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Deeney buzzing after Hornets winner

13 May 2013

Troy Deeney completed his journey from prison cell to play-off hero as Watford secured their place at Wembley following a dramatic 3-1 victory over Leicester.

Striker Deeney, who was serving a jail sentence for affray when the season started, hit the winner in the seventh minute of injury time - seconds after Manuel Almunia had saved a penalty which would have sent Leicester through to the npower Championship play-off final.

Instead Watford broke away and the ball fell to Deeney to crash in his 20th goal of the season and fire the Hornets into a showpiece match against either Crystal Palace or Brighton. "Manu trains hard and studies penalties, he kept his bottle and kept us in the game," said Deeney.

"And as soon as it happened I knew we would score. There was no way I was placing it, if the 'keeper had saved it he was ending up in the goal as well. Considering the start of the year I had, to score 20 goals and the winner is very satisfying. We fancy ourselves against anyone on our day - we'll have a nice night tonight and then get ready for Wembley."

The Hornets' promotion dream looked over when, with the teams tied at 2-2 on aggregate, Marco Cassetti nudged Anthony Knockaert in the area and referee Michael Oliver awarded Leicester a 95th-minute spot-kick.

But Almunia blocked Knockaert's penalty, and the rebound, and moments later Deeney struck the knockout blow. In scenes reminiscent of Doncaster's breakaway goal to win League One at Brentford a fortnight ago - when the same referee gave the Bees a penalty - Watford charged upfield.

Fernando Forestieri swung in a cross from the right and Jonathan Hogg's header back across goal fell to Deeney, who thumped the ball home to spark wild celebrations. Hornets boss Gianfranco Zola was sent tumbling to the turf as jubilant players, staff and fans charged onto the pitch.

"I probably bruised something but I can't feel it now, probably in the morning," said the jubilant Italian. "I just lost it, I didn't know where I was going or who I was chasing. I said to myself I had to keep my composure but when it happens you can't control it. It was a soft penalty and it would have been unfair to lose on that."

Foxes manager Nigel Pearson admitted the defeat was hard to take, saying: "I can't imagine a worse way to lose. When you get a penalty you just hope he scores it - then what happened after that compounds the misery.

"Anthony is distraught as you would expect. I'm the first to admit it was a generous penalty decision. But to concede off the resulting penalty save is very hard to take. Unfortunately that's the nature of the beast."

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