Football

Watford 0 – 0 Everton

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.

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.

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.

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.

-bbc

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