Gianfranco Zola seeks clinical edge after Bakary Sako silences protests from Wolves fans

Wolves 1 Watford 1

Molineux

Bakary Sako’s equaliser two minutes into stoppage time spared Wolves the full force of their fans’ anger after Watford had threatened another uncomfortable night for manager Dean Saunders and the club’s board.

It still leaves Wolves with much to do to avoid becoming the first club in Football League history to suffer the indignity of back-to-back relegations for a second time and that remains a possibility after 12 Championship matches without a win.

Watford, who have climbed to second place under Gianfranco Zola, went ahead through Almen Abdi’s first-half free kick and ultimately paid the price for missing chances to extend their lead.

“We haven’t won the game but if feels like a win and hopefully it can give the players a bit of belief,” Saunders said. “It is not an easy place to play at the moment and I hope they can gain strength from it. People can think they don’t care or they don’t try but they do care and they do try and I’m pleased for them.”

After a protest by fans before the game, Wolves went close to lifting the mood in the 19th minute, when only a fine double save by Watford’s 19-year-old goalkeeper, Jonathan Bond, denied them the lead as Kevin Doyle’s strike and Bjorn Sigurdarson’s firmly struck follow-up were both repelled.

Otherwise, most of the action was in front of Carl Ikeme’s goal. With Troy Deeney restored to Watford’s front rank alongside 20-goal Matej Vydra and Ikechi Anya posing danger on the left flank, it seemed only a matter of time before the home side’s resistance cracked, which it did in the 41st minute. Vydra won a free kick against Karl Henry and the Swiss midfielder Abdi curled the ball over the wall and just far enough from Ikeme’s fingertips to score his 10th goal of the season.

Watford should have won comfortably. Ikeme pulled off a fine fingertip save from Marco Cassetti but both Anya and substitute Fernando Forestieri missed better opportunities. Then Sako seized on the ball from a long throw in stoppage time and beat Bond from the edge of the box.

“It is disappointing,” Zola said. “I didn’t see it coming. A 1-0 lead away from home is often not enough and we needed to be more clinical.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Ikeme; Doherty, Johnson, Gorkss, Robinson; Sako, Henry (Davis, 70), O’Hara, Hunt (Cassidy, 64); Sigurdarson, Doyle (Ebanks-Blake, 64). Substitutes not used: De Vries, Batth, Edwards, Ward.

Watford (3-5-2): Bond; Doyley, Nosworthy, Ekstrand; Cassetti, Abdi, Chalobah (Hogg, 82), Battocchio, Anya (Pudil, 84); Deeney, Vydra (Forestieri, 78). Substitutes not used: Yeates, Murray, Bonham, Geijo.

Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future