Match Reports

Match report: Albion make it two from two as Watford beaten

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Duffy and Maupay on target in 2-0 win over Hornets as fans relish their return to the Amex.

By Bruce Talbot • 21 August 2021

By Bennett Dean
Shane Duffy was selected as Man of the Match by the match sponsor

Albion made it two wins out of two as they eased past Watford on an evening to savour at the Amex.

In front of 29,485, as fans returned to the Amex in numbers for the first time since February 2020, first-half goals from Shane Duffy and Neal Maupay put Graham Potter's side in control and the fans in celebratory mood.

Duffy scored his first Albion goal since November 2019 when he headed into the top corner after ten minutes.

And Maupay netted his second of the season four minutes before the break to double the lead and reward a dominant first-half performance.

The only setback for the hosts came when Maupay landed awkwardly on his shoulder and had to be substituted at the break.

Watford rallied in the second half but Albion defended solidly to keep a clean sheet and move up to second in the early league table.

What happened

The crowd were certainly up for the occasion and Albion fed off their energy. They pressed Watford from the start and were rewarded when they scored from their first set piece in the 10th minute.

Pascal Gross swung in a corner from the left and Duffy’s powerful header went in off the underside of the bar. It was a second assist of the season for the German, and his 24th in the Premier League.

By Bennett Dean
Shane Duffy's goal was setup by Pascal Gross - the German's 24th assist in the Premier League.

Albion looked threatening every time they crossed the halfway line as Watford were guilty in the first quarter of giving possession away cheaply, with the hosts moving the ball fluently and Adam Lallana and Yves Bissouma on top in midfield.

And it was Bissouma who created Albion's second four minutes before the break when he dispossessed Tom Cleverley on the edge of the box and played in Maupay whose emphatic right-foot finish from ten yards flew past Daniel Bachmann. Maupay became the second Albion player after Glenn Murray (26) to score 20 Premier League goals for the club.

By Bennett Dean
A well won ball by Yves Bissouma saw Neal Maupay extend Albion's lead.

But it was the last action of the game for Maupay, who hurt his right shoulder following a challenge by Peter Etobo and although he got to half-time, the Frenchman was replaced by Aaron Connolly at the break.

And Connolly nearly scored within seven minutes of coming on. Albion broke quickly, Gross threaded a low cross into the box and when it bounced off Craig Cathcart Connolly pounced, but his effort on the turn hit the stanchion.

Watford threatened for the first time on 63 minutes when Rob Sanchez got down to his left to keep out Cleverley’s shot from 15 yards then Emmanuel Dennis had a goal ruled out for offside.

By Paul Hazlewood
Aaron Connolly went close to a third for Albion, but fired narrowly wide.

The visitors enjoyed their best spell of the game and Chucho Hernandez wasn’t far away with a shot from the edge of the box which dipped just over the bar. Albion remained solid at the back though, Lewis Dunk epitomising their composure when he chested the ball back to Sanchez inside the six-yard box and earn the appreciation of the home crowd.

Albion nearly had a third when Alexis Mac Allister's delicate chip rolled in front of goal without anyone in a blue and white shirt able to get a touch after Bachmann had saved Gross' angled drive at his near post.

Watford had three strikers on the pitch in the closing stages but Albion saw the game out comfortably before departing to a standing ovation. Next up Everton at the Amex on Saturday.

By Paul Hazlewood
Robert Sanchez kept his first clean sheet of the new Premier League season.

The line-up

Albion: Sanchez, Webster, Dunk, Duffy, March Bissouma, Lallana, Gross, Trossard (Mwepu 71), Mac Allister, Maupay (Connolly 45).

Subs not used: Steele, Moder, Alzate, Zeqiri, Caicedo, Roberts, Richards.

Booked: Webster (foul), Duffy (foul), Mwepu (foul), March (time-wasting).

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Attendance: 29,485

Man of the match: Shane Duffy