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Sako late show checks Hornets

1 March 2013

Bakary Sako's injury-time equaliser salvaged a 1-1 draw for ailing Wolves and put a dent Watford's promotion charge.

Manager Dean Saunders, the club's fourth boss in 12 months, is still waiting for his first victory in charge having overseen nine of their run of 13 winless matches, with Wanderers - in the npower Championship drop zone - still facing the very real prospect of successive relegations, as they experienced in the mid-1980's.

Yet Sako's well-taken injury-time equaliser drew welcome celebrations from a frustrated Wolves crowd, who will still believe in survival. The game's defining moment of brilliance looked to have came just before half-time as Watford playmaker Almen Abdi converted a delightful free-kick for his 10th goal of the season.

Saunders, with Kevin Doyle and Stephen Hunt back in his starting XI, reverted to a more familiar 4-4-2 formation from the off and it was his side who started with the greater intent. Watford soon regained a foothold on proceedings, though, Matej Vydra seeing an effort deflected narrowly wide.

The first clear chance of the game arrived in the 19th minute as Doyle found possession on the edge of the area and saw his effort well parried by Jonathan Bond, in for the injured Manuel Almunia, who got up quickly to superbly keep out Bjorn Sigurdarson's rebound.

Marco Cassetti fired straight at Carl Ikeme following Jack Robinson's mis-control and as the game was drawing towards stalemate at half-time, the visitors broke the deadlock. Vydra drew a soft foul from Wanderers skipper Karl Henry and Abdi, 20 yards out from a central position, floated a super free-kick over the wall.

The home crowd's frustration seemed to be growing at the start of the second period although Doyle's surging run and shot brought some positive respite.

Watford should have doubled their advantage in the 66th minute but Ikechi Anya somehow failed to convert after being teed up by the impressive Cassetti, with Cristian Battocchio drilling narrowly over from distance minutes later.

Wolves wasted a chance to draw level in the 77th minute, Sigurdarson seeing his shot saved by Bond before Robinson was well off target with the rebound.

Yet, with the game seeming beyond them, Sako popped up to convert from Matt Doherty's long throw-in. Watford substitute Fernando Forestieri still had a chance to snatch matters but skewed his shot off target.

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