CHERRIES recovered from two goals down to share a madcap 3-3 draw with Watford at Vitality Stadium – a game which saw four goals scored in seven first-half minutes.

A Troy Deeney brace put Watford in the driving seat but Nathan Ake and Callum Wilson kicked off the goal avalanche.

Ken Sema quickly restored the Hornets’ lead before Ryan Fraser levelled matters once more.

Cherries boss Eddie Howe made three changes to the side which had lost at Manchester United, which included the return from injury of Dan Gosling for his first start since the end of November.

Jefferson Lerma and Fraser were also restored to the starting line-up, while Ake was declared fit to play having been forced off at Old Trafford.

Watford manager Javi Gracia made five changes with Deeney, Sema, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Jose Holebas and Kiko Femenia brought in.

Kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes after fire crews had been called for what proved a false alarm in the East Stand.

Cherries created the first chance from a flowing counter three minutes in, David Brooks curling onto the roof of the net.

But Watford took the lead in the 14th minute. Sema fed Doucoure on the right and he floated in a teasing cross which skipper Deeney powered home with his head.

Fraser fired into Ben Foster’s arms after converted wing-back Junior Stanislas’s cross had been redirected by Wilson and Cherries were made to pay once again.

Gosling surrendered possession and Gerard Deulofeu charged forward, with the luckless Steve Cook’s sliding tackle diverting the ball to Deeney, who slotted past Asmir Begovic.

Doucoure was fortunate to only receive a caution for an industrial challenge on Fraser before four goals in seven minutes ensued.

Fraser’s free-kick was headed back across by Cook and after Gosling’s header had been superbly clawed out by Foster, Ake nodded home the rebound.

Another Fraser free-kick created the next, the Scot’s in-swinging delivery flicked brilliantly over Foster by the head of Wilson.

But Watford were in front again almost immediately. Foster’s long clearance was won by Deeney and Sema collected before half-volleying past Begovic at the near post.

The home supporters had no time to catch their breath, Stanislas’s low cross being dummied by Wilson and King, allowing Fraser to stroke calmly inside the left upright.

And Cherries could have been ahead at the break but King nodded just wide from Stanislas’s cross.

Stanislas forced Begovic into a frantic clearance early in the second period and Doucoure was hauled off by Gracia having avoided a second yellow card for bringing down Brooks.

Gosling was cautioned for a robust challenge on Tom Cleverley – his momentum seeing him wipe out the substitute after winning the ball.

The game heated up further when the frustrated Capoue lashed out with his arm at Gosling but somehow escaped a second booking.

Cherries came close to a fourth just after the hour. A wonderful delivery from Fraser from the right was headed goalwards by Wilson but Foster palmed over.

The keeper then saved smartly from King before stopping Gosling’s weak effort, while King was denied from a tight angle.

Cleverley threw himself theatrically to the ground in the box in the closing moments but referee David Coote waved play on.


Cherries: Begovic, S Cook, Ake, Daniels, Stanislas, Lerma, Gosling, Fraser (Mousset, 82), Brooks, Wilson (Ibe, 81), King.

Unused subs: Mings, Rico, Surman, Defoe, Boruc (g/k).

Booked: Gosling.

Watford: Foster, Femenia, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas, Doucoure (Cleverley, 56), Capoue, Sema (Hughes, 71), Pereyra, Deulofeu (Success, 90), Deeney.

Unused subs: Britos, Masina, Quina, Gomes (g/k).

Booked: Doucoure, Deeney, Capoue, Holebas.

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).

Attendance: 10,261.