Ismaila Sarr scored one of the first Championship goal contenders of the season as Watford played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with fellow promotion hopefuls West Brom at the Hawthorns.
The Baggies hit Karlan Grant, who scored a deserved equalizer in first-half stoppage time, before Sarr squandered the chance to secure a second win of the season for Rob Edwards’ side since the penalty spot.
A moment of inspiration from Sarr lit up a game the home side dominated, propelling Watford against the run of play, with Daniel Bachmann’s trio of stunning saves immediately eclipsed by the brilliance of the game’s opening goal.
Bachmann countered Darnell Furlong and Grant in quick succession, before also denying John Swift from close range, but there was nothing opposing number David Button could do with Sarr’s effort from two yards inside. his own half.
A strike brimming with quality and invention – reminiscent of David Beckham’s goal against Wimbledon in 1996 and Wayne Rooney’s at West Ham in 2014 – as the Senegal international recklessly spotted Button off his line and set to lift the ball over him in the 12th minute.
Grant then atoned for his earlier failure by latching on to Grady Diangana’s defensive pass, shooting the ball with admirable composure before firing beyond Bachmann’s reach to level the proceedings two minutes before the break.
The game turned in Watford’s favor again midway through the second period, as Semi Ajayi awkwardly challenged Sarr inside the box for a penalty. But the striker, in stark contrast to his jaw-dropping first-half contribution, made a tame effort towards goal from 12 yards which was easily cleared by Button in the 73rd minute.
West Brom host Sheffield United at the Hawthorns in the Carabao Cup first round at 8pm on Thursday August 11, while Watford host Burnley in the Sky Bet Championship at 8pm the following evening, live on Sky Sports Football.