In a game of few chances, debutant Nordin Amrabat had previously come close for the Hornets, but his superb volley was tipped away by Dorus De Vries in the Forest goal. With the game appearing to be heading for a replay, it was left to Ighalo to snatch the win in the 88th minute and send the Golden Boys into the Fifth Round for the first time since 2009.
Watford’s top scorer Odion Ighalo came off the bench to fire the Premier League side into the FA Cup fifth round at the expense of Nottingham Forest.
The hosts had looked set to extend their unbeaten run to 14 games in all competitions in a contest where two much-changed sides mustered little at the City Ground.
Amrabat, anonymous in the first half, nearly made an impact 10 minutes into the second. The Algerian’s volley, hit with the outside of his right foot, was curving towards the top corner when De Vries pulled off an outstanding save.
We were pretty comfortable after the first fifteen minutes or so, in which the home side pressed voraciously high up the pitch and our centre-backs dealt with pretty much everything with a hearty clout that used to be How You Do It Proper but in this era of casually bringing balls down and sliding them sideways to your man in space feels rather anxious. We certainly enjoyed more of the possession, even if we didn’t do an awful lot with it against a Forest side who looked precisely like a team who’d discovered that being solid got them quite far and had no appetite for anything more ambitious, like a novice ice skater shuffling around the perimeter of the rink for half an hour without ever risking letting go of the rail. Yes, me too.