March 3, 2018 / 6:04 PM / 15 days ago

Soccer: Watford strike late to pile pressure on West Brom boss Pardew

(Reuters) - West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Pardew faces a battle to hold on to his job after Watford’s Troy Deeney struck a late winner at Vicarage Road to inflict a fifth consecutive Premier League defeat on the Midlands outfit on Saturday.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Watford vs West Bromwich Albion - Vicarage Road, Watford, Britain - March 3, 2018 West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Pardew looks dejected REUTERS/David Klein

Basement side West Brom desperately needed something from the game and looked to be heading for a point until Deeney broke clear after 77 minutes and fired a superb shot past Ben Foster into the roof of the net.

Pardew’s future looks certain to be called into question with his side rooted to the foot of the table and his dismal record of one win in 15 games since he took charge in November.

The latest defeat leaves West Brom eight points adrift of the safety zone and it remains to be seen if Pardew will be in charge for their next game against Leicester City next weekend.

“It is tough but it isn’t about me, it’s about West Brom and it is tough for the fans and the players,” he said.

“We won’t give up the fight we will keep going until we get something. It is tough to stand in front of players and say you haven’t really done much wrong.”

The pre-match talk was dominated by reports of a dressing-room showdown at West Brom following their defeat against Huddersfield last week, with midfielder Chris Brunt criticising Pardew’s tactics in a heated exchange.

The West Brom players certainly did their best to respond and had enough chances to win the game.

Matt Phillips’s cross after 27 minutes picked out Salomon Rondon who headed the ball just wide of the post. Rondon came even closer after 51 minutes when he went clean through but saw his low shot well saved by Orestis Karnezis.

West Brom were denied by the woodwork after 52 minutes when Jonny Evans saw his shot pushed on to the post by Karnezis. Watford raced down the other end and Richarlison’s overhead kick fell inches past the post.

Pardew must have feared the worst after Watford substitute Stefano Okaka’s shot was cleared off the line by Kieran Gibbs after 76 minutes.

After scoring the winner against Everton in their previous home game, Deeney stole the headlines for Watford once again 60 seconds later when he raced on to a through ball from substitute Will Hughes and fired a superb finish past Foster into the roof of the net.

Watford’s new manager Javi Gracia is clearly enjoying life in the Premier League after seeing his side secure their third consecutive home win.

Asked if he was concerned about being safe from relegation, Gracia said: “I don’t waste my time thinking about that.

“I am only focused on the next match and the next three points. I think this is the best mentality for the team.”

Pardew, however, will now be dreading a phone call from owner Guochuan Lai as his team moved a step closer to the drop.

Writing by Marc Isaacs; Editing by Ken Ferris and Clare Fallon

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