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Watford 1 Norwich City 1 (04/03/2008) 05/03/2008

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from Norwich

1-  Whoever gets promoted out fo this division will have done so by default.  Jeeeez.

2- The first twenty minutes was terrific, but we’ve nobody but ourselves to blame if we don’t take advantage of such spells.  It’s no coincidence that we’ve not tonked anyone for a while.

3- Jordan… really doesn’t help himself, does he? 

4- Collins John looks a lot of fun.  That pace will be useful away from home…

5- An astonishing refereeing performance.  Not that we’ve anyone else but ourselves to blame but… really.  The shove on Smith seemed to take place in slow motion.  How did he miss it?


1. Adam - 05/03/2008

Unfortunately being a student up north I’ve missed most games this season but at the moment the worrying thing seems to be that we’re drawing a lot of games we should win. Even, some may say, deserved to win. When we were losing it was bad because we weren’t playing well. We deserved, from what I can tell, to lose those games. However now, when we’re playing well, we’re not winning. Surely these are worrying worrying times.

Having said all of that, if we get 6 points from Bristol and Stoke, all will be looking rosy. I have the fickle eyes of a football fan, we shall see…

2. Tapps - 05/03/2008

Three thunks

1) Leigh Bromby long throw – you can have too much of a good thing.

2) Jordan Stewart free kick – when it’s that bad one must consider if one is really in the right profession.

3) I arrived early and Nathan Ellington looked really good in the small-a-side game the players have in preperation for the real thing….a bit like the greyhound that comes out of the traps first I suppose.

3. Mark - 06/03/2008

Decent 1st half…poor 2nd when we let Norwich come back into it.

Again Ellington fails to impress and Stewart showed why Mat Salder was brought in…

Good job we have Big Danny!

Anyone think we need to not just rely on Bromby’s long throws as they ended up being quite ineffective once Norwich worked out how to defend them.

4. Nick B - 06/03/2008

This was the chance to make a real statement with a 4 or 5 goal thumping taking us back to the top and we blew it big style.

Norwich were pitiful but you got a sense in the closing minutes of the first half that they were sneaking back in; we needed to change it at half time, don’t like to criticise Aidy but sometimes you need to change things when you’re ahead; by the time he did the malaise had spread too far.

The moron count among the fans is increasing; bad enough booing Stewart before he comes on (and I’m no defender of him generally), but now it’s spread to Ellington, who needs a lengthy rest, and, most worryingly, O’Toole.

JJ seems to be playing well in the first half of games, only to become peripheral and mistake prone in the latter stages. Finding a consistent partner for Eustace seems to me to be the key to the season’s outcome and I think the loan system is the only way it’s going to happen.

5. NRC - 06/03/2008

Matt – point 1, absolutely!! Talk about making heavy weather out of it, also point 4, agree again, he looks up for it. Don’t want to go on about Ellington again (hope I’m not a moaner), the bloke’s trying his best, but ….

Whoever goes up from this Division (possibly WBA aside, still my favourites) it ain’t going to be pretty next year.

6. Matt Rowson - 06/03/2008

Nick, I’m not sure I agree about Ellington needing a rest. He’s clearly not delivering at the moment at the level we need him to, but he’s not going to play himself out of that if he’s not in the side. As Boothroyd has commented today, he’s thinking about it all a bit too much but there’s no doubting his ability. I don’t see that a rest would help – less so still him being barracked. We can’t afford to give up on our record signing just yet.

Agree about JJ and centre mid though. Thought he was terrific in the first half, but saw it as you did…he faded in the second.

7. Nick B - 06/03/2008

Fair comment Matt, I was using ‘rest’ as a euphemism I suppose, but agree it won’t improve him. He and Darius don’t seem a great match, so think a start from CJ might galvanise us, but at whose expense might be a moot point; Hendo has many plus points, but through no fault of his own may be contributing to our over reliance on the long ball.

8. Johnny Boy ( formly JohnM, but there are too many of us) - 06/03/2008

Re JJ – Play JJ first half, when we are tending to score, bring on Bangura for the second half , problem solved.
More seriously, and picking up on point 5. If the current team goes up, and we are all hoping they will, how will we survive? I don’t see an Ashley or a Marlon amongst the current crop. Love Richard Lee but he is no Ben Foster. What we need is a radical change to the rules – Deferred Promotion. This is for teams who feel they are not ready for the Premiership and want another year to prepare but are still guaranteed promotion, especially if they have got another year of parachute payments and are in the process of refurbishing their ground so have restricted capacity.
For my next idea – one game to be played abroad for loadsa money!

9. Esp - 06/03/2008

But we can’t have a weak link up front – easpecially as at Burnley for instance we had 2 strikers on the bench both itching for a chance to finish Burnley off. We could have had more than 2 goals on Saturday and as has ben pointed out by Nick we should have scored more on Tuesday by changing things EARLIER

OK, I risk the charge of “every fan’s a better manager than Aidy in their own head” but I am getting a bit frustrated by him waiting until way beyond the 65th minute (or once the oppo change one of theirs) before he makes a substitution.

Yes it’s a risk but a calculated one and it comes with experience which Aidy NOW has.

I am very anxious about the run in; Adam states maybe with tongus in cheek that it will be alright once we get 6 points off of Bristol City and Stoke.

But Plymouth Hull and WBA (all away) are tough too; in fact 7 of our last 10 matches are against teams in the top half 😦

I think automatic promotion is gone but if we play like Tuesday I am even worried about finishing in the play-offs….

And I am normaly known asa happy-clapper

I think (with respect) you’re wrong about Nathan Matt, just beacuse he is our top signing it does not give him a divine right to a start and 3 goals is woeful; put him on the bench and see what a Kabba or John partnership with Doris will produce.

Currently there is little or no communication at the front and that is a major concern for this fan

10. Greg - 06/03/2008

Ellingtons passing was brilliant but the rest of his game wasnt up to scratch and Hendo looked poor and slow. Eustace though was brilliant.

11. Matt Rowson - 07/03/2008

It’s not a divine right to a start Paul; I agree that he hasn’t delivered as much as we’d hoped but the question is how best to turn him around. Now John is fit, Ellington is for the first time an incumbent first choice striker with serious pressure for his position. I’d rather give that state of affairs a try than discard him at the earliest opportunity.

And how can automatic promotion have “gone”? We’re in second place, despite our form being patchy at best. Like everyone else up there, if we hit a run we’ll be away. Admittedly this is a reflection on the quality of the top of the division rather than on our own abilities, but I wouldn’t write off automatic just yet.

12. NRC - 07/03/2008

ESP – agree about the lack of chemistry up front, how many times were Doris/Duke clearly unaware of where the other was, it’s sooo frustrating! Less pessimistic about promotion though (although concerned about next year if we did achieve it, but hey, what’s the point otherwise?), the cold truth is it’s two from four for the automatics so we have a 50/50 chance as every team’s as okay as the rest. Next few days should tell.

All that said, I’m enjoying this year more ….

13. Wrighty - 07/03/2008

If we signed a left footed midfielder we could stick MacAnuff on the right, the best place for a right footed player, and stick Smith in the middle alongside Eustace. Smith doesn’t have the pace or tricks of MacAnuff but would be ideally suited to the centre as he can tackle and is probably the best passer of the ball we have. This would give us another attacking option other than JM beating players, corners and long throws, and may just help Ellington who likes ball to feet.
Just a thought

14. Apperley 'Orn - 07/03/2008

Second in the division and automatic promotion has gone Esp? Surely not!

It is still very much in our own hands. If we get decent results against those around us (which we are perfectly capable of doing) then it is very much ours for the taking.

As for the Duke, he needs to stay in. His touch at times is sublime and it will just need another one to hit the back of the net and I feel he will be away and running.

All IMHO of course :o)

15. JohnF - 08/03/2008

Didn’t make it as my flight back from Ireland was cancelled (again dammit) courtesy of Lazyjet. I heard some of the commentary on the second half in the car heading home and there is no doubt that the evidence from the past few games is that we have a misfiring forward line. My one frustration is that changes seem to be made late and perhaps too late top really have the impact needed. However, we are easily bullied into scrappy play and the ball always in the air or just being helped on rather than trying to build moves. Also the movement off the ball – running for each other – doesn’t seem to have real purpose. We will see what happens this week.

16. Sequel - 08/03/2008

I left the ground gnashing my teeth in frustration, having seen us let another 2 points slip through our grasp. Cheered up a bit when I heard Aidy tell Simon Oxley that he was going home to “punch the pillow”. I thought I’d give it a try myself, but I still woke up spitting feathers (fnah, fnah!)

17. Hornet boy since Mike keens last game! - 08/03/2008

Just a thought …

Given the situation in the FA cup after today … maybe this league is Sh*t hot and the reason we can’t run away with it is that its better than the Premiership. WE SHOULD BE ON FOR A champions league place next year!

…. Wonder if we will get a full house for Barnsley on a cold April 8th Tuesday night? effectively the best team in England on current form .. if not europe!

18. GraemeB - 09/03/2008

It all comes down to one thing really — we go through long spells when we just cannot keep possession. When Norwich started to get back into the game all that was really required was for the midfield to string some passes together. Instead they were hitting 50-50 balls instead of keeping it on the deck, making players available and holding it up. The Bromby thing is a typical example of this. You cannot whip the ball in from a throw-in and a high looping ball is just as likely to fall to the opposition. So although it can be a useful weapon if used sparingly, it is not the way to keep possession.
With the players we have we will always look dangerous going forward, but that masks the underlying problem running through the side. To win consistently at home you have to be able to control the game, and we cannot do that with the way we play. Winning away is different — that is about absorbing pressure and then hitting the opposition on the break. This allows you to win games in which the opposition has more possession, and we’re much better at this because it suits our style of play.
Regarding Ellington, I feel he will get goals for us if given time, though he’s probably worth only half what we paid for him. I do feel we’ve been missing a forward who can create something out of nothing — like Marlon King. Let’s hope Collins is the one.

19. Esp - 09/03/2008

I take on board all of the criticisms levelled at me that writing off automatic promotion is silly (especially after the FA Cup results of this weekend)

I am looking forward to a great match on Tuesday although I tend to diagree with Wrighty’s:

“If we signed a left footed midfielder we could stick MacAnuff on the right, the best place for a right footed player, and stick Smith in the middle alongside Eustace. Smith doesn’t have the pace or tricks of MacAnuff but would be ideally suited to the centre as he can tackle and is probably the best passer of the ball we have..

I see the reasoning for Smith to go in the centre but I would hate to lose one of Eustace or O’Toole and of course Bangura deserves a run (at least in the squad) – the problem is that Ainsworth, McAnuff and Smith all deserve a place on the wings (all 3 are potentially better than Bouazza but NOT Young) and none of them should displace our excellent central midfielders imho

Kabba, Williams and a fit Francis can also play in those positions of course so Aidy has an enviable conundrum in the centre of midfield

20. Apperley 'Orn - 10/03/2008

Both Williams and Francis are, by virtue of their respective injuries, out of the picture right now so not part of Aidy’s current selection “headache”. Did you forget about Williamson, Esp?

As for Kabba, I’m not quite sure what he is, but I’d suggest he is no midfielder – certainly not a central one anyway.

21. Nick B - 10/03/2008

Have to disagree – I think Aidy has an unenviable conundrum, 1 excellent player and lots of ‘bit parts’, some with potential, some injured but none quite good enough or available enough to take us forward as fast as we’d like.

22. steevo - 10/03/2008

Will be interesting to see if O’Toole keeps his place tomorrow or if Aidy goes with the more defensive midfield of Bangura/Eustace seen in big away matches such as Ipswich etc.

Does anyone know of any good places to park near Ashton Gate?

23. markymark - 10/03/2008

Esp : “Excellent central midfielders” Who are they then -you got me scratching my head.Apart from Eustace the others aren’t really good enough though both JJ and Al have their good points eg: in JJs case he times his runs in the box well and Al can hold in front of the back four.
The reason we have not got more points this season is because our midfield has been overrun too many times!

24. Toddman - 11/03/2008

If you want to get away from all the current worries – why not go check out this lot on youtube. Much from before my time or only just in the memory, other clips I had only heard about. The match vs Kaiserslauten look like it was great… Enjoy


25. Simon in Oz - 12/03/2008

Dear “Hornet Boy since Mike Keen’s last game”,

WOW! What a blog name!

I love it because it remains my favourite WFC game of all time. We won 2:0 with two brutal Keith Mercer goals after Mayes and Geidmeintis had been sent off; the second dismissal only minutes into the second half.

Yet we prevailed. 9 men v 11 men.

There were only 5,000 of us there, but Oliver Phillips said we made the noise of 30,000; the faithful still effervescent, aided by the freak win over Doncaster a couple of weeks before (5:1) when WFC played like Brazil 1970. Honest.

Anyway, back to the present, which I think is great, despite the moaners I seem to see infest most WFC blogs (save this one). Let’s hope for 3 points rather than the standard 1 this weekend.

PS Just because the great(s) ig and matt don’t have so much time any more, it doesn’t mean we WFC tragics cannot share old memories and get info on this site eg. the discussion about the estimable Roger Joslyn recently. Bhappy can be (almost) as good as Bsad.

So, to start you off. Where are they now?
Keith Eddy (missed crucial pen – like Doris last night – at close contenders Swindon in ’69 – despite this we went up)
Andy Rankin
Keith Mercer (see above)
Billy Jennings

Any ideas?

Bratty - 01/10/2009

Keith Mercer is now living in Blackpool, where his career ended and is a taxi driver.


see above link…


26. East Stand Man - 12/03/2008

Simon in Oz

Memories, Memories.
I believe the great Billy “The Kid” Jennings is now a dreaded football agent. I remember his goal at home to Southend(?) Boxing Day late sixties/early seventies. After 89 minutes of hum drum 0-0 footie there he is at the Back Post but outside the six yard box waiting for a cross ball. He soars like a salmon, hovers like a bee and heads the ball with such precision over the goalkeeper in a tantilising arc where it nestles in the other side of the goal. The ball seemed frozen in the air for what seems ages but it was a goal the second it left his forehead. Made my Christmas

Don’t know what happened to the others – Keith Eddy was in the States for many years.

Let me bring to the table:
Stuart Scullion
Tom Whalley
Barry Endean

and Duncan “Chopper” Welbourne

27. Nick B - 12/03/2008

That’s funny, I thought of the Swindon game in 69 when Hendo missed the pen last night; it was another late season promotion crunch game away at the leaders place, kept waiting for Barry Endean to pop up with the winner (he played lone striker that night) Christ, watching on teletext isn’t for the fainthearted, 5Live couldn’t seem to tear themselves away from the Eurobore.

Good call about the Huddersfield game with 9 men, I remember running from the top of the Vic Rd end down to the old tea hut (sort of where the Lower Rous starts) when the second goal went in. Oh for terraces…

Someone else mentioned Kaiserslautern – must say I found that strangely ungripping, maybe because we scored twice in the first few mins.

Top 5 games ever

Huddersfield as above 2-0
Palace away play off 3-0
Man U away League Cup 2-1
Birmingham away Play Off 0-1/ pens
Oxford away F A Cup 1-1 (the one where the wall collapsed and we equalised in last minute)

28. Hornetboy84 - 23/03/2008

Simon in Oz – Changed my pen name back to my usual blog name …. and becasue I have just ordered from NIKE shop some baeball boots designed in WFC colours by my good self and I had to put my HornetBoy84 name on them . (work do treat!)

Yes – I was taken by Dad to see the game as a young 10 year old and for years I was convinced it was 2-2 !! (my story for years was that we were 2-0 down had 2 sent off then came back to draw … then I bought the History of Watford and realised my first game was even better than I remembered!!

I think I mixed my early memories up with a later game against Shrewsbury. (Easter vs Xmas etc?) I stood on the terrace of the old East stand.

My next game was a 6-0 win against Doncaster – Under GT the next season. I banged my knee on the NE terrace barrier jumping for joy at the 5th! Kind of got hooked from that point and eventually was old enough (13) to be allowe to go on my own with mates. I remained a Liverpool fan who followed Watford (season ticket etc) right up until THAT game at the end of our 1st Divvy 1 (old money) season — when I realised I wanted the mighty Horns to win – so form then on I’m a Horn who follows Liverpool!

Top 10/11 “emotional” games watched live …

Wolves away (cup) 3-0
Birmingham away (cup) 3-1
Arsenal away 3-1
Spurs away 1-0 (Les bloody Taylor) and my mate ejected for giving the finger to Clemence
Southampton (cup) 7-1
Forest (cup) 4-1
Kaiserslauten 3-0
Sunderland 8-0
Combo consectutive Spurs away 5-1 and Man U home 5-1
Bolton 2-0 (play off final)

Best games “missed”

Brimingham 0-1 away (watched on hols in Cyprus! agony!)
Derby 5-1 home last game of season (stupidly went to watch Wycombe to see if they could get into league 4)
Derby (again) home 6-0 on a wet Tuesday night when my mate and I agreed to “give it a miss”

Worst games attended ( small selection)

Grimsby home 0-3 (petchey’s last?)
Palace home 0-3 (on a “Good” Friday!)
Sheff U 0-3 (away) Jamie Morallee’s debut !! — the first game of the season and I knew it was all over for the season by half time
Nearly all games under Perryman.

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