AFC Wimbledon 3-2 Watford: Hornets lose in Marco Silva's first game in charge
Steven Berghuis celebrates his goal (Photo: Watford FC/ Twitter)

Ben Watson and Steven Berghuis scored second-half goals, but a late winner ensured AFC Wimbledon went away with the victory against Watford.

It was an uneventful first 45 minutes, with head coach Marco Silva taking charge for the very first time, and the game sprung to life after half-time.

Two goals from Cody McDonald inside the first four minutes of the second-half left the visitors on the back foot and with a lot to do.

However, the Hornets did respond through Ben Watson, on 55 minutes, and Steven Berghuis, on 77 minutes, to set up an exciting final 10 minutes.

The tie looked to be ending in a draw until substitute Alfie Egan finished from close range to give the Dons the win at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.

Stefano Okaka was leading the line in the game (Photo: Watford FC/ Twitter)
Stefano Okaka was leading the line in the game (Photo: Watford FC/ Twitter)

Dons hit post midway through first half

Silva opted to go with one man up front in his first game in charge, Stefano Okaka, while Berghuis and Isaac Success were included in the starting line up too.

The first chance of the game fell Watford’s way, when Etienne Capoue latched onto Abdoulaye Doucouré’s through ball and struck onto the roof of the net in the third minute.

Andy Barcham’s effort was watched over the crossbar by Heurelho Gomes before the Dons came within inches of breaking the deadlock.

A corner was taken short and George Francomb played the ball into the area, and a header from Lyle Taylor cannoned off the post.

Hosts go two-up after half-time

Miguel Britos was the first Watford man to get a shot on target, as he left his marker at the back post and forced George Long into making a fine save.

Long was called into action twice more soon after, with Okaka’s shot being tipped round the post and the same with José Holebas’ free-kick.

The two sides couldn’t be separated at the break, but the Premier League outfit found themselves two goals down within minutes of the restart.

There second half was only 16 seconds old when McDonald struck home Taylor’s cross, and the forward was in among the goals once more, three minutes later.

Watford were given no respite, Barcham threaded a pass through to McDonald, who made no mistake with the finish to put the hosts two-goals up.

Ben Watson in action for Watford (Photo:
Ben Watson in action for Watford (Photo:

Hornets fight back to level the game

This produced a response from the Hornets, who started to apply pressure on their opponents, and before long, they pulled a goal back.

Holebas drove down the flank and his cross picked out Watson in the area, and the midfielder calmly slotted the ball home.

Silva’s side almost found an equaliser soon after, but Capoue couldn’t direct Berghuis’ cross goalwards, and his effort went wide.

The visitors did manage to draw level 13 minutes from time, as Berghuis steered home Brice Dja Djédjé’s cross into the bottom corner.

Marco Silva applauds the travelling supporters (Photo: Watford FC/ Twitter)
Marco Silva applauds the travelling supporters (Photo: Watford FC/ Twitter)

Late goal hands Dons victory

There was one more twist in the tale, as the Dons managed to create a late chance, which substitute Egan took full advantage of.

The forward struck low from just inside the penalty area, and found the back of the net to hand the Dons victory.

Silva’s next test comes on Tuesday afternoon as they face Czech side Viktoria Plzeň before a test against SD Eibar on Saturday, both games are in Austria.