Jack Wilshere is sent off after scuffle sparks giant melee involving swarm of furious players… but Jonathan Woodgate’s Bournemouth get back to winning ways after Arnaut Danjuma sinks Watford
- Bournemouth ended a run of two games without a win by beating Watford 1-0
- Arnaut Danjuma’s second-half strike was enough to earn the win for the Cherries
- Jack Wilshere and Joao Pedro were both sent off in second-half stoppage time
- Jonathan Woodgate picked up his third victory as interim Bournemouth boss
Jonathan Woodgate hailed Bournemouth’s team spirit after the Cherries revived their Championship play-off hopes with a battling win against promotion rivals Watford in a match overshadowed by an ugly brawl late on.
Arnaut Danjuma struck the match-winning goal in an action-packed second period, but with seconds left Hornets striker Joao Pedro was dismissed before a melee broke out as Cherries substitute Jack Wilshere also saw red in nasty scenes at the Vitality Stadium.
A first win since Woodgate was appointed permanently means the Cherries rise to fifth in the table, while Watford missed the chance to break into the top two.
Jonathan Woodgate praised his Bournemouth after they ended a losing run to beat Watford 1-0
Arnaut Danjuma’s goal was enough for the Cherries to beat their promotion rivals
Jack Wilshere was sent off late on in Bournemouth’s victory over Watford after a scuffle
Substitute Wilshere was dismissed just 20 minutes after coming on to the pitch
Wilshere (third left) was involved in a late scuffle in injury time with Watford’s Tom Cleverley
Tempers blew up with both sets of players involved in a late scuffle after Joao Pedro’s red card
Cherries boss Woodgate (middle) had to come in and break up both sets of players
Woodgate said: ‘We showed a hardcore surface instead of a soft underbelly.
‘Every single player was in it together today. You even saw it at the end, okay there was a slight fracas but all the players are sticking up for each other.
‘A really good result, they are a good team but we deserved the win. They had slightly more possession than us but we created the better chances.
‘It’s a platform to build on in terms of climbing up the league but we need to do it week in week out.’
The match started in scrappy fashion but the visiting Hornets enjoyed more of the possession
Bournemouth (4-3-3): Begovic; Smith, Carter-Vickers, S Cook, Kelly; L Cook, Pearson (sub Billing 86), Lerma; Stanislas (sub Wilshere 75) Solanke (sub Long 80), Danjuma
Subs not used: Travers, Mepham, Riquelma, Rico, Kilkenny, Anthony
Goal: Danjuma 61
Booked: Begovic, Cook, Wilshere
Red card: Wilshere
Watford (4-3-3): Bachmann; Femenia, Cathcart, Sierralta, Masina (sub Lazaar 76); Cleverley, Hughes, Chalobah (sub Gosling 76), Sarr, Joao Pedro, Sema (sub Perica 84)
Subs not used: Elliot, Ngakia, Troost-Ekong, Wilmot, Zinckernagel, Gray
Booked: Masina, Hughes, Chalobah, Sarr, Joao Pedro
Red Card: Joao Pedro
Referee: Tony Harrington
The visitors started well against opponents also seeking immediate return to the Premier League following relegation, but neither side was able to produce a decisive moment of quality.
The first shot on target finally came after 35 minutes following a beautiful interchange in midfield from Bournemouth that opened space on the left for Lloyd Kelly to sting the palms of Watford keeper Daniel Bachmann with a rasping drive.
With star performer David Brooks missing through injury the Cherries looked short of ideas in the final third, particularly from Danjuma.
The Dutch international has been a potent creative force for the Cherries with six goals and three assists this season, but he appeared subdued early on.
He was also the only Cherries player to take the knee, just days after club captain Steve Cook confirmed his team would stop making the anti-racism gesture.
However, the game burst into life early in the second half with the winger taking centre stage.
Firstly, Danjuma wriggled free in the box but saw his effort hacked away by Francisco Sierrelta and then forced Bachmann into a brilliant low stop from the same position on the left.
Nathaniel Chalobah was lucky to avoid a red card for appearing to swing an arm at Jefferson Lerma.
From the subsequent free-kick, Steve Cook’s quick delivery dropped inside the box for Danjuma to control and smash home from a tight angle.
Danjuma opened the scoring for Bournemouth, finishing well despite a tight angle
Watford became increasingly frantic in their search for a leveller but Bournemouth proved equal to their efforts only for both sides to lose their cool in the closing stages.
Pedro was initially shown a yellow card late on for a foul before being sent off a minute later for kicking out at Lerma.
Both teams reacted with fury to the incident and Wilshere, only introduced in the 74th minute and already booked for time-wasting, was dismissed for his role in the brawl that saw players and staff from both sides clash and continued into the tunnel after the match.
With that, Bournemouth ended Watford’s four-game winning run and reignited their own ambitions of an instant return to the top flight.
Ismaila Sarr (right) went close for the visitors at the end but there was no equaliser for Watford
Woodgate insisted the incident demonstrated his side’s passion and added: ‘If rugby players are doing it, no one is talking about it. If football players do it, everybody talks about it. It is one of those things, it is a little tiny fracas.
‘Players are passionate about their team, they want to win, it just boils over now and again.’
Watford boss Xisco remained positive despite a second defeat in eleven games. He said: ‘I think no one can say anything about the players because everyone gave the maximum.
‘You can have good or bad things with the ball. Most importantly we had the team spirit.’