Joshua King’s hat-trick helped Watford to a stunning first win under Claudio Ranieri as Everton collapsed in a pulsating Premier League game at Goodison Park.
Tom Davies put the hosts ahead early on but Watford equalised before the break through King from close range.
Former Hornets striker Richarlison put Everton ahead again but Juraj Kucka’s header drew Watford level.
King, who didn’t score for Everton during his spell there in the first half of 2021, then struck twice inside six minutes before Emmanuel Dennis put the seal on an incredible comeback.
While Watford had never won at Goodison in any competition before this match, Ranieri has happier memories of trips to Everton – this was his fifth consecutive win at the ground.
It is a second successive home defeat for Everton’s former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez and some boos greeted the Spaniard’s decision to replace Anthony Gordon with Richarlison in the second half.
He seemed vindicated when the Brazilian struck with a fine diving header just three minutes after coming on, but Benitez then saw his side’s lead evaporate in a disastrous final 10 minutes that leaves his side in eighth place.
Watford, having started life under Ranieri with an emphatic defeat against Liverpool, climb the table to 14th – suddenly well clear of the relegation zone.
Hornets sting tentative Toffees
When Davies slid in to convert Demarai Gray’s low cross from close range after three minutes it looked like being another difficult day against Merseyside opposition for Ranieri following their 5-0 thrashing at Vicarage Road a week earlier.
But while Everton failed to build on that start and were tentative, Watford took the attack to the home side in defiance of having the lowest number of shots in the Premier League – 76 – prior to this match.
King’s first goal was initially ruled out for offside by referee Graham Scott but after looking at the pitchside monitor he overturned his decision because Gray had just played King onside.
Ranieri responded to Richarlison’s goal by immediately throwing on Dennis and Joao Pedro.
His move soon worked, as King had the time and space to steady himself after receiving Dennis’ cross for his second and then kept his head again inside the box to claim his hat-trick.
Dennis has enjoyed a good start to his Premier League career, despite Watford’s struggles, and the Nigerian claimed his third goal of the season as large sections of the home support headed for the exits.
- 12DigneBooked at 17mins
- 6AllanBooked at 54mins
- 24GordonSubstituted forRicharlisonat 60′minutesBooked at 72mins
- 11GraySubstituted forIwobiat 77′minutes
- 33RondónBooked at 90mins
- 2NgakiaSubstituted forNkoulouat 76′minutes
- 5Troost-EkongBooked at 44mins
- 23SarrSubstituted forDennisat 64′minutesBooked at 70mins
- 18TufanSubstituted forJoão Pedroat 64′minutes
- 29Hernández Suárez
- 7KingBooked at 81mins
- 10João Pedro
- Graham Scott
Match ends, Everton 2, Watford 5.
Second Half ends, Everton 2, Watford 5.
Foul by Emmanuel Dennis (Watford).
Ben Godfrey (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Salomón Rondón (Everton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Juraj Kucka (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Salomón Rondón (Everton).
Goal! Everton 2, Watford 5. Emmanuel Dennis (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by João Pedro.
Ben Foster (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tom Davies (Everton).
Corner, Everton. Conceded by Adam Masina.
Foul by Juraj Kucka (Watford).
Tom Davies (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Goal! Everton 2, Watford 4. Joshua King (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Emmanuel Dennis.
Attempt blocked. João Pedro (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Emmanuel Dennis.
Attempt missed. Cucho Hernández (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Emmanuel Dennis.
Attempt missed. Lucas Digne (Everton) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Richarlison with a cross.
Attempt missed. Juraj Kucka (Watford) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Cucho Hernández with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Jordan Pickford.
Attempt saved. Emmanuel Dennis (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
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