Brawl that marred Bournemouth win over Watford 'happens all the time in rugby'

Jack Wilshere sent off for Bournemouth
Bournemouth substitute Jack Wilshere was shown a second yellow card for his part in the melee

Bournemouth boss Jonathan Woodgate said the stoppage-time brawl which overshadowed his side’s win over high-flying Watford “happens all the time in rugby”.

Home midfielder Jack Wilshere was sent off for his part in the mass melee sparked by Joao Pedro’s late challenge which saw the Watford forward also shown a second yellow card.

Arnaut Danjuma squeezed home the only goal to keep the Cherries firmly in the promotion hunt, striking on the half-volley from a long free-kick and beating goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann at his near post from a narrow angle.

“It did not look great, but that’s football and it was two teams very passionate and two sets of players who wanted to win,” Woodgate said about the fracas.

“It happens all the time in rugby and does not get talked about, but when it happens in football, everyone talks about it.”

Watford head coach Xisco Munoz did not want to talk about the incident but described football as an “emotional game”.

Danjuma’s goal came minutes after a previously sedate match sprung to life – the Netherlands striker twice going close for Bournemouth and Tom Cleverley denied at the other end – while Ismaila Sarr went agonisingly close to prodding in a late leveller from Ken Sema’s header.

Victory is Bournemouth’s first since head coach Woodgate was appointed for the rest of the season and moved them back into the Championship play-off places, in fifth, before the 15:00 GMT games.

Watford stayed third after their second league defeat in 12, seven points behind leaders Norwich, after seeing their four-game winning run ended.

Their best opportunity came with the game goalless when Cleverley was put through by Sarr, but Asmir Begovic saved his low effort.

The first sign of animosity between the sides came just before Danjuma’s goal, as Watford’s Nathaniel Chalobah was booked after appearing to push opposing midfielder Jefferson Lerma in the face.

Replays showed Bournemouth’s Lerma made the most of the incident, with Chalobah’s yellow his 10th of the season – meaning he will miss the Hornets’ next two matches.

From that point there was a fiery undercurrent which spilled over when Pedro caught Lerma with a sliding challenge, sparking clashes which saw former Arsenal and England man Wilshere – only on as a 75th-minute substitute – earn his second yellow card in five minutes.

Play briefly resumed before the final whistle, and both clubs are likely to face sanctions from the Football Association.

Bournemouth head coach Jonathan Woodgate:

“We have to see that win as a bedrock to climb up the table and it showed this team can fight.

“I want a hard underbelly, not a soft one, and I want teams to know this is going to be a hard place to come and play.”

Watford boss Xisco Munoz:

“I want to only speak about positive things about my team. We tried to play in the last second.

“I am disappointed with the result but not the performance. My team was ambitious and played very hard.

“I said to the guys, ‘we need to keep going’, because we were in a very good moment with four wins in a row. This is not easy in the Championship.”



Formation 4-3-3

  • 1BegovicBooked at 90mins
  • 15A Smith
  • 18Carter-Vickers
  • 3S Cook
  • 5Kelly
  • 16L CookBooked at 47mins
  • 22PearsonSubstituted forBillingat 86′minutes
  • 8Lerma
  • 19StanislasSubstituted forWilshereat 75′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 9SolankeSubstituted forLongat 80′minutes
  • 10Danjuma Groeneveld


  • 6Mepham
  • 11Wilshere
  • 12Long
  • 20Riquelme
  • 21Rico
  • 23Travers
  • 26Kilkenny
  • 29Billing
  • 32Anthony


Formation 4-3-3

  • 26Bachmann
  • 21Femenía
  • 15Cathcart
  • 31Sierralta
  • 11MasinaBooked at 34minsSubstituted forLazaarat 76′minutes
  • 8Cleverley
  • 19HughesBooked at 49mins
  • 14ChalobahBooked at 60minsSubstituted forGoslingat 76′minutes
  • 23SarrBooked at 90mins
  • 10João PedroBooked at 90mins
  • 12SemaSubstituted forPericaat 84′minutes


  • 3Ngakia
  • 5Troost-Ekong
  • 6Wilmot
  • 7Zinckernagel
  • 16Gosling
  • 17Lazaar
  • 18Gray
  • 25Perica
  • 33Elliot

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