Watford v Sunderland: The last six matches at Vicarage Road remembered

Sunderland defender Lamine Kone outjumps Troy Deeney in last season's 2-2 draw at Watford. Picture by Frank Reid
Sunderland defender Lamine Kone outjumps Troy Deeney in last season's 2-2 draw at Watford. Picture by Frank Reid
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Sunderland head to Vicarage Road today, looking for much-needed points in the latest bid for Premier League survival.

The Red and Whites – an 8-0 drubbing back in 1982 notwithstanding – have a good record away to Watford, with only four defeats there ever and a memorable Milk Cup quarter-final success in 1985.

In all, Sunderland have been away to the Hornets 20 times, with seven wins and nine draws.

Here we look back at the last six meetings at Vicarage Road.

Watford 2 Sunderland 2

May 15, 2016

Backed by an away end in full-on party mode, Sunderland brought the curtain down on their season with an entertaining 2-2 draw at Watford.

Four days after Sunderland secured their Premier League survival, more than 2,000 travelling fans at Vicarage Road delighted in the Black Cats remaining in the top flight and the relegation of arch-rivals Newcastle.

But while the game may have been a dead-rubber, there was plenty of intrigue for Sam Allardyce after the Sunderland boss handed Premier League debuts to homegrown trio Rees Greenwood, Tommy Robson and George Honeyman.

Robson was arguably the best of the trio, yet Greenwood had a hand in Jack Rodwell’s opening goal.

Watford were unable to clear their lines following Jeremain Lens’ shot from the edge of the area. The ball came out to Greenwood, 25 yards out, and he played a lovely first-time pass to Lens down the right-hand side of the penalty area.

Lens squared it across the face where the onrushing Rodwell tapped it home at the far post.

Three minutes after the restart, the Hornets levelled from a Sebastian Prodl header, as he beat John O’Shea in the air and headed a corner past Jordan Pickford from six yards.

Lens – in perhaps his last Sunderland appearance – regained the advantage, taking Duncan Watmore’s pass and outwitting the defence before firing under keeper Heurelho Gomes.

But Troy Deeney levelled from the spot after a debatably awarded penalty from referee Kevin Friend, after a high foot from John O’Shea as he robbed Jose Manuel Jurado.

Watford 1 Sunderland 1

October 19, 2004

Mick McCarthy’s men slipped to sixth place in the Championship after a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road.

The point was a good response for the Black Cats, though, as the home side made the breakthrough after just nine minutes, with midfielder Neal Ardley marking his 100th start for Watford by finishing off a deflected cross from winger Ashley Young.

Sunderland, though, always looked the stronger side and made it a tough night for home keeper Richard Lee, though their only goal came courtesy of a dreadful defensive error, gifting Stephen Elliott a 22nd-minute leveller, for his seventh goal of the campaign.

Watford 2 Sunderland 2

February 7, 2004

Sunderland hit back brilliantly for a point in an entertaining Division One clash, after being 2-0 down with 14 minutes to go.

Debutant Darren Byfield was the hero after coming off the bench to slot home for 2-2 with just four minutes to go.

Lowly Watford rocked the visitors with a seventh-minute opener, as Gavin Mahon fired past Mart Pom after Scott Fitzgerald cutback from the line.

It was 2-0 on 68 minutes as Phil Babb felled Heidar Helguson and full-back Neil Cox drove home the resulting penalty.

Mick McCarthy’s promotion-chasing Wearsiders, though, staged an impressive fightback to rescue a point.

Marcus Stewart got one back on 76 minutes, with a powerful header after Stephen Wright flicked on a Jason McAteer corner, then Byfield marked his debut with the late leveller.

Watford 2 Sunderland 3

November 27, 1999

Peter Reid’s Sunderland sat proudly in third place in the Premiership table after completing a double against the Hornets.

The Red and Whites bounced back impressively from the previous week’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool, and enduring a dismal start at Vicarage Road, with Michel Ngonge putting the home side in front in just the fourth minute.

Kevin Phillips rocked his former club with an equaliser on 24 minutes, and he put Sunderland in front nine minutes later.

Richard Johnson’s penalty hauled Watford level early in the second half, but midfielder Gavin McCann popped up with a 70th-minute winner for the visitors.

Watford 2 Sunderland 1

January 30, 1999

Watford avenged a 4-1 Stadium of Light defeat early in the season by edging a close-fought 2-1 Vicarage Road triumph in the return.

It was a third successive disappointment for Sunderland, following a 1-0 FA Cup exit at Blackburn and a 2-1 home loss to Leicester in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final.

Nick Wright gave the Hornets a 20th-minute lead, only for Niall Quinn to haul Sunderland level nine minutes before the break.

Gifton Noel-Williams hit Watford’s winner eight minutes into the second half.

Sunderland remained top of the table despite the defeat, with both sides going up at the end of the season.

Watford 3 Sunderland 3

April 2, 1996

Sunderland’s bid for a 10th successive win failed, but only just, in a six-goal thriller at Watford.

Peter Reid’s Division One table-toppers were on fire, with only three goals conceded in the preceding run of nine straight victories.

Graham Taylor’s Hornets, though, proved a match for the visitors, coming back from 2-0 and 3-1 down to pick up a point.

Steve Agnew and Kevin Ball struck twice in three minutes before the 20-minute mark to give Sunderland’s noisy travelling support visions of another success, but Tommy Mooney rallied Watford, netting on 29 minutes.

Craig Russell restored the two-goal advantage just before the break, but the Hornets kept scrapping and pulled a goal back a minute into the second period, with Mooney again on target.

Craig Ramage then ensured a share of the spoils, beating keeper Shay Given in the 74th minute to level at 3-3.