Report | Swansea City U21s 4 Watford U21s 4
Kyrell Wilson’s hat-trick helped Swansea City Under-21s retain their unbeaten home record, but they were unable to get the better of Watford despite twice leading a thrilling clash at Landore.
Wilson had given the hosts an ideal start in this Professional Development League encounter with two fine finishes, and the Swans looked well in control when Liam Smith made it 3-0 with 36 minutes on the clock.
However, Watford got one back quickly through Jack Grieves, and goals in quick succession early in the second half from Edward Gyamfi and James Collins had the Hornets level.
Wilson looked to have given the Swans the points when he completed his treble in the closing stages, but Gyamfi got his second of the game for Watford as it ended all-square.
Anthony Wright’s side had shown four changes from the Premier League Cup win over Hull on Friday. Liam Walsh got valuable minutes under his belt as he returns from injury, while Ben Lloyd, Kai Ludvigsen and Wilson also came into the team.
The hosts started smartly, Walsh firing over after Tjoe-A-On and Smith had worked space for Joe Thomas to deliver into the middle.
Walsh’s effort came moments after he had needed treatment after taking a blow to the face, and he was involved again in a move that saw Filip Lissah make a mazy run to the end of the Watford box, before being unable to turn the ball home after exchanging passes with Kristian Fletcher.
At the other end Michael Adu-Poku threatened with a driving run down the right that took him into the area, but his cross along the face of the six-yard box did not find another yellow and black shirt in support.
Instead the Swans swept up the other end to take a 13th-minute lead through Wilson.
It started with an excellent exchange between Harry Jones, Walsh and Ben Lloyd, which sent Smith into space.
His pass found Wilson, who drove infield and twisted and turned before firing an effort into the bottom corner of the net.
Swansea went close to a second, Harry Jones unable to turn in Lloyd’s deep delivery from a corner, before an outstanding tackle from Walsh teed up Wilson to curl a strike agonisingly wide from the edge of the box.
The Swans then spurned a great chance to double their lead as Walsh played Smith into space, the Scottish midfielder worked space for a shot, but opted to pass instead of test the keeper and the chance was lost.
But the second soon came with an improvised finish from Wilson. Walsh’s cross had been met by Jones, and when the ball bobbled up in the area the Swansea forward calmly adjusted and headed the ball back across goal and inside the far post.
Watford responded by nearly halving their deficit 10 minutes before the interval, but Adu-Poku prodded wide from close range after his initial run had allowed Alistair Gould space to cross.
Again, the miss proved costly as Swansea again countered smartly, with Smith calmly sending an unerring shot low into the far corner of the net.
Chances kept coming, Wilson denied a hat-trick by a last-gasp block after the hosts had again picked their way through the Watford rearguard.
However, Watford responded when the hosts gave the ball away and Grieves was able to get in on goal and beat keeper Ben Hughes.
The Swans retained a two-goal advantage at the break but that was quickly trimmed to one when Gyamfi guided the ball in at the second attempt, after Hughes had stood up well to deny his initial effort.
And the Hornets were soon level as Collins capitalised on some loose play in the Swansea defence to run through on goal and beat Hughes with fewer than eight minutes of the second half played.
Thomas nearly converted from a Lloyd corner a few moments later as the Swans came close to quickly retaking the lead.
It was proving a frantic contest, and Kai Ludvigsen made a key intervention to stop a rapid Watford counter, while Grieves hooked an effort over the bar for the visitors from a far-post knockdown.
At the other end, Lloyd had a goalbound header nodded away before Fletcher headed inches wide from Maliq Cadogan’s cross as the game entered its final 10 minutes.
Wilson was then again denied his hat-trick after he had slalomed his way past a host of defenders, only to be denied by Gabriel Ortelli in the Watford goal.
Swansea – having changed shape to a 3-5-2 were now making all the running – and they retook the lead as Wilson completed a deserved treble as he volleyed a Cadogan cross into the net.
But the Swans failed to deal with a cross just two minutes later and Gyamfi made no mistake with an angled strike into the far corner.
The Hornets midfielder then nearly snatched victory for the visitors in the final seconds, but was denied by a terrific save from Hughes.
Swansea City U21s: Ben Hughes, Harry Jones, Nathan Tjoe-A-On (Zane Myers 62), Liam Walsh (Dan Watts 46), Filip Lissah (captain) (Maliq Cadogan 46), Kai Ludvigsen, Joe Thomas, Liam Smith, Kristian Fletcher (Jack Stafford 78), Ben Lloyd, Kyrell Wilson.
Unused Substitutes: Ewan Griffiths.
Watford U21s: Gabriel Ortelli, Alistair Gould, Charlie Stallard (Albert Eames 75), Aidan Coyne, Scott Holding, George Abbott (captain), Michael Adu-Poku, Edward Gyamfi (Josh Mullins 90), James Collins, Jack Grieves (Prince Sikiru 82), Jake Watkiss (Luigi Gaspar 75).
Unused Substitutes: Roraigh Browne, Josh Mullins.