Everton edged closer to EPL survival after a dull 0 – 0 draw against Watford.
Everton had the better openings but were wasteful against relegated and injury-hit Watford, who named former Forest Green manager Rob Edwards as their next head coach before kick-off.
Watford ended a club record run of 11 successive home defeats and Everton moved a point closer to Premier League safety after a dismal game at Vicarage Road.
This was an opportunity missed by Everton, with Demarai Gray wasting their best chance by shooting inches wide while Watford keeper Ben Foster saved well from Richarlison’s deflected shot.
Everton, however, were aided in their battle to avoid the drop by Leeds United’s heavy home loss to Chelsea and now have home games to come against Brentford and Crystal Palace. They are two points ahead of Leeds, who remain in the bottom three and have played a game more.
Watford had little to play for other than avoiding another loss as manager Roy Hodgson’s reign comes to a close but this was a grim encounter that will not linger in the memory.
Everton have supporters to thank
For Everton, the highlight of the night was another show of magnificent travelling support from fans who have taken ownership of the crisis facing the club in a remarkable mobilisation that has played a huge part in their recent recovery.
As at Leicester on Sunday, the away section provided a thunderous soundtrack throughout, even setting aside the desperately meagre fare on the pitch to back Everton from the first minute until the last.
Manager Frank Lampard was quick to show his appreciation at the end and he has formed a bond with Everton’s fans that has not existed since Roberto Martinez’s successful first season. It has certainly not been seen before under the reign of owner Farhad Moshiri.
Toffees fans, realising the serious danger of relegation, set aside their protests at years of bad decision-making at boardroom level inside Goodison Park to back the side and, if they do stay up, the club should be eternally grateful for their unswerving loyalty.
A missed chance this may have been, but Everton’s fate is in their own hands – and survival looks a lot more likely than it did before taking seven points from three games.
“I wouldn’t say I’m frustrated. I think if you can’t win, you don’t lose, and we were more than secure in the game,” said Lampard.
“If you ask me, I’d much rather be the team that’s got it in your hands and a point or two more on the board and maybe a game more than someone as well, so I think that probably in that situation that’s what you want, but the pressure is huge anyway.
“For all the talk about pressure, more or less, it’s only actions at this point. It’s how we act and how we perform in these games.”
Watford look to the future
The cheers that rang around Vicarage Road at the final whistle were an almost ironic celebration of Watford ending that awful sequence of home losses, but it was a show of satisfaction nonetheless.
To the credit of the Hornets supporters, they threw their backing behind Watford with passion and good humour throughout the whole game and deserve something to celebrate, even if it hardly qualifies as consolation.
Hodgson is on the way out after failing to save them from the drop and Edwards will be the latest incumbent of the Vicarage Road hot-seat after moving from Forest Green to help them build back from the Championship.
It will be, no doubt, another summer of churn at this club but one thing they can count on is their excellent fans, who have stood by Watford even in this awful season.
Hodgson said: “I think it was a sterling effort from the players. The players have been doing the work with us and there was an enormous honesty about our performance.
“They played with an integrity and honesty that was really encouraging. Your confidence can never be high after being relegated. I was expecting a far worse performance than the one I saw and I can only congratulate the players for their performance against a side with a lot still to play for.”
Source – BBC News