Burnley 1-1 Watford: Michael Obafemi scores his first goal for the Clarets in stoppage time to cancel out Joao Pedro’s first-half opener, as Championship leaders extend their unbeaten run and move 18 points clear of play-off spots
- Joao Pedro gave the Hornets a shock lead at Turf Moor midway through first-half
- Michael Obafemi netted against the club that released him when he was younger
- Hosts extended unbeaten run but unable to achieve record 11th win in a row
We were into the final knockings of stoppage time and many had already left Turf Moor into the chilly Lancastrian night.
Burnley won themselves one final corner and their keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell raced into the Watford penalty box.
Perhaps it was the confusion caused by his bright shirt amid the scrum of players but Watford just didn’t deal with the delivery.
It sailed over everyone’s head and found Lyle Foster, whose scrambled shot came back off the post and fell for substitute Michael Obafemi to take Burnley a point closer to the Premier League.
This was seconds away from being a rare off-night for the Clarets in their relentless assault on promotion – and they’d only have had themselves to blame.
Michael Obafemi scored in stoppage time to rescue a point for Burnley against Watford at Turf Moor
It was Obafemi’s first goal for Burnley since joining on loan from Swansea in the January window
Joao Pedro gave visitors Watford the lead midway through the first half after a poor mistake from Aro Muric
But the point was thoroughly deserved and it puts them 18 clear of third-placed Middlesbrough, a rarely-seen luxury in this notoriously tough division. It remains a matter of when, rather than if.
Plus, with Boro heading to second-placed Sheffield United on Wednesday night, one or both will drop points.
The biggest shame is that having equalled a 110-year-old club record of 10 consecutive league wins by beating Preston on Saturday, Burnley couldn’t rewrite that particular line in their record books.
But they did break a 96-year-old club record by scoring in a 28th consecutive league game.
Obafemi also spared the blushes of his keeper Arijanet Muric, whose howler had gifted Watford’s Joao Pedro the goal that looked like completing a double over the champions-elect.
Watford held the pre-match distinction of being one of just two teams to have beaten the leaders in the Championship this season and that came all the way back in August.
Back then, we had little idea whether Burnley, with their new manager and many new faces, would be able to mount a promotion challenge.
As it transpires, they’ve not only mounted a promotion challenge but utterly dominated the division.
Burnley (4-2-3-1): Muric (Peacock-Farrell 46); Roberts (Obafemi 86), Ekdal, Beyer (Al-Dakhil 41), Maatsen; Cullen, Gudmundsson (Twine 71); Tella, Brownhill (c), Zaroury; Barnes (Foster 71)
Substitutes not used: Cork, Vitinho
Manager: Vincent Kompany
Scorer: Obafemi 90+5
Booked: Roberts, Barnes, Obafemi
Watford (4-2-3-1): Bachmann; Gaspar, Porteous, Hoedt, Kamara; Sema (Araujo 68), Choudhury; Sarr, Joao Pedro (Kabasele 87), Kone (Louza 75); Davis (Martins 69)
Substitutes not used: Hamer (GK); Morris, Assombalonga
Manager: Slaven Bilic
Scorer: Joao Pedro 32
Booked: Kamara, Porteous
Referee: Leigh Doughty
They roared out of the blocks here, almost taking the lead inside the opening minute.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson was beaten to a through ball by Watford keeper Daniel Bachmann, but the ball came straight out to Ashley Barnes on the edge of the box.
His first-time strike looked goalbound but Bachmann stretched out an arm and managed to divert the ball onto the crossbar.
Shortly afterwards, it was Hassane Kamara getting across from left-back to block after Nathan Tella was played in behind by Josh Cullen.
Burnley weren’t entirely comfortable with Watford’s pressing disrupting their passing game but they were certainly seeing all the chances.
The Hornets allowed the always-dangerous Anass Zaroury to cut inside from his left-wing station and clear the bar from 20 yards.
Then from a corner, what appeared to be a tame delivery by Gudmundsson actually found near-post runner Barnes, who could only find the side-netting.
But there was an uncharacteristic vulnerability about Burnley when playing out from the back and it was epitomised by their keeper Muric, who’d misplaced several passes before his colossal error led to the 32nd-minute opener.
It was a hopeful long ball out of defence by Ryan Porteous seeking out Joao Pedro but it appeared a touch overhit and everyone expected Muric to deal with it.
But the ball bounced up off the top of Muric’s knee and when he failed to gather at the second time of asking, Pedro knocked it back to Keinan Davis, who found Ken Sema.
Burnley’s Johann Gudmundsson had an early effort saved by Daniel Bachmann which was followed up by Barnes whose effort hit the bar
Championship leaders Burnley struggled to break through a resolute Watford defence until stoppage time
Sema had time and space to pick his pass and his low roll-back was fired into an unguarded net by Joao Pedro.
There had still been enough about Burnley’s performance for them to be applauded off at the interval but frustration was the overriding emotion at Turf Moor.
Muric was actually taken off by Kompany at half-time, with Bailey Peacock-Farrell taking the gloves.
Burnley loaded up to lay siege to the Watford goal. Barnes sliced a shot badly wide, then Gudmundsson fired straight at Bachmann from range.
The game took a farcical twist as Burnley won a succession of corners, leading to tangles between Barnes and Wesley Hoedt that tested the patience of referee Leigh Doughty.
Nathan Tella came close in the second-half but Watford keeper Daniel Bachmann kept him out
Obafemi reacted quickest to tap home in a complete goalmouth scramble on the stroke of full-time
Vincent Kompany’s side were unable to secure a club record 11th win in a row, but they extended their unbeaten run
Ameen Al-Dakhil then went down, claiming Hoedt had clobbered him across the face when replays showed only accidental connection, if any.
The distraction almost worked when a corner was diverted towards his own goal by Sema’s header and touched on by Tella but Bachmann blocked at close quarters.
In the closing minutes, substitute Scott Twine dipped a 30-yard free-kick not too far over the bar.
Deep into six minutes of stoppage time, Doughty waved away Burnley handball appeals after Obafemi’s header struck Mario Gaspar, merely inches away. But he’d have the final word.
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