Epic 97th minute: Almunia saves Leicester’s penalty, Watford counter & score winner

What is it about referee Michael Oliver and epic last minute finishes.

Several weeks back, English football was falling over itself as Brentford missed a last-gasp penalty for automatic promotion, only for opponents Doncaster to capitalise with a goal on the counter which saw Rovers reach the Championship. (Watch the footage here.)

Referee Michael Oliver was in charge of that promotion unforgettable League One match, and on Sunday afternoon the official was on hand again to see Watford repeat the outrageous feat of winning a game in the final seconds in the Championship playoffs semi-final.

The action started in the 97th minute when ref Olivier award the Foxes a soft penalty.

Leicester forward Anthony Knockaert managed to dupe the official into awarding a spot-kick after a gentle nudge in the box, but justice shone on the Hornets as Manuel Almunia proceeded to make a terrific double save to keeper Watford in the tie.

Then came the stuff that dreams are made of.

Immediately after the penalty was saved, Watford launched a counter-attack which was incredible finished off by Troy Deeney for one of the most improbably finishes to a game of football this season.

Watford went nuts. Gianfranco Zola slipped on the turf. The fans invaded the pitch.

Watch the footage & the best GIFs (from the excellent @feintzebra) from Watford’s epic 98th minute playoff win versus Leicester below.