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Watford 1 Bristol Rovers 0 (12/08/2008) 12/08/2008

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five Thunks from the League Cup First Round tie…

1- Much the same template as Saturday – well on top, but little cutting edge despite the efforts of man-of-the-match Hoskins who earned his goal.

2- Special mention too to Billy Gibson, who strutted around as if he was the nuts but had no small impact on the left of midfield. Hit a wicked corner that would have been dangerous had we had anyone above six foot to attack it, and made the winning goal. Gibson has a bit of a snarl too, although it would help if he refined his tackling style beyond throwing a ferocious flurry of limbs in the general direction of his opponent.

3- Encouraging signs also from debutant Jenkins, who faded but remained tidy, and Young, of whom unrealistic things are evidently already expected but who looked intelligent and lively. Less so Robinson, who is willing but raw as Blundell Park in February, and Lionel Ainsworth whose deft touch to blind alley ratio was pretty abysmal.

4- What stupid bloody weather.

5- Steve Phillips, Rovers’ goalkeeper, is 30 years old. You’d think he’d have found some coping strategies for dealing with a bit of barracking by now, beyond engaging in a petulant shouting match and running off to tell the referee like a playground tell-tale.


1. DP - 13/08/2008

God how we need one of Hoskins, Robinson or Priskin to come good this season, and Will certainly delivered last night – admittedly it was against limited opposition, but I haven’t enjoyed a home display by a Watford player as much for ages. Let’s just hope he can keep the momentum going.

2. Jim N - 13/08/2008

And they were passing the ball!!
How exciting.
It would appear we have more than 10 players in the squad who are actually capable of this feat – Bet you can’t remember the last time that happened.

3. Johnny Boy - 13/08/2008

Agree with your thoughts Matt and like you I was encouraged by the “young ‘uns” ( I must stop watching The Wire)
Thought that they might have played Francis more forward, giving some maturity to the frontline as Tommy is now going to do, I believe.
John Harley looked tasty although he did fade a bit but second game in 4 days – although I think he is a sending off waiting to happen, might be worth a bet.
Some observations from my new seat in the Lower Rous having been a East Stand boy for the last 8 years:
– Shorty will need to realise his audience is now the Rookery and Rous, not the empty East Stand – the players did.
– East Stand very depressing looking and feel it could act as a downer at home games. Couldn’t they move the press forward and then cover the thing in a gaily painted coverall, anything to minimise that gaping reminder to the current finnancial situation.
Anyway – looking forward to Saturday
C’mon Watford.

4. bob - 13/08/2008

Watching a second XI winning 1-0 in the 88th against the third best side in somerstet shouldn’t leave me grinning at 2.15 the next day should it?
Cannot complain at all about last nights football. The players seemed to be actually trying to pick out the intelligent passes and also showed some good touches when in possession. Accuracy of the passing and timing of runs onto them will need to improve, but who cares.

Far fewer wobbles at the back than normal and all four of them (lloydy included!!!) looked almost confident playing the ball out.

Hoskins was different gravy as well and would slot straight into my starting eleven on saturday but god knows how that affects a 4-3-3 line up because he seemed to be playing just about anywhere he fancied in the opposition half.

All that and I had an entire row of seats all to myself!

5. Jonathon - 13/08/2008

Johnny, what’s the LR like, I’m nervous about it.
I loved my East Stand seat. I’m probably going to incur the wrath of all and sundry by being vociferous in the LR on Sat.
Happy days.

6. Harefield Hornet - 13/08/2008

Although hoping, somewhat optimistically I suppose, to see the first team last night, I too couldn’t help being impressed by a good effort from the youngsters. Will Hoskins is now officially my new hero for providing the extra half an hour in the pub afterwards, courtesy of a nicely struck goal.

Long may it continue !

7. DM - 13/08/2008

Re: Point 3. Am I alone in thinking Lewis Young might move ahead of Robinson, Ainsworth and others in the pecking order pretty quickly – if the WFC faithful can resist the temptation to compare him to his older brother ?

8. Dave Hart - 13/08/2008

Good to see Gibson given his chance, although he is actually a right winger, so it was a shame to see him on the left. Dale Bennett scored from one of Gibson’s corners in the Tring game, although I don’t think that Bennett will make the cut.

It is a shame that Henderson wasn’t given his chance though. I feel that he would have fared better against tall centre backs than Lewis Young, who still needs more time to develop. We seem to have plenty of support strikers, but no-one for them to play off, apart from Henderson. He has the perfect opportunity to get into the first team.

Agree with your comment about Harley, Johnny Boy. Silly tackle after the whistle had blow.

As a season ticket holder from LS3 (now LS4), and not booking my seat in time, I tried to book two seat on-line. The best I could get was the back row by the corner flag near the Vicarage Road end. When we got to the match however, we found that LS3 was completely empty. A few of us from last season sat there instead. Interested to see what the situation will be on Saturday. What a farce.

9. Dave Hart - 13/08/2008

We have been offered our seats back for thirteen games after the first two games in our new seats. After that, we can revert back to the new seats when the dugout moves in LS3. Most of the people we saw last night will take the old seats for those thirteen games.We’ll probably do the same.

10. Mark - 13/08/2008

Good football again…we deserved to win and Hoskins crowned the MOTM display with a well taken goal.

11. Tops - 14/08/2008

Completely agreed on Steve Phillips – what a pathetic individual! Given those doing the barracking couldn’t have been more than 11 years old, calling them wankers and ‘big men’ was hilarious. He couldn’t have described himself better.

Hoskins was magnificent; Gibson looked decent. A minor point of concern was Sadler’s distribution, which was woeful. He was easily outpassed by Lloyd Doyley, who seemed to revel in the captaincy.

Very surprised you neglected to mention the skipper’s on target volley…that would have been an ‘I was there’ moment if ever there was one.

12. Matt Rowson - 14/08/2008

DM – on Tuesday’s evidence you might be right, but there’s an investment in Ainsworth that AB will (not unreasonably) want to give every chance, albeit he’s spending his chances frivolously, and Robinson’s relative size is also a plus in what is now a surprisingly small side. Oh, and you know as well as I do that there’s bugger all chance of Young not being compared to his brother.

Dave Hart – no, Harley’s tackle wasn’t silly it was a blatant revenge hack. Silly boy.

Mark – you’ve basically re-written thunk one. I like mine better though. What were you adding, exactly?

Tops – I take it you weren’t at Palace? Lloydy efforts already passé, two games into the season…

13. Tapps - 14/08/2008

The new Ross Jenkins impressed me. Looks a solid lad for a teenager and cleared danger from our box in spendid fashion on at least two occasions. He strutted his stuff in midfield in a similar way to how Richard Johnson used to – I hope he has the same shooting boots…we’ll need them.

14. Back from Hammerau - 14/08/2008

Can I be the first person to say how much more respectful I felt after seeing the players shake hands before the game? Though I felt it lacked a brassy anthem playing in the background to convey the full gravitas of the moment. Something for Lord Mawhinney to tweek.

15. SteveG - 14/08/2008

Agree with the general view that this was very much a ‘glass half full’ performance. Hopefully this will restore some balance to the prevailing view of our prospects which seems to have lurched from an arrogant assumption this time last year that we had a divine right to beat anyone, to despair that we haven’t got a hope of winning a match ever again.

Our ‘equilibrium’ position is mid-table, and this squad should be good enough to achieve that. It’s in the nature of both Watford and this division that with a bit of luck or an inspired run of form from one or two players for half a dozen games you move up into contention for the payoffs. A few injuries, loss of confidence and a few dodgy decisions can bring the relegation zone looming.

Tuesday showed that some lessons have been learned from the dismal end to last season. Of course it wasn’t perfect, but even when mistakes were made it was often by trying to play intelligent football, and eventually one of the passes got through the gap and Hoskins did the rest. A few more performances like that and the world might seem a better place.

While Lloyd Doyley’s distribution was better than Mat Sadler’s, that really isn’t saying much. I have always had a lot of time for Lloyd, but I do wonder whether Mariappa might be a better bet if we are trying to play a passing game … but the volley was good fun, though.

16. JOHN M. - 14/08/2008

Due to work commitments unable to attend many matches this season. Unfortunatly this old fart will have to rely on the W.O. and this site for my WFC fix.
One week ago looking at season in a glass half empty attitude (‘Lucky to stay up’). Now encouraged sufficiently after two matches to be glass half full (‘Mid table with luck’). I suspect, however, that things will slide if an experienced striker is not found.

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