30 Dec Swansea secure dramatic late win over Watford in Carlos Carvalhal’s first match
Carlos Carvalhal’s first game in charge of Swansea ended in a dramatic 2-1 win at Watford.
The Premier League’s bottom side were trailing to Peruvian winger Andre Carrillo’s goal and staring at another damaging defeat with four minutes remaining.
But Jordan Ayew sparked the revival and substitute Luciano Narsingh completed a thrilling comeback to secure only a second win in 13 matches for the Swans.
Carvalhal was a surprise choice to replace Paul Clement as Swans manager this week having only lost his job at Championship Sheffield Wednesday four days earlier.
Yet his unconventional personal promotion could last longer than the six months most Swans fans envisaged if his new side show the spirit they demonstrated at Vicarage Road.
Carvalhal made his mark with his first team selection by recalling his much-maligned Portuguese compatriot Renato Sanches for his first start since November.
And the new boss must have thought he had got off to a dream start when, after just five minutes, Ayew robbed Stefano Okaka on the halfway line. The striker strode forward and took aim from 25 yards only to see his shot crash back off the crossbar.
Unfortunately for Carvalhal, that was as good as it got in a first half dominated by the hosts.
Tom Cleverley was inches wide with a curling effort before Lukasz Fabianski saved Richarlison’s drive.
It did not take Watford long to grab the lead after Okaka’s pass inside Kyle Naughton freed Richarlison down the left.
Fabianski blocked the Brazilian’s angled drive at his near post, but the ball looped up for on-loan Benfica winger Carrillo to head into an unguarded net.
Watford could have had more before the break but Fabianski held a Richarlison header and Abdoulaye Doucoure’s shot flew across goal and wide.
When Swansea did get a chance to put pressure on the Watford goal Sanches summed up his miserable spell at the club so far by overhitting a promising free-kick straight into the crowd.
Watford thought they had doubled their lead eight minutes into the second half but Molla Wague’s header was disallowed for a shove on Tammy Abraham.
The hosts should have put the game to bed when Richarlison clipped the ball to Andre Gray in front of goal but the striker placed his shot too close to Fabianski.
They were made to pay less than a minute later when Narsingh’s cross was headed down by fellow sub Oliver McBurnie and Ayew tucked the ball home.
And the drama had not finished there. With a minute remaining Heurelho Gomes failed to hold a low drive from another substitute, Lloyd Dyer. The ball fell to the feet of Narsingh who slotted it inside the post to spark bedlam on the visiting touchline and raise Swansea hopes of escaping the drop.