Swansea stun Watford with late comeback to give new manager Carlos Carvalhal the perfect start

Watford 1 Swansea 2: Late goals by Jordan Ayew and Luciano Narsingh gave Carvalhal all three points in his first match in charge of the south Wales club

Luciano Narsingh celebrates his winning strike
Luciano Narsingh celebrates his winning strike

With five minutes left here at Vicarage Road, Carlos Carvalhal was presiding over a routine Swansea City away defeat, their eighth of a sorry season. His team were clamped to the bottom of the table and if the thoughts of the fans were turning to next year’s Championship then who could blame them. Carvalhal did well there with Sheffield Wednesday, after all.

But when the game finished Carvalhal was off celebrating in front of the ecstatic away end. Goals from Jordan Ayew and then Luciano Narsingh, in the last minute, had turned the match on its head. This was Swansea’s first away win in four months now and they will wake up on Sunday morning in 19th place, just two points away from the safe haven of 17th. Don’t start thinking about the Championship quite yet.

What really makes the difference in a relegation run-in is belief. That is what has drained out of this football club over the last few dispiriting years, and that is what Carvalhal is being paid to reignite. He is a good talker but no words can do nearly as much as moments like this: away from home, 1-0 down, on the brink of defeat, but then upturning everything right at the very end. Tottenham Hotspur come to the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday and suddenly that is a night to looked forward to, not a night to be feared.

Carlos Carvahal took charge of Swansea for the first time

Watford used to have belief but this was their sixth defeat from their last eight league games, and the most painful of the lot. This game was there for them to win, against a team with no confidence, in no form, who did not even put up much of a fight in the first half. Watford dominated from the start and went 1-0 up after 11 minutes. It was a good goal and one that was barely resisted by the visitors. Richarlison raced behind Kyle Naughton onto Stefano Okaka’s pass, his shot was saved by Lukasz Fabianski, but Andre Carrillo got up between five white shirts to head in the rebound.

Swansea were not exactly making it difficult for Watford but Silva’s side needed a second goal. It never came – Fabianski saved a Richarlison header just before the break – but in the second half the game started to drift. Luciano Narsingh came on and added some pace, and Oliver McBurnie made himself busy up front. Swansea started to pick up and the home fans, sensing the turn, grew anxious.

Andre Carrillo gave Watford the lead against basement side Swansea

The decisive moment came with six minutes left, when Watford should have killed the game. Two substitutes combined, as Roberto Pereyra played in Andre Gray, straight through on goal, but Fabianski rushed out and Gray could not beat him. That would have made it 2-0 and, so late in the game, that would have been that.

Maybe the Swansea players knew that, because they went straight down the other end and scored. Narsingh raced down the right and hit a high cross to the far post. McBurnie jumped up highest to head the ball down and Jordan Ayew was there, onside but only just, to put the ball into the net. Tom Cleverley chased the linesman to complain, but the scores were level.

And like that, the confidence of the Swansea players flooded back. They piled forward again chasing an unlikely winger. The ball dropped to Dyer, 20 yards out, and he hit an ambitious shot. Heurelho Gomes had to dive down to his right to save, but the Watford players were too slow on the rebound. Narsingh was not and before anyone could react he put the ball into the net. The Swansea bench emptied out onto the pitch and the away end nearly did too. There are worse ways for a great escape to start.

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