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Watford’s Road To The FA Cup Final

Leigh Copson 3 May 2019
Andre Gray of Watford (credit:Wolfgang Fehrmann/Zuma Press/PA Images)

Watford will make only their second ever appearance in an FA Cup Final when they take on Manchester City in the final on May 18, and ahead of the clash we have been looking back to the Hornets’ remarkable road to Wembley Stadium that included one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the world’s oldest cup competition… 

Third Round – Woking 0 Watford 2

Watford’s FA Cup adventure began with a third-round trip to face the lowest ranked team left in the competition, Woking. The non-league side were looking to enter their name into cup folklore, but a cup upset never appeared to be on the cards. Will Hughes gave Watford an early leader before Troy Deeney wrapped things up in the second half, and although the scoreline was not exactly emphatic it was solid, professional display from a Watford side that would go on to face much bigger challenges. 

Fourth Round – Newcastle United 0 Watford 2

If Watford were going to reach the fifth round for only the second time in 10 seasons they were going to have to beat fellow top-flight side Newcastle United at St James’ Park in round four – and they did just that. The Magpies’ battle against the drop influenced manager Rafael Benitez’s selection as he made a host of changes to his starting XI for the tie, and Watford took full advantage with Isaac Success’ late goal completing a 2-0 victory after Andre Gray have finally broken the deadlock just after the hour-mark.

Fifth Round – Queens Park Rangers 0 Watford 1

Another round, another away tie for Watford. This time they made the short trip to Loftus Road to take on Championship side Queens Park Rangers and it would prove to be a tricky outing for the Hornets. Rangers had a couple of chances during the fourth-round tie, but the key moment came in added time at the end of the first half as Etienne Capoue reacted quickest to Tom Cleverley’s mis-hit to successfully find the back of the net with what proved to be the only shot on target that they managed in the entire match. It was not pretty, but Watford were through to the quarter-finals.

Quarter-Finals – Watford 2 Crystal Palace 1

Having been forced to play their first three ties away from home, Watford were finally handed a home draw in the quarter-finals. Only Crystal Palace stood between the Hornets and a place in the semi-finals, and Watford went into the tie well-rested after Javi Gracia decided to rest some of his key players for the Premier League clash with Manchester City prior to that. It proved to be a very smart decision that paid off. Etienne Capoue gave the Hornets the lead just before the half-an-hour mark, but Palace battled back and a cool finish by Michy Batshuayi evened things up just after the hour. Their joy was short-lived though as Andre Gray played the role of super sub, stepping off the bench to fire home what proved to be the winner 11 minutes from time.

Semi-Finals – Watford 3 Wolves 2 (After Extra Time)

No Watford fan will ever forget how this tie unfolded and Gerard Deulofeu may never have to buy another drink in the town again after the impact he made on the semi-final clash with Watford. The Hornets’ FA Cup dream appeared to be dead and buried after Matt Doherty headed Wolves in front and Raul Jimenez doubled their lead with a sublime chest control and volley, but what followed next was one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the world’s oldest cup competition. Deulofeu stepped off the bench to haul Watford back into the game with a sensational finish and then it was over to captain Troy Deeney to show his ‘cojones’ as he showed nerves of steel to equalise with a penalty deep into added time. That forced extra time and it was Deulofeu who had the final say on the tie, slotting home what proved to be the match-winner in the 104th minute of an incredible contest.

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Watford’s Road To The FA Cup Final

We have been looking back to Watford's remarkable road to the FA Cup Final.

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