Watford ended a four-match losing run after two goals from either side in first-half stoppage time saw the Hornets and Everton draw 1-1 at Vicarage Road.
- Watford 1 Everton 1
- Everton fans protest: ‘Martinez out’
- McCarthy opens the scoring
- No goals in the second-half
- Watford end four-match losing run
Both goals came on the brink of half-time in a fixture that was devoid of any real quality.
James McCarthy opened the scoring at Vicarage Road after a poor defensive error from Miguel Britos and hardly a minute later Everton conceded a needless corner that was subsequently headed home by Jose Holebas.
In a mid-table clash with nothing to play for, and both sides with FA Cup aspirations, it was a game that lacked any real intensity but it wasn’t long into the game when Everton created their first chance.
Just before the 10th minute Ross Barkley went on a powerful run forward and passed across goal towards Gerard Deulofeu who’s run put the ball right in his stride, but Miguel Britos was there to sweep up the danger as the Spaniard winger would’ve had a simple tap in.
Everton controlled the game in the opening stages but it was Watford who come closest to scoring. In the 18th minute Manuel Jurado had a speculative strike from distance that forced a fingertip save from Joel Robles.
Mid-way through the first half the Toffees finally got their first shot on target after breaking on a quick counter-attack. Gareth Barry found the pacey Deulofeu on the edge of the box and the forward’s effort forced Heurelho Gomes into a action with a wonderful reflex save.
After the attempt the tempo increased with some exciting end-to-end action and Odion Ighalo had a good penalty claim turned down.
Both teams were lacking confidence after a run of defeats so it’s perhaps no surprise that the composure in the final third let them down. Leighton Baines however, did come close with a left-footed curler, which was dealt with by Ben Watson when he headed the set-piece away from goal.
On the brink of half-time there were two goals in quick succession. James McCarthy found himself in the book after a cynical challenge on Hornets skipper Troy Deeney and, barely a minute later, after an awful error by defender Miguel Britos, the Republic of Ireland midfielder was on hand to slot the ball cooly past an on-rushing Gomes.
A few seconds later the Toffees were punished by a defensive error of their own after, conceding an avoidable corner due to a mix-up between John Stones and Joel Robles. Jose Holebas punished the Merseysiders with a powerful header as the Everton defence looked in sixes and sevens.
The second-half barely went into second gear as the out of form 15th and 16th placed sides looked content with a draw.
With hardly any clear-cut opportunities the home side were forced into long-range attempts but five minutes before the final whistle Robles produced a world class save from a deflected Ben Watson shot.
At the final whistle Martinez looked like a man feeling the pressure with his own supporters turning on him – securing FA Cup silverware for the Spaniard has become imperative.