Sat, 29 Sep 2012 19:05:00 – Watford manager Gianfranco Zola was full of praise for Hornets striker Troy Deeney, who helped the club to a 3-2 win at Huddersfield.
The 24-year-old was making his first start since being released from prison after serving 77 days of a 10-month sentence for affray imposed in June but he was welcomed back into the fold by Zola and rewarded his boss with a late penalty winner.
Deeney kept his cool to ensure Watford's first win in a month after a dramatic end to the game, to the delight of Zola.
"For me he was outstanding for what he has done. He did not have much fuel left in the tank towards the end but he never gave up," said the Italian.
Three goals in four minutes ended Huddersfield's six-match unbeaten run and denied the Terriers the chance to top the Championship table.
Huddersfield went ahead in the 25th minute when Watford keeper Manuel Almunia got a hand to Oliver Norwood's 30-yard free-kick but failed to keep it out but the lively Fernando Forestieri grabbed an equaliser when he buried a deflected shot into the bottom corner in the 68th minute.
Fitz Hall put the visitors in front with he bundled the ball home at the back post from Mark Yeates' cross with seven minutes left.
Seconds later Huddersfield were level when sub Alan Lee stooped to head home Lee Novak's centre.
The game ended in controversy as Danny Ward was adjudged to have tripped Forestieri in the box and Deeney made no mistake with the 87th minute penalty.
Zola was also impressed with the performance of Italian Under-21 striker Forestieri and insisted he did not dive for the penalty.
"Fernando is very quick and always gets there one second in front of the opposition and all you can do is take him down," said Zola.
"He is very good. You don't play in Serie A when you are 17 if you are no good.
"What he needs to be is more practical and effective. He had a great chance in the first half but didn't covert it. He is a player who can make a big difference."
Zola said the result would give his players confidence, adding: "I don't think it was our best performance but I will take it.
"On occasions we have played a lot better and not got the points. It was tough and we had the better chances but were 1-0 down.
"We didn't give up and no-one can say we didn't deserve to win."
Town boss Simon Grayson had no qualms with the penalty decision.
"I would have been disappointed not to have got the penalty if it had happened the other way," he said.
"Danny Ward put his foot in and the lad has gone over his thigh. I don't think it was a blatant penalty but I have no complaints."
Town gave an immediate debut to striker Jermaine Beckford who joined on loan from Leicester on Friday.
Grayson said: "He has not played a great deal of football but he showed glimpses of what he is capable of.
"If he had come into a team firing on all cylinders, like we were against Blackpool, he would have scored two or three goals.
"He has made some sacrifices and taken a slight financial hit to move because he wants to play for me again and prove a few people wrong."
Grayson admitted Town did not deserve to win the game, adding: "We were just a little lacklustre but that's only our second defeat of the season and the Championship is a learning curve for all of us.
"Expectations have increased and this is probably the first time we were favourites to win a game and that can get in people's heads."