Hornets sting poor Pompey
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Watford kept alive their slim survival hopes with a superb 4-2 win over Portsmouth at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets came from an early goal down to record their first Premiership win since the victory over West Ham in February.
The win was the perfect preparation for Aidy Boothroyd's men ahead of this weekend's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United, while Portsmouth were brought back down to earth with a bump after their weekend win over United.
Watford fashioned the first opening of the contest after four minutes when Tommy Smith headed Jordan Stewart's free-kick straight at David James.
Portsmouth broke the deadlock on 16 minutes through Matthew Taylor with their first serious attack of the game.
Taylor picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and on his weaker right-foot he curled a sublime shot in off the post past Ben Foster to net his second goal in three days.
Watford won a penalty on 27 minutes when Tamas Priskin turned past Djimi Traore inside the box and the former Liverpool defender tripped him in trying to win the ball from the striker's foot.
Hameur Bouazza took responsibility from the spot and he sent James the wrong way to ensure the keeper would be forced to wait another week before shaving off his beard as he still waits to set a Premiership record for clean sheets.
Tresor Lomana Lua Lua had a chance to restore Pompey's lead two minutes when Clarke Carlisle made a mess of a clearance allowing Lua Lua a run on goal, but the striker's attempted chip sailed harmlessly over the top.
Watford grabbed the lead right on the stroke of half-time with Gavin Mahon registering his first Premiership goal with a stunning strike.
James punched out Smith's cross to the edge of the box and Mahon arrived on the scene to smash an unstoppable left-footed shot into the top corner to bring Vicarage Road to its feet.
Watford picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and then added a third goal on 51 minutes with Priskin also scoring his first Premiership goal.
Bouazza sent Steve Kabba clear down the left with a clever pass and Kabba picked out Priskin at the back post who coolly volleyed his effort into the net past James.
Portsmouth were inches away from pulling a goal back on 58 minutes when Kanu thumped a shot against the crossbar.
In trying to claim the rebound Foster collided with Carlisle giving Gary O'Neil a shot on goal which was cleared off the line by Adrian Mariappa before bouncing off Kanu and wide.
James came to Portsmouth's rescue on 67 minutes when he produced a fine save to keep out Bouazza's close-range effort.
Bouazza made amends for the miss four minutes later when again he was played in on goal and although James saved his first effort he kept his cool to fire home at the second attempt.
Portsmouth introduced Arnold Mvuemba and with his first touch the substitute pulled a goal back for the visitors nine minutes from time when he controlled O'Neil's cross and thumped his volley high into the net past Foster.
Bouazza almost grabbed his hat-trick four minutes from time when he let fly with a left-footed effort from the edge of the box which flew just wide of the target.
|2||1st Half Goals||1|
|10||Shots on Target||5|
|5||Shots off Target||4|