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Watford 3 Queens Park Rangers 1 (07/12/2009) 08/12/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.
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Five thunks from the evening the earth stopped turning.

1- There’s only one place to start. Time stands still. The rain falls upwards. Lloyd’s goal was just a marvellous, beautiful moment; like much of the Rookery, I had imagined Ellington turning around and celebrating. Identifying Lloydy’s frantic, helpless ecstasy elevated celebrations to a whole new level. How to do the event justice? Well we had a good go… the atmosphere had been flat as our bluntness, shorn of H and Lansbury, saw us struggle to make much of our superior possession. After the moment? Pure joy. Not (much) triumphalism, just a thoroughly happy, bouncing crowd, as if we’d all just shared some kind of epiphany. And the mood was shared on the pitch, as our game took on a joyous bounce. The only slight disappointment was that Messenger was driving, and had hence foregone the option of going to the bar before half time…

2- QPR look a state, particularly in front of goal… but this was still a gutsy, unlikely win. Any number of previous vintages of Watford team would have crumbled in the face of Patrick Agyemang’s goal (and it’s peculiarly solemn celebration); the Lloydy goal defined the match, perhaps we wouldn’t have won the game without such a momentous turn of events (our movement and composure went to pot for five or ten minutes before the equaliser). But whatever the circumstances we came from behind two days after defeat in Newcastle against a side with an extraordinarily star-studded bench. Big grins in Hertfordshire.

3- Liam Henderson. For the first time, we get it. Some great touches and contributions from the young striker who, as my brother observed, has shoulders that begin around his ears. His lack of pace is likely to limit how he can be employed, but there’s something there to work with OK.

4- Fitz Hall. So very nearly three red cards in his last four visits (which also saw the play-off scrap with Boothroyd). Damion Stewart could also have gone as Rangers lost their composure.

5- Some tremendous performances all over the pitch. Great to see Demerit’s decisiveness back in the side, even if he looks a strong candidate to depart in January. Lee Hodson is just wonderful. Don Cowie improves with every game. Lloydinho’s performance was magnificent even if one (ha ha) discounts the goal. And Tom Cleverley, in a central role that might have challenged him, looked tidy, quick, clever, tenacious. What a player this lad is going to be.

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1. Johnny Boy - 08/12/2009

Iwas there when England won the world cup( well on the tele anyway) and I was there when Lloydinho scored. What an occaision – what a goal. Sitting in the lower Rous got a superb rear view of the goal. Lloyd had been getting forward all game and as the cross came over, I recognised the flying figure and turned to the guy next to me to confirm by which stage the ‘John Harley’ fan club to my right were going ballistic. What an event and as you say Matt, really brought the game alive.
Just a mention for Davey Graham who once again worked his socks off though not in the goals at the moment.
Overall, a good team performance but I’ve got to miss Saturdays game, going to Leeds for the ballet – don’t ask – but at least I have the memory of ‘that’goal.

2. Paul Caygill - 08/12/2009

Doyley’s goal had even my Arsenal supporting brother in law cheering on as well!!!.. What a moment.

3. Wolery - 08/12/2009

Sod everything else… You get very few ‘I was there’ moments, but this was one.

The replay of That Goal (sooo glad I recorded the match) brought a lump to the throat. And try listening to the Three Counties commentary (http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=187075882005&oid=73795805232 for those on Facebook) without coming over all emotional – well done Jon Marks.

Lloyd = Legend.

PS Even if it hadn’t have been Lloyd, at 11 passes from back to front it would still be in the running for goal of the season.

4. Kris - 08/12/2009

I’ve tried to explain the situation to my wife, my mates, my colleagues and nobody gets the magnitude of last night.

Lloyd has always been a favourite of mine. For all his technical short-comings (and they are getting fewer and further apart) his work ethic and professionalism has always impressed me. But even more so his ability to regain a starting berth when having lost it. He never sulks or complains but just gets on with the job at hand believing in himself.

I still expected that when the goal eventually did come, it would be a scrappy messy goal where he’d be unaware of his part in it. How wrong was I?

Having passed to Harley and continued his run, he followed the ball – mindfully staying onside, and as the ball came to Cowie he got into position and threw himself like Superman at the volleyed cross. Talk about bullet headers. The build-up to the goal was fantastic. The execution was amazing… but reaction was divine.

Here in Denmark I rarely get to see the Horns play and for me to get to see Lloyd score that goal – absolutely priceless.

If you want to experience it again – here someone has taken the Sky video and the 3CR audio… it’s a beaut:
http://www.wfc.net/files/lloyd/

Goal of the year hands down.

5. Tim Turner - 08/12/2009

I can’t believe it – I miss a game through illness for the first time in years, and Lloyd goes and bloody scores. I nearly fell off the sofa in shock.

Watching on TV, though, I have to say we looked an impressive side, even without Heidar and Henri. Apart from Cleverley and Cowie’s attacking virtues, Lloydy had Routledge in his pocket throughout, and Hodson’s pace on the overlap was magnificent to watch. (Somehow you appreciate it more when you see it side-on, rather than when he’s running towards or away from you.) TV viewers also got to see the stud marks on little Lee’s chest after that challenge – brutal.

Oh, and the consensus on the telly was that Stewart’s assault on Harley was as solid a red-card challenge as you’ll ever see.

6. NickB - 08/12/2009

Enjoyed the goal even more after listening to an unpleasant Scots oik in the seat behind (on a borrowed ticket, presumably) slagging the team off throughout the first half in the most foul mouthed and vitriolic fashion. Obviously spoilt by the peerless quality of the SPL. Thanks Lloyd.

Cannot remember a goal ever changing the dynamic of a game so much. Like Matt, my first reaction was it had to be Ellington; the gradual spreading of the word through the Rookery was incredible to behold; a series of aftershocks following the earthquake.

A very gutsy and ultimately skilful all round performance, which, added to those in the previous three home games, makes you wonder quite what has happened to our away form.

A word for the ref too; was moved to comment on his excellence even before we got in front; yes, could very easily have sent off one if not two of theirs, but I thought his overall judgement of what really constitutes a foul was absolutely spot on and showed up the vast majority of his contemporaries for the guesswork merchants they sadly are.

7. Harefield Hornet - 08/12/2009

Well – If he was ever going to score he certainly picked the right moment – one nil down to the Super Poops and live on bloody sky to boot! When it had sunk in that he had finally done it people who sit near me in the Lower Rous who don’t usually say too much to anyone were throwing themselves around hugging each other – quite bizarre and extrordinary. As I’ve said before, for those of us who live accross the border in Middlesex this has long been the most important fixture of the season and for him to save his first goal for QPR elevates him to god-like status in my book.

Bring on Derby.

8. Dan - 08/12/2009

Not much more I can add about Doyley’s goal, other than to say it was probably for the best that the ball came at him so fast he didn’t have time to think about it! It has been coming, he has been getting forward this season. What a moment though.

I thought Cleverly was outstanding in central midfield yesterday, he completely ran the show with dogged support from Eustace. If it wasn’t for That Goal he probably would have been man-of-the-match. He really is going to be some player.

Cathcart has apparently received some stick for being out of position for the goal. But he had to cover for the absent Mariappa, who in turn had been forced to cover a hole because Lee Hodson was inexplicably hanging around at the halfway line. Mariappa rightly gave Hodson an earful after the goal, though that mistake aside he had another excellent game. And while the goal was not down to Cathcart, it was good to see Jay back in action.

Oh and the ref… was ok, possibly even good, although Matt is right that a couple of QPR players can count themselves lucky to have lasted the full 90 minutes. Had one of them scored an equaliser I may have formed a different view. However he was consistent and generally accurate, which is about as much as you can hope for.

9. Pete B - 08/12/2009

Agyemang’s lack of celebration… Buzsaky being locked out in a toilet. Losing 5-1 at home.It’s going pear shaped at Loftus Road. Schadenfreude.

10. Steve T - 08/12/2009

Wow

I have the feeling that the world tilted a little on its axis last night.

Coming away from the game I was buzzing at how good a performance that was. After watching the highlights last night, it was clear that we hadn’t played as well as in previous weeks and hadn’t had as much possession. We were however far more clinical.

One of the Sky stats in the second half had us down as having 40% of the possession (for the first part of the second half I think). However, at that same point, we’d had 6 attempts on goal and 5 of those were on target. QPR had had 2 attempts on goal. For me that captures the quality of our performance.

11. Doug - 08/12/2009

I’m surprised to find that Lloydy’s goal made me smile even more than Mooney’s at Anfield. As much as anything else because the year Mooney scored I got to every game bar two away games I missed because of a trip to the US; this year, this game, was only my second. I nearly didn’t go.

12. simmo - 08/12/2009

Matt – In reply to your five thunks:-

1. Could you please track back to my fifth question on the Scunthorpe game. By the way, I didn’t put a damn bet on it either!

2. QPR may be a poor excuse of a team at the moment but please give credit to Malky. He really has improved the team for the better and if we put together all the elements he introduced we will beat any team in this division.

3. I reserve judgement on Liam but I am absolutely certain that he is better than the person impersonating a footballer who he replaced. An Ellington goal would really be something to celebrate!

4. There were three or four incidents where QPR players could have been sent off. The ref sent off “one size” in the same game last year and sent him off in another game a season or so ago so I wonder if he was worried about getting a reputation for sending off the same player time and again.

5. Tom Cleverley – We have had some pretty good loanee’s in the past few years but I feel Tom is undoubtedly the best as he is such a versatile player who also scores. Thanks Sir Alex – when he returns and gets game time for Man Utd he will undoubtedly become a top player.

Matt – I disagree with your assumption that Jay will be a strong candidate to leave in January. He may be a valuable asset which we need to offload to pay the bills but in the run up to the World Cup would he rather be playing every week, like Lansbury prefers to do, or warming a bench and not getting paid for the privilege like Williamson.

I also sense you’ve changed your tune from last season regarding Jay. I think you suggested that he needed a senior partner to play alongside. I feel that when he came on last night he gave a much more solid performance than Cathcart did in the first half and while Marriappa is an improved player, Jay as always, was in total command of the defence.

13. Matt Rowson - 08/12/2009

Simmo

re (1) – insightful stuff. A missed opportunity. Similarly my brother’s airy plan about getting “i was there” t-shirts printed and carting them to every game before flogging for a song When It Happened.

re (2) – absolutely, every credit to Malky, didn’t mean to imply otherwise.

re (3) – yes.

re Jay… Demerit is out of contract at the end of the season, has indicated that he doesn’t want to discuss a new contract before then and will be strutting his stuff in the summer. He will get us a reasonable fee, I can’t see him not going. And if I changed my tune I didn’t mean to… Demerit is confident, strong and aggressive, all qualities that our defence has lacked somewhat to varying degrees, but he’s not a leader. I find it difficult to understand the suggestion that he hasn’t looked far more impressive when alongside a Mackay or a Williamson than when he was the senior partner.

Esp - 09/12/2009

“Watford – On This Day”
Urgent revised reprint?………Surely Matt!!

I wasn’t there on Monday but was happy to text x 3 BHaPPY subscribers who WERE at The Vic at regular (possibly TOO regular….) intervals during the match from my warm SkyTV vantage point!

Still, I WAS at Anfield for Mooney’s goal so one out of two ain’t so bad :-)

Quote of the press conferences was Malky’s “One versus one Lloyd is the best full back in this league…..” plus he mentioned that he guides the youngsters to watch and learn from LD – so he’s not just a legend but a bloody inspiration.

I can’t wait for the much mooted t-shirts and attending his much deserved testimonial.

I dare say SGT, Rodgers, Lewington and Boothroyd were chuffed to bits too.

14. SteveG - 08/12/2009

I wasn’t there.

But even with the slightly surreal experience of watching in an almost empty pub on a screen with the sound turned down and seventies disco music in the background, it was a special moment.

I had to make do with texting my son – leaping up and down and hugging a total stranger isn’t very British. Great performance overall, and this team continues to surprise and delight.

Spot on Kris – Lloyd remains a favourite because of the attitude and professionalism. Of course he has technical limitations, but he’s now managed to win several managers round. And he always has been a decent defender.

15. GraemeB - 08/12/2009

Jay’s appearance brought a feeling of security to the defence that has often been lacking in his absence. Apart from the onslaught of the last five minutes, we never looked like conceding in the second half. In my opinion he should start against Derby, regardless of whether Cathcart is fit. But the politics of leaving a Man U loanee on the bench may dictate otherwise, especially at a time when Ferguson has eight defenders injured and Cathcart’s loan extension is not yet assured.

Will Jay leave in January? I’m not sure his World Cup prospects are the main issue here. He turned 30 last week and surely his top priority will be securing the best contract he can. If that means warming the bench at Hull or Wolves he’ll probably go for it — and certainly we would take the money rather than see him go for nothing in the summer. That said, I’m not convinced there’ll be a flood of clubs prepared to pay him £15k+ per week. He might gamble on seeing out his contract with the promise of better terms from someone if there is no transfer fee to be paid. Either way, I can’t see him here next season.

16. DM - 08/12/2009

Not sure in which world people think that ref had a good game – check out Stewart’s challenge on Jonarley, not to mention finally punishing one-size after his 4th bookable offence…

That apart, oh my goodness what a game. Four in a row. Can anyone recall enjoying a similar run of such excellent performances? We’ll take the away defeats if we can always react in such a fantastic manner when we get back to the Vic. Excellent stuff again from the whole side, but especially Eustace (still nothing from the poster that slated him earlier in the season…) Cleverley, Graham (that boy just does not stop working for this team…) and top marks to our Lloyd – not just the goal but his defending was right on the money and Don Cowie, who just gets better and better with every game.

Oh, and Rowson – sorry about your shoulder mate….

17. MartinG - 08/12/2009

Singing in the bar area of the Upper Rous at half-time – that’s what a Doyley goal does to us sober citizens.
He’d plenty of time to see it if you watch the replay. Brilliant header. He wasn’t far off a second with that shot in the second half either. Agree with the comments about the ref – a mile better than anyone else this season. Yet another great home game.

18. Sequel - 09/12/2009

I’m waiting for my “I Wasn’t There!” shirt to arrive. For the first time in 10 years, my son and I both missed a game. There were a few startled faces at the Albert Hall as the text came through to me announcing Lloyd’s goal, as we practically jumped off the the upper tier.

19. Matt Rowson - 09/12/2009

DM – yes, I’d forgotten about that. The ecstasy of the moment was slightly tempered by DM bundling into us and inadvertently pressing my arm in a direction that my frozen shoulder didn’t want it to go. My screams of pain were perhaps indistinguishable from the general celebration…

20. Nigel - 09/12/2009

Watched it live ‘down under’ and saw another confident performance from the boys. Maybe not as polished as the Wednesday game but we looked good, perhaps the only slight downer was Ellington who had a very quiet game. Maybe he just needs a run in the side and starting each game but at this point you wonder who is going to want to buy him in January (although how about QPR? they seem to be making a habit of buying players who don’t perform…)

You’re right in that Lloyd’s goal kick started the team, i loved watching the delight on the faces of the other players as they realised who it was that had scored. Forget Mastercard, that really was priceless.

From the tv I thought the ref had a great game, didn’t really notice him throughout the game, yes the 2 footed challange should have been a red card but even then he did the right thing and spoke to the linesman first, so maybe blame the lino for not saying it deserved a red.

The only sad note was hearing Lloyd talk afterwards about dedicating that goal to his mum who died 5 months ago. A shame she wasn’t still around to witness it

21. Ed - 09/12/2009

This was a truly memorable game, fantastic that Lloyd finally got his goal. Has to be Goal of the Season.

NickB, what about Hiedar’s first only months ago? Though you could say it was his appearance on the touch line that turned that game around more than the goal.

DM, except it’s not really 4 in a row. There were also 3 away defeats, 2 of which were heavy and deserved. Though the lack of reference here to these defeats is probably sign that we’re happy with overall progress. We should be safe by the end of January. And after then if we’re still flirting with the play-off places, maybe it’ll be time to think about how we’d like to end the season.

NickB - 09/12/2009

Ed

You’re absolutely right. In fact, it sounded uncomfortably familiar as I wrote it but |I dismissed the thought, owing to the all consuming euphoria of the morning after.

Since reading your comment, I returned to mine following the Leicester game, to find this:-

‘ it’s unusual for one player, by a combination of willpower, guts and self-belief to so change the direction of a game. There was an inevitability about it that was quite magical ‘

So let me change my earlier effort to ‘Cannot remember a goal ever changing the dynamic of a game so much since September’!

22. DM - 09/12/2009

OK, I should have added ‘at home’ are my 4 in a row comment…

23. rous man - 09/12/2009

Lloyd Doyley is my new hero !! great bloke. Cowie I agree gets better with every game, Cleverley is different class. the referee was the best I have seen all season at the Vic, he had a bad view of Stewart’s leg break tackle but did ask the lino what his view was (if he did see it he must have vision problem) he bottled out.it was a red card. The problem we may have is the transfer window opens very soon & we all know what that may mean.

24. SwindonDave - 09/12/2009

To add to MartinG’s comment the Upper Rous was buzzing at half time unlike any other game I can remember (even the big cup games!) and hopefully this is testament to Lloyd’s popularity and folk hero status.
Certainly Ed Heidar’s reintroduction bears some comparison in the way the crowd and team were galvanised.
Is there anyone else out there we could bring back to help us, what if Tommy or Nigel came on as subs when we needed a lift? Who else could have this effect?

25. Hornetboy84 - 09/12/2009

I too – for a second – thought it was DUKE who scored …. and in a way it was a shame it wasn’t….

a) live Goal on Sky – of that quality – it mighthave earned him a £2m+ bid from Pompey

b) as I last posted… if Doyley scores – it ruins the fun….

My view now is that we build a similar amount of anticipation to see if we can say we were there when Ellington truly put in a first class performance (it was shocking to see him play that way when he had a chance to shine and get the move he wants)

In the meantime – Im contacting the dubious goals panel … i’m sure it took a deflection off a balloon or something….

26. The Great Big O - 10/12/2009

The depth of feeling in the reaction to Lloyd’s goal has been wonderful – on the pitch, in the stands, on here. There’s been real emotion of a kind you’d only get with a player like Lloyd at a club like ours. It’s gratifying that, despite 17 years of Sky-created hype, football at this level can still give us moments like this. I couldn’t be at the game, but I’ve filled up watching every single replay, every interview, every comment on here. The way the 3CR commentator’s voice catches when he’s screaming Doyley’s name is beautiful.

Ed, above, suggests we might be safe by January. Well, we won’t be if we lose ten points for going into administration. We won’t be if the club goes out of existence. Sadly, we don’t need only to think about saving our Championship status as a club: we need to think about saving our access, as human beings, to the kind of wonderful, fulfilling, deeply emotional experiences we’ve had this week.

What’s the Supporters’ Trust up to these days?

27. Weymouth 'Orn - 10/12/2009

Ed (21)
Granted – some terrific performances at home recently.
But you write about being safe by the end of January.
Am I the only pessimist on this trail?
Going into administration will cost us ten points — and some more “unpredictable” results elsewhere (remember, anyone can beat anyone in this League) will mean the Table will not look as pretty as it does now.
Or do you know something I don’t?
We could end the year level with Reading.

28. jimbojim1903 - 12/12/2009

NickB,

I am the unpleasant scot you talk of in your post, and i wasn’t on a borrowed ticket, i follow aberdeen home and away (who would defeat watford may i add) but i try and get down to as many watford games as possible. The first half performance in my opinion was poor, hence my feelings being made, not in a particularly foul mouthed manor, in a manor which i feel is acceptable at the football. It’s not church your going to, it’s a competetive football match which i had paid hundreds of pounds to get to flying down sunday morning and back tuesday evening.

I am now away to watch Aberdeen destroy hamilton, hopefully at the same time, watford are doing the same to derby.

Stand Free

NickB - 13/12/2009

Must have been a different bloke – the one behind me aimed racist abuse at Ellington, which I’m sure you’ll agree is not acceptable at the football, or anywhere else for that matter


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