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Watford 1 Chelsea 3 (14/02/2009) 14/02/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from the Cup exit to Chelsea

1- A tremendous effort all round.  Losing to Chelsea is no disgrace for a side at the bottom of the second division, and if we rode our luck more than once we also came close to levelling the game at 2-1 down.  Lots of good individual performances… the wonderful Jenkins, rejuvenated Demerit, unrecognisable Priskin, bullish (!) McAnuff.  But the team worked, for the most part.

2- Lloydy Doyley, football genius.  The outside-of-the-boot pass that released Priskin for the opening goal was a thing of beauty…

3-…and what a five minutes that was.  All manner of bedlam in the Rookery.  One of those goal celebrations that only ever seems to happen under floodlights… where gravity is temporarily suspended and you find yourself buffeted on waves of noise.

4- Anelka.  Frightening.  Like having to mark a ghost.

5- We need to get this whole thing out of our system pronto.  This was always a no-lose game;  even a replay would have been a bonus and an achievement.  But on Tuesday night we need to win.


1. Tapps - 15/02/2009

I dunno about football genius but Lloydy does seem to have some sort of guardian angel looking over him. He plays 5 Chelsea players onside as he’s not on the same wavelength as his defensive colleagues and yet the bungling billionaires still fail to score…

2. Red - 15/02/2009

Quite right Matt on point 5. No distractions, put the silly Lampard father versus son business behind us and lets concentrate on survival. Saw the Swansea versus Fulham game on TV and Swansea look a good passing side. Thanks to all those Watford fans who came to watch Chelsea and made watching the last 10 minutes very difficult, I was jumping up and down more than the Chelsea fans.
Chelsea fans-cretins.

3. Lincoln 'Orn - 15/02/2009

Point 5 – We need to win. I agree but did anyone see Swansea outplay Fulham yesterday. They looked a decent side and I can only hope our puddin of a pitch stops them play a bit. I know Fulm are no world beaters but they looked completely second best against the Swans.

4. JohnF - 15/02/2009

Fantastic evening, spoilt somewhat by the fact that the whole of the section that was behind us in the upper Rouse was filled with Chelsea supporters. Can’t we manage to fill our parts of the ground wth home supporters anymore? Lloyd D was a revelation and even kept Anelka quiet, until they moved him into the middle away from Lloyd’s attentions. Great finish by Priskin with the BBC trying to say it was lucky because he was offside, looked a great run to me and bollocks to the BBC. Some excellent performances and so close to a deserved draw. Much to be hopeful about but now they have to win the games to keep us in the division. Games in hand aren’t points in the bank.

5. Dan - 15/02/2009

Re 2 – yes, it was. Though Lloyd’s fear of using his left foot in a meaningful fashion probably had something to do with it too…

I do think he was excellent last night though, and he remains a far better option at left back than Matt Sadler.

6. Wat4Steve - 15/02/2009

1 – Agreed no disgrace losing to Chelski, I’m glad they didn’t turn up in the first half else the result could have been frightening. The scoreline was probably right in the end but for brief moment there was hope.

2 – Jay sorry disagree poor attempt to header the ball for the first goal lost Anelka for the second, no it wasn’t a moment of skill either just changed his run. I am reliably informed that Jay can leave as soon as he can find himself a club (the Russo’s are not even bothered about receiving a fee, ditto Useless and Sadler) and that we have made enquiries about bringing Mancienne in on loan.

3 – Whilst it is difficult to argue that Anelka is not a tremendous player and took all three goals well I am slightly disappointed that it was poor defending that led to the goals and not a moment of sublime skill. Perhaps the errors followed a build up of pressure but they were errors none the less

4 – Priskin must start in a 4-4-2 by far the better player over Raisak good finish if only the chance that fell to Jobi also landed at his feet

5 – Good effort all round an encouraging performance against a top side all be it an underperforming one. I only hope this is the start of a run of decent results in the league, the scores yesterday certainly went our way. Not sure about Tuesday Swansea looked a top side yesterday lts hope they have their mind on a replay!

7. Matt Rowson - 15/02/2009

Wat4Steve – re both points 2 and 3… we weren’t playing second division fodder, we were playing a top side with a point to prove who played the strongest line-up they had available. Demerit may have contributed to the goals as you describe, but he did an awful lot that was good as well. Nobody’s pretending he’s a top Premiership defender; Anelka was on his game and illustrated the class gap. You can’t give a player like that a sniff – and Demerit had stood up to both Anelka and Drogba well, and showed some rare leadership. And I think you’re being ingracious to Anelka in dismissing his hat-trick. Any goal is “preventable”, but he scored one with his right, one with his left and a header… the third in particular is extraordinarily harsh to lay at the feet of the defence.

Re what you insinuate in point 2… it strikes me as odd that a player out on his ear should be captaining the side. But the repeated suggestion that the Russos value their own input on the playing side is a bit of a concern.

8. Sequel - 15/02/2009

The memory I will take from this game is of Shorty desperately imploring the Rookery to sing. Where’s he been recently? Gordon Brown’s tried to get us all singing from the same song sheet. He failed, so Short has no chance. All together now…One-eyed Brown’s yellow army!…….

9. Lesley-Anne - 15/02/2009

Taking everything into consideration I think we did really well yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised we made it to half time without conceding; taking the lead was a very special moment.

I thought the defence, particularly DeMerit and Doyley, were excellent, especially when you compare that performance with some earlier this season. When watching the recorded match on Setanta, Chris Waddle said on a number of occasions that the defensive work from Watford’s centre halves was “outstanding”. When you consider the height of Drogba in comparison to DeMerit and Mariappa that’s a big compliment.

I am very disappointed to read the comments from Wat4Steve that DeMerit can go as soon as he can find himself a club. He is a great professional who has a good attitude; unlike others I could mention he doesn’t go storming off demanding a transfer when he is dropped but works even harder to get back into the team. Yesterday’s performance ipitomised that; coming back in against one of the best teams in the country and putting in one of his best performances of the season. He took time on the ball and showed he can even pass and not just lump it forward, and has made real progress since Brendan Rodgers took over.

I was in favour of the Russos coming back in but like Matt, I am not happy if they are having an input on the playing side of things; that should not be their concern. Likewise I am not happy if DeMerit is to go and Mancienne is to come in. I am a fan of Cork’s but I don’t want to see Watford fielding maybe 4 loan players; I want to see Watford players playing for Watford!
After a difficult start I have come round to Brendan Rodgers but I hope he is more interested in keeping our players than bringing in young Chelsea stars on loan.

10. Wat4Steve - 15/02/2009

I never said the Russo’s value their input on the playing side Matt? Unless a replacement can be brought in I doubt Jay will leave (yet), after all you don’t bite off your nose to spite your face. Do you not also think it is strange to have your Captain keep the bench warm as he did in the last game and as Aidy did before him. The real problem is this team does not have any leaders, Jay is the lesser of 10 other evils.

From the Horse’s mouth Buck does not feel he is ‘technically’ good enough to play in his team and would to bring in an alternative. The Russo are happy to support this and get his £8K a week off the wage bill, any fee is a bonus……… Ditto the other players I have mentioned. Also expect Tommy to leave in the summer, he would have gone in Jan but the club felt they might be setting themselves up for a backlash from the fans should they get relegated.

Re the game an error is an error and if you watch the goals again the first two were unforced errors, but that is Jay all over plays well in period but switches off at key moments. Yes Anelka still had to finish and I agree he took his goals well but he should never have been allowed anywhere near the ball on the first two. Agreed any criticism of third goal would be harsh but I don’t believe I did, Certainly didn’t mean too.

In contrast I thought Mariappa didn’t put a foot wrong against the same team. Handled Drogba well and even got the better of him in the air, not bad for a short arse ;o)

11. ramsgate horn - 15/02/2009

Agree with Matt rather than Wat4 re Demerit.Thought he did well in general won some good headers and face saving tackles, a lot of them played well but we could have been tonked if not for sone of Jays efforts.People write him off but he bounces back and will produce gutsy defensive performaces, yes you could maybe say he could have been tighter for goal 1 or 2,but its hard to stop strikers of that calibre it seems ultimately little teams always crack but we put up a great fight. 2 Hats off especially to LOACH some fine saves. MACANUFF is looking dangerous again some fine runs,he looked like a player who could hurt them, MARIAPPA steady SMITH AND JENKINS loads of hard work PRISKIN, well taken goal DOYLEY fine display. 3 credit to rodgers for the rcent improvement in performances. 4 Agree now we must forget this although it was enjoyable im coming up tuesday hoping for a good win we need points, but Swansea look tidy hope im wrong but reckon weve got more chance of beating Blackpool.

12. Jonathon - 15/02/2009

What a night!
Priskin, Jay, Lloyd-all were superb. Loach made a couple more top-drawer saves, he could be a class keeper one day. The sheer audacity of Jenkins throughout was great to see, chomping at the heels of both Ballack and Lamps, best performance in a long time!

13. derry pigweed - 15/02/2009

1- I thank my 11 year old for nagging me to go, and it was one of the better performances i have seen in the last 18 months
2-Three recognised left-backs on the bench yet Lloyd an average right-back is chosen in front of the recognised left-backs and has a Blinder ,he does look comfortable there.Malky’s idea to play him there when in his caretaker role
4-Looked good when Chelski went to 4-4-2 and took his goals well
5-Swansea is a very tough game but hopefully Brendan can take the positives from the chelsea game and build on that.
P.S. Loach as good a prospect as he is, must start to command his box more

14. GraemeB - 16/02/2009

It’s noteworthy that the television coverage for this match came from cameras positioned on a scaffold in the East stand, rather than from the usual camera gantry in the Rous. This was because the programme makers were understandably concerned that the condemned and dilapidated East stand provides an ugly backdrop to the game and gives viewers the impression that the Vic is practically empty. Pointing the cameras the other way solves the problem. The delay in redeveloping the “bad” side of the ground is becoming a real embarrassment. It’s also interesting to note that although the club was saying the game had been sold out, the official attendance was only 16,851. I’m sure we’ve seen larger crowds than this, even with the East stand out of service.

15. Harefield Hornet - 16/02/2009

We certainly weren’t disgraced and I really thought our luck was in on Saturday ( for 5 minutes at least!) Its a bit churlish to criticise Demerit (I’ll admit I’m not his biggest fan) – I thought he was outstanding, Doyley also had probably one of his best games wearing the shirt – I have a suspicion one of the new regime is spending some one -to- one time with him, the work rate has always been there but he’s started getting tighter on attackers and his distribution has improved a fair bit.

I must admit to being stumped on the Rasiak or Priskin conundrum – both give us different strengths, Rasiak is obviously the better target man and stronger but Priskin does seem to be able to finish, even under pressure at times. There again – so can Rasiak? Both can lay the ball off well to feet but obviously
Priskin has more pace????

One things for certain though – leave Hoskins in, I can watch him play all day long.

Swansea could be just as stiff a test as Chelsea in a different sort of way but their good run must end sometime ( remember Ipswich a season or so back) and I’ve got a sneaking feeling we’ll do them on Tuesday night.

One last thing – really sorry to harp on about this but its been driving me mad- re Liverpool FA Cup 1986, Barnesy’s free kick definitely sailed into in to the Vic Road end net ( I was standing behind it) in the first half so logically the dive and penalty was at the same end in the 2nd half. Hope that puts the lid on that one!

Unless we’re all suffering from alzheimers!

16. simmo - 16/02/2009

Wat4Steve – re Jay. I realise that we all want to win every game but we were playing against the most expensive team put together in the world. Your criticism of Jay is harsh in the extreme. Jay was up against Drogba for the majority of the game and I felt that Jay never gave Drogba a look.

You blame Jay for all 3 goals but is that fair? If anything I felt Loach could have come for the cross which led to the first goal. The ball for the second goal was quality and I’m not sure if Mariappa was in fact in a better position to deal with it. The third goal was one most teams would concede.

I therefore find myself, on one of my rare ocassions, agreeing with Matt R

17. Simon in Oz - 16/02/2009

Sorry, Harefield Hornet.
Rush’s dive was at the Rookery End, medium right hand side of the penalty area, and very, very near the touch line, as viewed by me, sickened, from the (uncovered) Vicarage Road end.
The following year’s quarter final v Arsenal and S Williams almost made up for it. Almost (but not quite).
Happy, happy days…..
Keep smiling, everyone.

18. Steve C - 16/02/2009

Harefield, I was in the Vic Rd end, and I’m sure that the dive and penalty were in front of the Rookery. It’s one of those moments that was so awful that it has stayed with me.

I wonder if the club could arrange for me to have an away supporter in the seat directly in front of me every game. I found that it made me make so much more noise than usual, and the goal celebration – fantastic. It also gave me someone to row with when Chelsea scored their second, which was just what I needed.

19. RGW - 16/02/2009

For all that it was a good defensive performance, it continues to bug me that simple unchallenged defensive clearances STILL invariably go straight to an opposing player. And the ability to play simple passes rather than running into a clump of 5 or 6 blue shirts would have been good. If we didn’t needlessly give the ball away we might not have to defend so much.

The only goal I’d complain about was the first, Anelka wasn’t being marked tight enough (if you can’t concentrate and keep tight at a corner 5 mins after going in the lead there’s something wrong). Yes, it needed a good finish, but he had too much space. For the second he made a great run across the front of the defence, and the third was simple class.

Barnes scored right at the start of the second half. That was indeed at the Vic Rd end.

20. markymark - 16/02/2009

Lesley -Anne: I agree about you wanting us to play Watford players but if Rodgers can get someone like Mancienne in on loan I for one am not going to complain as I’d much rather have him than the overpaid, error prone Demerit.

21. Wat4Steve - 16/02/2009

Didn’t blame Jay for 3 goals just the first 2.

1st poor attempt to header the ball. For christ sake he is a centre back, and one of the highest paid in the championship! We all know his positional sense is poor but attacking the ball (in the air) is supposed to be his strength.

2nd got caught ball watching and let Anelka run behind him. Schoolboy stuff gets drawn to the ball all the time. Dig out your Play Off Semi video from last year! Any ball half decent ball would have found Anelka as Jay had already commited himself and was out of the game.

You are right re Drogba not getting a look-in that is cos Mariappa marked him all night ;o)

Harefield I think you are over complicating it. Priskin is the better footballer Rasiak is the better target man. Brendan wants to play football not hoofball so Tamas get the nod. Rasiak useful coming off the bench ala plan B. But is he worth spend money on a s a plan B?

I am however looking forward to Tuesday night. Any news on Hoskins injury?

Did anybody else read the interview with one of the Russo Bros in the W/O? Talks a lot of sense but then I seem to remember so did Gimpson early doors. Let’s hope he executes the plan better.

22. simmo - 16/02/2009

Harefield Hornet – you are definitely wrong about 1986 Liverpool. The first goal came just after the break at the scoreboard end. Rush then dived in front of the rookery (where all the Liverpool fans were) 4 minutes from the end resulting in mini pitch invasion by the scousers. Liverpool scored the penalty and went on to do the double. Same old scousers, always cheating!

23. Harefield Hornet - 16/02/2009

RGW/Steve C/ Simon in OZ/anyone else thats commented!

God I must really be losing it now, I’m sure Barnes free kick against Liverpool in 1986 was in the 43rd minute and I’ve seen this confirmed in print – how could that possibly have been in the 2nd half? Can someone PLEASE PLEASE point me towards some official source of information that can either confirm this or prove otherwise?


Before you tell me to **** off and get a life – Yes I wholeheartedly agree tomorrow night is far more important than any of this ! I promise this is my last submission on this.

24. JohnF - 16/02/2009

Wat4steve, the difference between Graham Simpson and Jimmy Russo is that for a start Jimmy is not chairman and the board is bigger. The chairman is not going to reduce the board and may even add to it later if necessary. The Russo brothers run a business that requires a down to earth approach with tight control of the finance and I think that will help, plus we don’t have Mark Ashton any more.

However, we do need to get the wage bill down to a sustainable level for the income and staying up is really very important, if not imperative. I think that we are regretting Rogers sticking to his footballing principles when it simply wasn’t going to work. That cost us points and even Graham Simpson said at the EGM he was sure that if Malky had been in charge for the Donny game we would have won it.

25. RGW - 16/02/2009

Don’t know the source for it, but this document:

Click to access kypeloagglias.pdf

correctly shows the half-time score as 0-0

26. Wat4Steve - 16/02/2009

And who exactly structured that board then JF…………..And didn’t Gimpson run his own successful business? He / They, if you included Cashton, got greedy and are both guilty of mismanagement. Having shrunk the board to give himself sufficient power in the first place to be able to remove the Russo’s whom I am led to believe have pumped in close to £10M to date.

Your Doncaster argument is hypothetical, who knows. Whilst Buck was not my first choice he does seem to have the respect of other managers how clearly trust him with best young assets. I hope he gets a good run at the job but I do wonder if his approach will ever work at this level or fast enough for fans to back him….. Time will tell.

Malky has been coaching all year and with his defensive experience we still don’t seem much better now than at the start of the year. I am not convinced he was the right man either although always thought he would get it as the cheap option. Regardless of who is playing we need to get behind the boys Tuesday, Swansea are proving that you can play footy at this level and we all know who built the foundations of that side!

What does worry me is Buck has implied he will revert back to his football principles in the summer, however you read the formation 4-1-4-1, 4-5-1, 4-3-3 I do not feel we have the players the play with one central striker, whilst I am a fan of Priskin (as I know for a fact Buck is) he is not physical enough to up there on his own IMO.

Team for Tuesday (4-4-2) Loach, Hoyte, Williamson, Mariappa, Doyley (I would play Harley), McAnuff, Jenkins, Cork, Harley/Cauna, Rasiak, Smith (assuming Hoskins won’t be fit) Subs; Lee, Demerit, Harley/Cauna, Williamson, Priskin – Despite my love of Tamas I feel Rasiak compliments Smith better and Priskin is a better foil for Hoskins

27. Matt Rowson - 16/02/2009

Harefield – no mate, you carry on. Debating historical minutiae is a vast improvement on defending Ray Wilkins.

Wat4Steve – difficult to imagine that Cowie won’t at least get a place on the bench; thought he looked lively.

28. JohnF - 16/02/2009

The current board was structured by the current Chairman who represents Lord Ashcroft’s interests but is a strong businessman in his own right. He remains chairman and has a strong board of non-executive directors. Graham Simpson was an executive chairman, something I for one was concerned about. He was responsible for structuring the previous board.

29. Lesley-Anne - 16/02/2009

Wat4Steve – you clearly have inside knowledge but I find it seriously worrying that Brendan Rodgers personal opinions of players currently at the club are not only known by you, whoever you are, but are being publicised on a messageboard such as this. If Rodgers does not think DeMerit is technically good enough for his team that should be between the manager and the player. And perhaps that answers the question why DeMerit hasn’t been putting in good performances recently; knowing your boss thinks so little of you is hardly going to bring out the best in anyone.

30. Daf - 16/02/2009

“Wat4steve” is one of the most apptly named users on here! Looking forward to Blackpool away but like some others fearful of the Swansea Jacks.

31. NickB - 17/02/2009

Five thunks from in front of the telly:-

1. New camera position looks great

2. Mike Dean had a good game, contrary to the view of almost everyone inside the ground (I’ve noticed this phenomenon before, especially when watching games as a neutral)

3. Roman A is a dead ringer for Rab C Nesbitt – it’s that gormlessly bemused expression. Someone buy him a headband and string vest

4. Chris Waddle hates being complimentary about us, even now

5. You don’t have to put up with Chelsea fans on your own sofa.
On the other hand, the mental celebration of TP’s goal, good as it was, must have been 100 times better in the ground. Oh, and if we’d held on another 10 mins, I could have lit a fag….

32. Ed - 17/02/2009

GraemeB – Agree re the East Stand, and repositioning the camera seems a logical temporary solution. I hope it stays there until the building works soon start. The attendance for Spurs was less 16501, can’t think of one higher than this games since the East Stand was closed.

33. Harefield Hornet - 17/02/2009


Many thanks for that – looks like a Bubble-Scouser website judging by the title heading!

I guess senility has finally caught up with me and I’ll have to admit defeat on this one! Its amazing, I can still see that big-nosed sod diving like it happened yesterday. Just goes to show you that cheating mickey’s can scar a young hornet for life! (Wont stop me searching through old programmes in the loft to make doubly sure though!) 2-1 to us tonight I reckon.

34. Nashinho - 17/02/2009

Hey Harefield Hornet – are you sure the programmes aren’t in the cellar?

Can anyone remember the 2-1 win at home in 82/83?
I know Luther scored in the away 3-1 win, but the home game is a complete blur!

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