Kuqi header earns Swans victory

Shefki Kuqi's early header gave Swansea an important 1-0 win at Watford which had ramifications at both ends of the Championship table.

Last Updated: 09/03/10 at 23:09 Post Comment

Kuqi: Netted the winner

Kuqi: Netted the winner

The former Ipswich striker had already spurned two good chances when he headed the winner at Vicarage Road as Paulo Sousa's side strengthened their hold on a play-off place.

However the visitors were indebted to a pair of goal-line clearances from skipper Alan Tate as they shut out Watford - who are now right in the thick of a battle against relegation.

Malky Mackay's side find themselves just two points above the relegation zone in a congested table and will need to make the most of the visit of doomed Peterborough on Saturday to stave off the threat of the drop into League One.

Kuqi capped a frenetic first 45 minutes in which both sides should have scored at least twice with the solitary goal as the Swans made it an incredible 23 goals conceded in 35 league games.

John Eustace had the first shot of the night but hit the roof of the stand behind the goal from 25 yards before Danny Graham saw a header cleared from off the line by Tate as Watford made a lively start.

Centre-half Martin Taylor saw a shot blocked from a deep free-kick before Craig Beattie came close to giving the Swans the lead in their first attack.

Darren Pratley flicked on a long pass and after shrugging off the attentions of Adrian Mariappa, Beattie drilled in a powerful effort which Watford's highly-rated goalkeeper Scott Loach did well to beat out at the near post.

That chance sparked Swansea into the life and Pratley then crossed for Kuqi to climb above Loach but the Finn saw his weak header crash against the base of the post.

Kuqi again should have done better minutes later when he headed an excellent cross from Cedric van der Gun straight at Loach, but did finally score at the third time of asking in the 18th minute.

Angel Rangel cut out a pass by Watford midfielder Henri Lansbury and started a lightning-quick counter attack.

Pratley found Beattie in space on the right and his fine early ball found Kuqi inside the six-yard box.

England Under-21 keeper Loach got a strong hand to his diving header but the ball found its way into the net.

Only an agile save from Dorus De Vries prevented Jon Harley from heading the home side level as the home side made a bright response and Tate made his second crucial clearance from under his own crossbar to volley Jay DeMerit's header clear before half-time.

The opening of the second period failed to live up to the first as both sides struggled to control the ball on a difficult surface.

DeMerit headed over from a long throw as the home side attempted to exert some pressure while the Swans were content to rely on their extraordinary defensive record to see out the win.

And De Vries was able to record another clean sheet after keeping out a late effort from Heidar Helguson as Sousa celebrated three more points.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

More Match Results

Tuesday, 22 April 2014
20:00
Bolton 0-1 Leicester Report
Reading 2-0 Middlesbro' Report
Monday, 21 April 2014
17:15
Leeds 0-2 N Forest Report
15:00
Birmingham 2-4 Blackburn Report
Brighton 1-1 Blackpool Report
Burnley 2-0 Wigan Report
Derby 2-1 Barnsley Report
Ipswich 2-2 Bournemth Report
Millwall 0-0 Doncaster Report
QPR 2-1 Watford Report

Sky Bet Championship

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Leicester 44 37 96
2 Burnley 44 34 89
3 Derby 44 30 81
4 QPR 44 15 76
5 Wigan 43 15 70
6 Reading 44 12 67
7 Brighton 44 12 66
8 N Forest 44 7 65
9 Ipswich 44 6 65
10 Blackburn 44 5 64
11 Bournemth 44 -1 63
12 Watford 43 17 60
13 Middlesbro' 44 7 58
14 Bolton 44 -3 55
15 Sheff Wed 44 1 53
16 Leeds 44 -10 53
17 Huddersfld 44 -8 50
18 Charlton 43 -23 45
19 Doncaster 44 -28 44
20 Millwall 44 -29 44
21 Birmingham 43 -13 43
22 Blackpool 44 -27 43
23 Barnsley 44 -30 39
24 Yeovil 44 -26 37

Updated Thu, 24 Apr 2014

Footer 365

Europa League: Lima's late winner gives Benfica 2-1 victory in semi-final first-leg

Substitute Lima struck late to help Benfica to a 2-1 victory over Juventus in their Europa League semi-final first-leg.

Nicky Butt proud to be assisting Manchester United's temporary boss Ryan Giggs

Nicky Butt says he is immensely proud to be assisting Manchester United's temporary manager Ryan Giggs.

Europa League: Sevilla secure first leg lead in all-Spanish clash with Valencia

Sevilla toppled La Liga rivals Valencia in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final to claim a 2-0 advantage.

Mail Box

Guardiola Is No Better Than Moyes...

At least he wasn't in Bayern's defeat to Real Madrid, says one chap in the mailbox. Plus, more excitement over Van Gaal at Man United and thoughts on FFP...

Man United Fans Excited By Van Gaal Talk

Man United fans know who they want to replace David Moyes, with Louis van Gaal the favourite to take over at Old Trafford. Plus, thoughts on Real Madrid v Bayern Munich...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property