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Watford 0 Preston North End 0 (23/02/2008) 24/02/2008

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Preston Thunks

1- Some days it just doesn’t bounce for you.  Had Doris scored his early chance, Preston’s impotence in attack suggests we’d have won comfortably – not until the last twenty minutes did a victory seem anything but inevitable. 

2- This is the Jobi McAnuff we thought we’d bought in the summer.  Funny how defenders knowing exactly what he’s going to try to do every time he gets the ball in a wide position – cut between two markers – doesn’t help them prevent him doing it.

3- The Duke didn’t have the best service, but this was a return to the lumpy displays of earlier in the season.   Collins John needs to work, as an option in such situations if nothing else.

4- JJ looking like a midfielder at last – rather than “just” someone with a happy knack of attacking the box at the right time.  Good stuff from the teenager.

5- Who was the mysterious man in a suit at half time, ambling awkwardly around like someone at the wrong wedding, or (ig’s suggestion) an art teacher occasionally peering over the shoulder of a bored pupil…?



1. Adam F - 24/02/2008

Those were quite chunky Matt!

2. JohnF - 24/02/2008

Disappointing in the way we allowed PNE to make us kick the ball in the air at almost every opportunity. Mariappa is going to be a very good player but he needs to concentrate when passing the ball. Ellington started well but didn’t build on that and showed no composure in front of goal, a worrying enigma. Why didn’t Kabba get an opportunity with the front two misfiring badly in the second half? Why did we wait until 7 minutes from official time before bringing on Ainsworth? Was the man in the suit Chris Eagles? Why does DeMerit dive in when he doesn’t need to? Why was the referee so bad (again)? Where can we sit next season when the East Stand goes? Why was that wind so blasted cold? So many questions with so few answers…BUT several good performances and signs of a solid midfield.

3. Jamie - 24/02/2008

Funny old game eh. I really thought that up until around 70 mins we’d get the goal that our effort and industry deserved. But it just didn’t go our way. That’s why I take little satisfaction i our attempt to mix up the flow of the game with a substitution or two. Aisnworth came on to late to get into the game and despite being a consistent goalscorer showing The Lump upfront is not really the best answer. It smacks of desperation to a degree and sends out a message to those on the bench that you’re not needed. I would have liked to have seen Kabba given at least 20 for the leaden footed Duke yesterday.

Still, a point, in a ultra tight division and we are still there or there abouts.

4. Pete B - 24/02/2008

Points 2,3 and 4. McAnuff played well. Smith was Ok. Service from the wings was OK. Ellington didn’t get service. One of the problems for me is the service through the middle. Eustace and JJ don’t do it for me as a pairing when the game is there to be won. I’d rather have the more creative Williamson (or Williams or Francis maybe when they’re fit). I agree that JJ looks like a midfielder, but he some way to go in my eyes. I do like him though!

5. Esp - 24/02/2008

Agree with Pete B JJ is far from a creative midfielder and that is still a position that needs filling (plus, on yesterday’s display a 20+ per season striker)
It’s all very well saying the strikers didn’t get the service (Smith had an off game and as Ainsworth has a pretty good scoring record) but decent strikers and midfielders create their own chances; there was an opportunity in the 2nd half for the Duke to shoot but he refused to use his right foot….very frustrating as was Aidy’s refusal to play Kabba) plus I hope in Dubai our Irish teenager gets some shooting practice as his efforts were woeful.
It was a good job we gave out 1,500 tickets to the scouts and guides as that performance wouldn’t have got many out of the garden centres.
Stoke and Bristol City gained at our expense but there’s still a lot to play for. I’m looking forward to Collins John’s fitness providing some real competition for places which might get an increase in productivity from Ellington and Doris

6. Mark - 24/02/2008

An annoying game which we should have won without really playing that well.

Ellington was useless and Smith seemed unfit but Jobi did have one fo his best games.

Defence hardly had anything to do.

7. tim wells - 24/02/2008

1 0-0 always a disappointment although not a bad game.dropping 2 points and others gaining a setback although a lot to play for yet.2preston made it tough for us, showing how tight this division is, can anyone honestly say they looked like a team in danger of going down,they battled so hard for the point. 3 Is it my imagination or does mckenna always do well against us his cracking shot ,could have stolen it for them we should sign him up. 4 darius missed a sitter all strikers miss , but we payed for missing that chance. 5 ellington, worked hard but for me not effective enough, iknow hes a decent striker and his record speaks for itself at this level, but unless he starts to show more consistency and can hit the target more ican see collins john getting in patnering doris and ellington back on the bench. 6 macanuff lovely runs and close control at times, sometimes frozen out but created enough to show how good he can be. 7 shittu steady at the back and immense going forward could have scored a couple.8 bromby no none sense 1 mistake in the first half almost let brown in for a clear run but otherwise, simple effective steady just whats needed at the back. 9 we peppered them on another day could have won by 3 but also ive seen us lose maches like this by the odd goal at least we didnt tho need to freshen up attack and midfield

8. Nick - 25/02/2008

We didn’t win but enjoyable compared to many home games this season – at least we looked likely to win right the way up to the final whistle.

Would just like to give Neil Mellor a mention, from future Liverpool starlet to PNE sub in the blink of an eye. His breathtaking lack of pace when DeMerit slipped up on the halfway line then got up, jogged back and casually dispossed him was most amusing. Watch Mellor’s waistline carefully as I think we may be seeing the next John Hartson taking shape!

9. Nick B - 25/02/2008

Agree that we are seriously short of invention at home, the front two don’t really gel, often going for the same ball. Should like to have seen Ainsworth given half an hour alongside Henderson, as Ellington looked really out of sorts; even his free kicks were woeful.

Thought we’d score until the Shittu header, which felt like a defining moment. Nearly missed the McKenna post strike, morbidly fascinated watching the stewards doing a Pierre Issa on some poor chap in the wheelchair area.

10. Peter Lee - 25/02/2008

Interesting that most contributors seem to sit in the Rookery. From my vantage point in the Vic Road end I witnessed the most blatant shirt pull on Doris half wat through the second half. The ref was no more than 2 metres away but ignored it. Compare that to the lightest of tugs in the Leicester vs Cov game which the ref blew for!

Without wishing to sound like an old fart, I wish refs would get tough on something which is ttally contrary to the laws of the game!

11. Ian Lay - 25/02/2008

Sorry guys but the reason we didn’t win is all my fault. I took in my first home game for about 3 years on Saturday. I knew the omens were not good when we were kicking towards the Rookery in the first half. The extra noise that would have been generated in the second half if we had been kicking towards the Rookery might just have got us the goal we deserved from the game

12. stephen hoffman - 25/02/2008

Mcanuff was absolutely class , Ellington had a priskin like performance and should have been subbed for kabba 10 mins into second half , the reason smith had an off game was because he was double marked . the simple truth is we created lots but we paid for missing guilt edge chances . I still think eustace is a cracking buy , going back to williamson wouldn’t work -he’s not sure if he’s a defensive or attacking midfielder ,and when francis has played he goes missing to much .

13. Stuart - 25/02/2008

I miss Gifton Noel-Williams

14. Greg - 25/02/2008

Can anyone remember watching John play for fulham, because from what i have heard i think aidy has a job on his hands with him.

15. Colin Wiggins - 26/02/2008

I remember him playing against us in the Cup, when we lost in a replay at Craven Cottage on 2005. He stuck in my mind because of the oddity of having his name the wrong way round. I was reminded of it when Lloyd Sam turned out for Charlton the other week. Can anyone explain the significance of back-to-front names…a childhood typing error or something more sinister? And can anyone think of other examples?

16. stephen hoffman - 26/02/2008

Stern John . J llloyd Samuel-although im not sure that counts .

17. Jim Nash - 26/02/2008

Is Collins a relation of Elton?
Has anyone had any ideas about the mystery man in point 5?

18. East Stand Man - 26/02/2008

Yeah I saw that game at Craven Cottage. John looked overweight then and I believe he missed a sitter with about 15 minutes to go. I don’t feel positive about Collins being the answer up front when he is “match fit” whenever the hell that might be but I hope to be proved wrong.

The confusing thing about Collins John was that Fulham had a player called John Collins playing for them a couple of years before that and I kinda thought they were always referring to the same person, silly old me. Back to front names would also include Stern John ( a name to conjure with) and in a half wierd way the aforementioned GNW.

Moving even further away from the Preston string does watching Chelski get beat, I man real beat, bring a warm feeling to your heart. The sight of John Terry trudging up to get his LOSERS medal made my Sunday.

Incidentally Preston demonstrated that there are no poor teams in the Championship. A good game we shoulda won but credit PNE for their fighting spirit

19. Nick B - 26/02/2008

How about Elton John?

My English teacher at Hemel was called John Elton, poor devil..

20. Nick B - 26/02/2008

Does Devon Malcolm count?

Sound of barrel scraping..

21. Adam F - 26/02/2008

I was told never to try someone with two first name, for example, Ian Grant.

22. DL - 26/02/2008

It wasn’t pleasant watching Spuds win after the disgraceful way they treated Jol.

23. Matt Rowson - 26/02/2008

Devon Malcolm doesn’t count because he was a cricketer. Wrong blog entirely…

Collins John. Has undoubtedly got ability – he’s had a Dutch squad call-up, been Fulham’s leading scorer in the top flight and is only 22. The weight thing, the “what’s he doing in the Championship” thing, the “he wasn’t much kop at Leicester” thing all suggest that Betty really needs to get inside his head. If he gets him going (as he did Marlon) we have a hell of a player. He wouldn’t be with us if there weren’t, um, concerns – Fulham wouldn’t have let him go. And if he doesn’t work out… he goes back to Fulham at the end of the season. No lose situation for us really.

24. Nick B - 26/02/2008

Suppose we only lose if he never actually gets fit and we stump up his (presumably fat) wages until the end of the season

I’m not bitter about your Devon M adjudication, honest…

25. East Stand Man - 26/02/2008

Devon isn’t a surname it’s a County which he never played for anyway though he probably took a holiday there.

What about Rodney Jack, played fror Crewe

26. Fran - 26/02/2008

Those of you who were not afflicted with two first names should really not add to the suffering of those of us that were.

Nick B, John Elton was my form tutor. A real sweetheart and musical like his ‘namesake’. But he never worked out that my surname wasn’t my christian name.

27. Apperley 'Orn - 27/02/2008

My main concern with Collins John is that we are presumably paying his wages at the moment but, despite coming to us in January, haven’t seen a damn thing of him yet. Not entirely a “no loss” situation then, but certainly cheaper than spending out on transfer fees up front for duff goods.

Will he ever be ready to play this season? He wants to get his skates on cos there ain’t a great deal of it left…

28. Adam F - 27/02/2008

My main concern with Collins John is the fact that his name is back-to-front. Maybe that’s just me tho. I always thought that Lloyd Doyley’s name backwards could be nearly read the same. (ye)lyoD dyolL. See what I mean?

29. Peter Lee - 27/02/2008

Collins John et al should consider themselves lucky! None of them have had to put up with, as I have had for years, with people hering my name and then comparing me to a 70’s middle of the road singing duo!

30. NRC - 27/02/2008

Back to Collins John, presumably the whole delay is part of the Aidy getting inside his head treatment. Let’s hope it works as I continue to find Ellington unconvincing, the whole ‘hasn’t been given a run in the team’ argument weilded in his defence earlier in the season is beginning to sound a little hollow – he knows CJ (even Kabba!) is waiting in the wings, you’d think he’d grab the opportunity.

31. Jim Nash - 27/02/2008

Adam F – I always think of Lloyd Doyley’s names as almost being an anagram of each other.

Any other footballers out there with First and Surnames as anagrams (or almost)?

My wife has a friend who married a Colin and apparently refers to his manhood as “Colin’s John Thomas”. Or maybe I just made that up.

32. Colin Wiggins - 27/02/2008

Lloyd Doyley…

I’ve given up with Ray Lugg.

33. Chris - 28/02/2008

Renee and Renato?

34. Pete B - 28/02/2008

Or a town in the North East?

35. Matt Rowson - 29/02/2008

NRC – to be fair to Ellington, he’s had one poor game (Preston). Up until then, whilst he hasn’t been scoring as many as we’d like, he’s generally played well.

36. NRC - 29/02/2008

Matt – time will tell, this is his chance ….

37. GraemeB - 29/02/2008


38. Adam F - 01/03/2008

Mart Poom anyone?

39. Esp - 03/03/2008

I think you’re on your own there Matt with your assessment of Ellington’s contribution (or lack on imho)

I don’t want to jump on the popular “WFC scapegoat” bandwagon but he’s had plenty of poor games and it is only our recent form which has given us 8 unbeaten games that has kept his place in the starting line up; he is always the most likely player to be subbed too.

Saturday at Burnley being confirmation of my point (and it was only because we were a goal up at the time that it took so long for Aidy to put one of his 2 attacking subs on)

Kabba has done enough recently (and Collins John when fully fit) to displace him and for Darius to get a new striking partner; Stewart’s goals and Danny’s are great but a few from our striker’s wouldn’t go amiss – although Darius’ header was a joy at Burnley

We have NOT had a decent pairing since King and Hendo and if Marlon hadn’t have gone there is no way Ellington would get a starting place imho

40. East Stand Man - 03/03/2008

Did anyone go to Burnley?

I listened to it on 3CR (you can just pick it up in South London) and it sounded real tasty. The Watford commentators had to start whispering at one point due to the aggravation in their Stand and you could hear some Burnley fans just hollering away right next to them.It sounded an exciting encounter both on and off the pitch and, acccording to the commentators, was reminiscent of the good old days of the seventies when pitch invasions and running battles were the norm.

Pity about the result but it looks as Darius is getiing quite a reputation!

41. plbaxter - 05/03/2008

ESM- It was one of the most exciting games I have been to for a long time with a fair result at the end. Both sides tried passing ithe ball and there was an electric atmosphere helped by the Burnley fans view of the ref. The Burnley players had a go at the ref too, in a manner reminiscent of Roy Keane at his worst.

Watford had a good deal of possession- especially in the first half- but Burnley had the better chances including Akinbiyi’s incredible open goal miss. The 3 Burnley fans who ran over the pitch must have been transported over in a time machine from the 70’s. They where met with bewilderment rather than aggro from the Watford fans- but it was different from the police who smacked one of the guys heads into the barrier in front of me.

The funniest thing for me was how easily Andy Cole was wound-up by some guys in front of me who were shouting “Andy, push the bus” every time he came near. Apparently, this refers to the time the Newcastle bus broke down and he refused Keegan’s request to help push it. In any event,, it really got to him, to the extent that he was distracted at the corner where Darius scored. At half time he walked over to the guys to give them some abuse and a policeman came over to request that they “please stop winding up Mr Cole”!

42. Tadcaster Hornet - 05/03/2008

Agreed, it was a fantastic match at Burnley. It really didn’t matter (too much) that we let in that late goal because you couldn’t argue that we really deserved all three points: the Akinbiyi miss was just one of some greta chances they had early on.

Some thunks: what if it had been Rob Styles refereeing? At times the Chumpionship is just so much more fun that the First Division, when games are fought out between two generally well matched sides. And OK maybe Doris was late with his follow-through on Jensen in the Burnley goal (too far away to tell with any objectivity), but what about Jensen’s attampt with a haymaker at Doris in retaliation: far worse than Henderson’s clumsiness in my view…

43. Esp - 05/03/2008

Just to add to plj’s report on the Burnley match Andy Cole was also so incensed by the boisterous away fans that after one of their goals (the 2nd I think) he threw the ball at us!!

The lax stewarding (almost as lax as JJ O’Toole’s shooting) also meant that 3 Burnley morons ran on to the pitch to have a go at the away fans and ran around the goal within inches of Richard Lee. It was pretty intimidating actually

Akinbiyi’s misses were worth the price of admission too, they were hilarious and at least one of them MUST end up on one of those comedy blooper dvd’s that they flog at Xmas.

As it seems obvious that nobody from BHaPPY Towers went to Burnley if you want an excellent first hand report on the match I can suggest no better place than the Watford Mailing List where Frances Lynn has written a great piece. Warning, it’s very long, but well worth reading

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