English Premiership

Noble makes Watford pay penalty

2016-04-21 06:51
Mark Noble (Getty)

London - Captain Mark Noble scored two penalties as West Ham United defeated FA Cup semi-finalists Watford 3-1 on Wednesday to keep pace in the Premier League's scramble for European places.

Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes saved two penalties in his side's 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, but Noble beat him twice from 12 yards at the Boleyn Ground as West Ham set a new club top-flight record of 15 home games without defeat.

Andy Carroll had kick-started proceedings with his sixth goal in five league games. The result kept Slaven Bilic's side in sixth place, which stands to yield a Europa League berth at the season's end.

Watford, whose manager Quique Sanchez Flores made seven changes ahead of Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace, replied through defender Sebastian Prodl's slick 64th-minute finish.

But Watford substitute Troy Deeney saw a stoppage-time penalty saved by West Ham goalkeeper Adrian and Nordin Amrabat was then sent off for a second yellow card.

Carroll returned to West Ham's starting XI after coming on to score a penalty in Sunday's 2-2 draw at Leicester City and he made a rapid impact, kneeing home Dimitri Payet's cross to open the scoring in the 11th minute.

The hosts doubled their lead shortly before half-time. Jose Holebas was adjudged to have fouled Cheikhou Kouyate and Noble coolly swept his spot-kick past Gomes.

Bilic's side could have gone in at half-time with an even more comfortable lead, but Manuel Lanzini side-footed wide in stoppage time.

They did not have to wait long to extend their advantage in the second half, however, courtesy of a minute of madness from Watford's Almen Abdi.

The Swiss midfielder squandered a glorious chance from Jose Manuel Jurado's cross and in his haste to atone he raced down the other end and fouled Michail Antonio, affording Noble the opportunity to beat Gomes from the spot for a second time.

Sanchez Flores turned to substitutes Ikechi Anya and Steven Berghuis, and the latter was quick to make his presence felt as he teed up Prodl to reduce the arrears with a fine half-volley.

Prodl won a stoppage-time penalty, but Adrian repelled Deeney's spot-kick and Amrabat's dismissal compounded the visitors' misery.

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