestieri, who else, to glance a volley narrowly wide off the outside of his boot.
Debut boy Beckford tested Almunia in a
rare Huddersfield breakaway, shooting tamely into to palms of Almunia.
In the 66th minute Watford’s continual pressure finally paid, Forestieri jinking into the box and driving a low right-footed effort past Smithies into the bottom corner with the aide of a deflection.
The Foresteri show continued as the Argentine again wriggled his way into non-existent space before seeing a shot fly over. Another Forestieri effort ending up in the palms of Smithies just a minute later.
Somewhat unsurprisingly Forestieri was the man who instigated the Hornet’s second, feeding sub Mark Yeates down the right before the Irishman’s cross was turned in by Hall at the far post.
The delirium was short lives as the Terriers found an equaliser with a diving header from Lee tying the score from the re-start.
Not to be outdone, Forestieri’s latest Lionel Messi-esque trickery earned him a penalty for a blatant trip.
After a nerve-wracking delay, Deeney completed a wonderful personal comeback with an exemplary penalty kick to land Watford a thoroughly deserved three points.
What a difference 45 minutes make. The Golden Boys’ season is back up and running after an imperious second half showing.
Forestieri was, of course, unplayable, whilst Deeney led the line with the purpose which has been so sorely missed so far this term.
Huddersfield: Smithies; Hunt, Clarke (c), Gerrard, Dixon; Clayton (Scannell), Norwood (Arfield), Southern; Novak, Ward; Beckford (Lee).
Watford: Almunia (c); Hoban, Hall, Neuton; Cassetti, Hogg, Abdi (Yeates), Chalobah (Smith), Pudil; Forestieri (Murray) & Deeney.
Player ratings & comment to follow.
Manuel Almunia (c) – 6
Slightly at fault for the goal but made up for it with a smart near post stop to deny Novak.
Tommie Hoban – 7
Slipped up once in each half from memory but was he,led out by Fitz Hall/Jonathan Hogg. Assured on the ball too.
Fitz Hall – 8
What and excellent signing he could probe to be. Strong, commanding, comfortable on the ball, and not adverse to the odd forward dart either. Scored as well.
Neuton – 7
An impeccable player technically, but his concentration needs work. Swept up nicely.
Marco Cassetti – 7
Very dangerous In the first half, less so in he second. Got on the wrong side of the locals but was a menace at times.
Nathaniel Chalobah – 7
Oozed composure and class.
Jonathan Hogg -7
Probably his best game of the campaign. Kept things ticking over in midfield & was undoubtedly helped by the presence of another ball winner in Chalobah.
Almen Abdi – 7
As languid & gracious as ever.
Daniel Pudil – 8
Up and down like a jack in a box, protracted Neuton well when required too.
Fernando Forestieri – 9
As regulars will know, it takes a lot to impress me – I can’t remember the last 9/10 I ever gave! Forestieri was the difference. Always willing, menacing, probing & at the heart of everything good, he scored the all important equalizer and won the penalty. May have to get his head up now and again and watch the theatrics though.
Troy Deeney – 8
Led the line superbly, caused problems and buried his penalty in exemplary fashion.
Connor Smith – 6
Didn’t do anything wrong.
Mark Yeates – 7
Assisted Hall’s goal.
Willing runner as clock ran down.