June 20, 2020 / 2:06 PM / 19 days ago

Dawson's overhead kick earns vital point for Watford

WATFORD, England (Reuters) - Watford’s Craig Dawson grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser with an overhead kick to earn his side a 1-1 draw with Leicester City on Saturday and a vital point in their battle for Premier League survival.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Watford v Leicester City - Vicarage Road, Watford, Britain - June 20, 2020 Leicester City's Ben Chilwell celebrates scoring their first goal with Leicester City's James Maddison as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Andy Rain/Pool via REUTERS

England full back Ben Chilwell had put third-placed Leicester ahead in the 90th minute with a thunderous shot, before Dawson’s acrobatic finish lifted Watford provisionally a point clear of the relegation zone.

“It came off the defender’s toe and fell to Craig Dawson,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said. “They have so many bodies in the box and it is one of those things. Just unfortunate.”

Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure created the best chance of the opening half, firing straight at Kasper Schmeichel after a defensive error by Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi.

Soon after halftime Watford’s Etienne Capoue produced a defence-splitting pass to send Ismaila Sarr clean through on goal but Schmeichel made an another excellent block from close range with an outstretched hand.

Having failed to record a single effort on target in the first half, Leicester created the majority of chances in the closing stages and went close when Marc Albrighton’s effort hit the post.

Leicester thought they had secured their first league win at Vicarage Road since 2016 with Chilwell’s strike, but defender Dawson had other ideas.

“It was obviously a very important goal and it was good to get a point in the end,” said Dawson after scoring his first goal for Watford.

“There was tiredness in the second half. But credit to the lads. You can hear the lads who are not playing and the noise they made when the goal went in.”

Watford manager Nigel Pearson was particularly impressed with how his players adjusted to playing without fans.

“We have some who thrive on the emotional attachments with the fans on matchday. But they have to deal with that,” he added.

“To concede so late on is a real difficult thing to deal with. But we deserved something from the game. It is a valuable point.”

Watford moved to 16th place in the table with 28 points, while Leicester remained third and six points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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