Premier League
WatfordWatford2SunderlandSunderland2
By Patrick JenningsBBC Sport
Watford v Sunderland
Sunderland, who twice led at Vicarage Road but were twice pegged back, withstood late Watford pressure

Quique Sanchez Flores' final game as Watford manager was an entertaining draw with Sunderland at Vicarage Road.

Having secured their Premier League safety on Wednesday, Sunderland made nine changes and led when Jack Rodwell turned in Jeremain Lens' low cross.

Sebastian Prodl's header levelled for Watford just after the break before Lens drove in three minutes later.

Troy Deeney's penalty equalised again but the away side, who had two goals disallowed, held on for a point.

Relive Watford v Sunderland

Reaction to today's games

Flores' farewell

It was decided Flores would be leaving following talks with Watford's owners this week and he was given a warm send-off as he waved to fans after the final whistle.

Quique Sanchez Flores
Flores said he and Watford's owners "don't have the same point of view about the season" when announcing his departure

The Spaniard has taken the club to 13th and Premier League safety since his appointment at the end of last season's promotion-winning campaign, not to mention a Wembley appearance in the FA Cup semi-finals.

But in a sign they are setting their sights on achieving far more, the Pozzo family are now looking for their seventh full-time manager since taking over in June 2012.

The Hornets could certainly have taken more from Sunday's game. Deeney converted from the spot after a foul by John O'Shea on Jose Jurado and momentum began to build once they drew level a second time.

Odion Ighalo was the prime culprit in missing a brilliant chance from close range with two minutes to play but in truth a Watford victory, despite their late surge, would have been harsh on Sunderland.

Sunderland show their depth

With a place in next season's Premier League secured at the expense of local rivals Newcastle, the Black Cats' travelling fans were in fine voice all afternoon.

Manager Sam Allardyce was seemingly in a relaxed mood too, handing senior debuts to three academy graduates in Rees Greenwood, Thomas Robson and George Honeyman, who came on in the second half.

The nine changes in Sunderland's side made for an unconvincing first half hour but as an overall performance this will provide Allardyce with plenty of food for thought in the off-season.

Sunderland's second goal in graphic form
Sunderland's second goal was an incisive breakaway following Adlene Guedioura's corner

The fringe players and youngsters on show should perhaps have seen their lead doubled just before the break, when Duncan Watmore's low finish was ruled out for offside despite replays showing he was level.

But a point apiece was a fair result as Sunderland ensured they ended the campaign with one defeat in their final 11 games.

What they said

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores: "My job is absolutely complete. The only target we had is to keep the team in the division and the way we did this was amazing.

'Sensitive' Flores sad to leave Watford

"We didn't suffer, we enjoyed it. We didn't suffer against the big teams. Always I feel we are in the right way. For me, 45 points is a lot for a team just promoted.

"The first year is the most difficult year because to build the squad during pre-season was difficult. Watford now is established in a good position so I think the normal thing for Watford next year is trying to improve the performance in the Premier League."

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce: "If we had needed three points and only got one, we would be in serious trouble with the officials not giving us the onside goals. Thankfully those major decisions which we have no control over did not affect our status.

Sunderland making massive progress - Allardyce

"The confidence will go into next season. All the players can come back with a spring in their step. We averaged two points per game over the last six games, that is top six stuff in the league.

"To think we had 12 points in six games, and only finished fourth from bottom, is a pretty miraculous total. Like next season, let's get 12 points in the first six games, not the last."

Man of the match - Jeremain Lens (Sunderland)

JEremain Lens
With top scorer Jermain Defoe rested, Lens was Sunderland's most potent threat in attack, scoring one and setting up another at Vicarage Road

The stats you need to know

  • Only one team (West Ham) have stopped Sunderland from scoring in their last 14 Premier League away games
  • Sunderland retook the lead three minutes and five seconds after Watford's first equaliser
  • Jeremain Lens scored and assisted in the same Premier League game for the first time
  • Troy Deeney has scored six penalties this season in the Premier League, more than any other player
  • Watford had 21 shots in this game, more than in any other Premier League game this season

Line-ups

Watford

  • 1Gomes
  • 15CathcartSubstituted forParedesat 45'minutes
  • 5Prödl
  • 3Britos
  • 16Aké
  • 22AbdiSubstituted forSuárezat 66'minutes
  • 17GuédiouraBooked at 80mins
  • 23Watson
  • 7JuradoSubstituted forN Amrabatat 80'minutes
  • 24Ighalo
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 2Nyom
  • 4Suárez
  • 11N Amrabat
  • 14Paredes
  • 18Pantilimon
  • 20Berghuis
  • 21Anya

Sunderland

  • 13Pickford
  • 24YedlinSubstituted forJonesat 76'minutes
  • 23Koné
  • 16O'Shea
  • 34Robson
  • 7LarssonSubstituted forM'Vilaat 62'minutes
  • 41Watmore
  • 17Lens
  • 8Rodwell
  • 37GreenwoodSubstituted forHoneymanat 52'minutes
  • 10N'Doye

Substitutes

  • 2Jones
  • 5Brown
  • 18Defoe
  • 21M'Vila
  • 22Khazri
  • 25Mannone
  • 39Honeyman
Referee:
Kevin Friend
Attendance:
21,012

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamSunderland
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home20
Away6
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home7
Away4
Fouls
Home11
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 2, Sunderland 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 2, Sunderland 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Adlène Guédioura (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ben Watson.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Lamine Koné.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

  6. Post update

    Jeremain Lens (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Juan Carlos Paredes (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Lamine Koné.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Odion Ighalo (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mario Suárez.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Duncan Watmore (Sunderland) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by George Honeyman.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Mario Suárez (Watford).

  12. Post update

    Jack Rodwell (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Nathan Aké (Watford).

  14. Post update

    Dame N'Doye (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Mario Suárez (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

  16. Post update

    Ben Watson (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Billy Jones (Sunderland).

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Nordin Amrabat replaces Jurado.

  19. Booking

    Adlène Guédioura (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Adlène Guédioura (Watford).

Top Stories

Explore the BBC