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BBC Sport's Simon Brotherton
reports from Vicarage Road
 real 14k

Everton's goalscorer Steve Watson
"It was a stop and start game"
 real 14k

banner Saturday, 6 January, 2001, 17:02 GMT
Everton snatch Watford win
Tommy Mooney
Tommy Mooney celebrates scoring for Watford
Watford 1-2 Everton.

Everton staged a dramatic late rally to stun Watford and snatch an FA Cup third round victory in injury time at Vicarage Road.

The struggling Merseysiders - many experts' favourites to become a cup giant-killing victim - looked to be on the way out as they trailed in the final ten minutes.

But in a cup tie that saved all the best action, including two red cards, for the second half, they grabbed at a late lifeline and clinched a place in the fourth round.

Everton came on strong in the second half and we had no control over the game
  Watford manager Graham Taylor
Tommy Mooney gave Watford a first half lead, which they defended manfully until the closing stages as Everton piled on the pressure.

But Stephen Hughes scored a spectacular equaliser after Watford captain Robert Page was sent off.

And Everton - who were also reduced to ten-men after substitute Joe-Max Moore was sent off - then grabbed victory when defender Steve Watson headed home the winner in the dying seconds.

Everton were dealt a blow before kick off when striker Kevin Campbell failed to make the starting line-up.

Walter Smith
Water Smith - under pressure
Boss Smith had been hoping he would recover from illness to partner Duncan Ferguson in attack, but the giant Scot was up front alongside Danny Cadamarteri.

Watford's confidence had been restored after a shaky spell with back-to-back wins against Barnsley and Wimbledon.

And they were more than a match for their top flight opponents in an opening period, which was admittedly low on quality.

It may have been late, but we are happy because we had finally imposed ourselves
  Everton manager Walter Smith
Mooney was only inches away from making contact with Neil Cox's free-kick early on - but had better luck to give Watford the lead in the 21st minute.

He profited from some effective bustling by strike partner Gifton Noel-Williams to steer a finish past Everton goalkeeper Thomas Myhre via an upright.

Everton's responses were few and far between, with only tame efforts from Gary Naysmith and Stephen Hughes offering any hope.

And the frustrations of the struggling Merseysiders got the better of them, as Watson, Mark Pembridge and Hughes were all booked in quick succession late in the first half for fouls.

Everton's lack of penetration forced boss Smith into a half-time change, with American Moore replacing the lack-lustre Cadamarteri.

Tommy Mooney
Mooney goes into battle
Ferguson wasted Everton's best opportunity so far after 54 minutes.

Swede Niclas Alexandersson cut in from the right, and when the ball fell to Ferguson eight yards out, he somehow steered his finish wide.

Watford were finally under real pressure for the first time, and it almost resulted in a catastrophic defensive mix up.

Watford's former Everton goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain and defender Cox suffered a communication breakdown, and only a desperate save from the goalkeeper prevented his team-mate's header flying into his own net.

Moore became the fourth Everton player to be booked after 66 minutes when he tripped Cox after losing possession.

And Everton almost paid a heavy price as Myhre was forced to claw away Noel-Williams' header from the resulting free-kick.

Duncan Ferguson
Ferguson missed a golden chance
Everton were threatening to restore equality, and Chamberlain was forced to save at the second attempt from Moore.

Both managers made substitutions as time ran out, Israeli Idan Tal coming on for Mark Pembridge, with Watford replacing the tiring Noel-Williams with Heidar Helguson.

It led to drama after 81 minutes, with Everton equalising as Watford were reduced to ten men.

We've got quality to come back now, and I honestly believe we will really improve
  Everton's Steve Watson
Watford's Page was shown the red card by referee Rob Styles for his second bookable offence, a trip on Tal.

Hughes made Watford pay with a 20-yard drive that screamed into the top corner past Chamberlain.

But Everton were also down to ten men two minutes later, when substitute Moore foolishly kicked the ball away and was sent off.

It spurred the Merseysiders on, and Watson appeared in the Watford penalty area in injury time to seal Everton's victory with a diving header from Alexandersson.

Watford: Chamberlain, Cox, Kennedy, Robinson, Ward, Page, Vernazza, Nielsen, Mooney, Smith, Noel-Williams.
Subs: Steve Palmer, Hyde, Wooter, Helguson, Baardsen.

Everton: Myhre, Watson, Weir, Ball, Pembridge, Naysmith, Alexandersson, Hughes, Gravesen, Cadamarteri, Ferguson.
Subs: Unsworth, Simonsen, Gemmill, Moore, Tal.

Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville).

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