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  • By Yann Tear at Vicarage Road

Time almost up for Watford as Leeds United usher them closer to the trapdoor

Watford (0) 0

Leeds United (1) 3 Raphinha 21, Rodrigo 73, Harrison 85

Watford are all but in the last-chance saloon again after slumping to defeat in a match they could ill afford to draw, let alone lose.

Much as they have done at Vicarage Road all season, they failed to convince in the final third and although their second half display was a marked improvement on the opening 45 minutes, they seldom looked like getting anything out of the game.

They are now six points from safety, having played a game more than Everton, who lie just above the drop zone. It might as well be seven, given their horrific goal difference, and they have only seven to play.

Roy Hodgson has not been able to work the miracle asked of him, it seems, and 12 losses in 15 home matches in the Premier League is simply dire.

Watford were in must-win territory even before today but after an unexpected Everton victory in the lunchtime match against Man United, that need became even more critical.

Leeds too, had cause to be focused, as the Toffees' win meant they would be even more vulnerable to relegation on the back of defeat at Vicarage Road. They made sure it did not happen.

Jesse Marsch’s team played on the front foot in the opening stages and were rewarded when the best player on the pitch, the Brazilian star Raphinha, was on hand to curl a ball from Dan James past Ben Foster from the edge of the area after Samir had given the ball away.

The Hornets had already gone close with an Imran Louza free-kick and a Cucho Hernandez effort from an angle but once they had conceded, they struggled to find the same levels of dynamism.

And their task was made even tougher when Hernandez – a man capable of making a difference – came off injured after 38 minutes.

Hodgson undoubtedly had a word with his players to try and spark some life into them and there were signs of improvement but after Joao Pedro had fired just over and Ismailia Sarr ballooned an even better chance well over, the mood dipped.

And the Hornets knew there would be no way back when Leeds poached a second goal after a defensive mix-up between Hassane Kamara and Samir to hand Rodrigo the clincher – the Leeds midfielder rounding Foster before tapping into an empty net.

As jubilant Leeds fans serenaded their team with chants of ‘We are staying up,’ many home fans chose the moment to head for home or the nearest pub - no doubt grateful to have missed a third goal from the boot of Jack Harrison with a sweet strike from the left edge of the penalty area.

It’s all looking pretty grim now for the Hornets.

Hornets: (4-3-3) Foster – Femenia, Kabasele, Samir, Kamara – Sissoko, Louza, Kucka (Kayembe 72) – Sarr, Joao Pedro (King 81), Hernandez (Dennis 39). Subs not used: Cleverley, Masina, Cathcart, Bachmann, Kalu, Sierralta

Leeds: (4-2-3-1): Meslier – Ayling, Llorente, Cooper, Dallas – Klich Phillips 59), Koch – Raphinha (Summerville 83), Rodrigo, Harrison – James (Greenwood 67). Subs not used: Klaesson, Struijk, Phillips, Gehardt, Cresswell, Kenneh

Attendance: 20,957


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