Gray and Success on target as Watford sign off with a win against Swansea
Watford (0) 2 Gray 56, Success 87
Swansea City (0) 0
It has not been the best season of Andre Gray’s career and in a match which had the unmistakable sense of post-promotion anti-climax, a goal here will not be his most significant.
But he nevertheless enjoyed his moment – getting on the end of a deep cross to the far right stick from Ken Sema to bundle home from close range.
It was only his fifth goal of the campaign and perhaps offers a reminder to Xisco Munoz that he could be useful in next season’s return to Premier League action.
Skipper Troy Deeney is still notionally an option for striking duties next season too, but the Hornets warhorse is not guaranteed to feature in the plans for next term – admitting as much in his programme notes.
“I’m no more entitled to that shirt on the first day of next season than any of the other lads here,” he admitted.
He did come on for the final 20 minutes though, and was there to help push the Hornets into a far better second half which was capped by a fine shot into the roof of the net from outside the box by Isaac Success near the end.
The first half had been a bit of a damp-squid for Watford’s newly-promoted side.
The exchanges between Jamal Lowe, Josh Cullen and Ayew for Swansea often threatened to make this a deflating final day, in spite of the prem-match razzmatazz, which included fireworks, and exploding streams of yellow confetti cascading from the roof of the East Stand.
Ayew fashioned a close-range chance with a sharp turn onto his left peg – Ben Foster keeping it out at his near post. The keeper then had to make an even better save when Matt Grimes beat two men outside the area before unleashing a fine low shot to his left, that had him scrambling.
Cullen should also have scored for the Swans at the start of the second half after Lowe, back to goal, had laid the ball off inside the area. His shot went over when the target was gaping.
But it was a different game after Gray’s opener and there might have been ever more reward – Achraf Lazaar forcing another goalbound shot to be tipped over.
The Swans only managed a deflected effort from sub Wayne Routledge after a flurry of substitutes, though they have more important battles ahead in the play-offs, of course.
So, not such a bad finale in the end for Watford, but clearly many key decisions lie ahead in the summer about how they plan to survive next season in the top flight – and whether Gray and Deeney are likely to play a role.
Hornets (4-3-3): Foster – Navarro, Kabasele, Cathcart, Lazaar – Zinckernagel (Hughes 65), Sanchez (Pedro 65), Gosling (Wilmot 82) – Success, Gray (Deeney 72), Sema. Subs not used: Troost-Ekong, Masina, Perica, Bachmann, Sierralta
Swans (4-3-3): Woodman – Roberts, Bennett, Guehi, Bidwell – Fulton, Grimes (Smith 66), Hourihane (Whittaker 77) – Ayew (Cooper 66), Cullen (Routledge 66), Lowe (Dhanda 66). Subs not used: Manning, Hamer, Latibaudiere, Naughton, Cooper