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Watford 2 Coventry City 3 (29/09/2009) 30/09/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Five thunks from the chaos against Cov…

1- This was, of course, what we were always at risk of with our thin and inexperienced squad. The continued absences of Helguson, Demerit and (effectively) Severin deprive us of experience where we have little to spare; the additional absences of Ellington, Jenkins, Cathcart and (ultimately) Hodson left us looking very sparse indeed. But it’s lack of nous that’s the issue really… there’s no way that points should have been dropped from half time onwards against a lamentable Coventry City side.

2- In particular that centre-back pairing of Wright and Ward was something else. A less mobile defensive partnership hasn’t been witnessed at Vicarage Road since Merthyr Town fielded a wood stove and a wardrobe at the back in 1928. That said, Leon Best’s equalising goal was slapstick stuff. A quite astonishing number of yellow shirts standing around watching… both sides had horrible nights at the back, Coventry’s win ultimately accidental.

3- An interesting test of Danny Graham’s mettle coming up, as he experienced his first bad night at Watford. We could probably do with something going in off his backside against Cardiff, thanks to the international break it’ll be a long wait before his next chance to get over yesterday evening.

4- Graham wasn’t the only one to miss chances… Will Hoskins’ slightly unfortunate miss in the opening minute nonetheless defied belief, whilst Liam Henderson’s late miss was another costly error. Kieran Westwood meanwhile was undoubtedly the man of the match… the two first half saves denying Graham’s breakaway and later Hoskins’ flicked backheel were something else.

5- Can those booing the attempts at short corners explain themselves please? Once again we started with no six footers outfield last night against a goalkeeper confidently taking everything (see 4) and a defence that wasn’t much cop at anything beyond occupying space (see 2), lumping it into the box wasn’t likely to be a fruitful option was it?



1. Tim Turner - 30/09/2009

What really struck me as the second half wore on was the way we lost our shape. At times it was like one of those playground games where everyone follows the path of the ball, which meant that Cov players were frequently left in acres of space (which they were, fortunately, too inept to exploit).

Watford players were getting in each other’s way in both penalty areas, too. Possibly inevitable, given the inexperience of the team that ended the game, but definitely something for Malky to work on before six-goal Cardiff come visiting.

2. Tapps - 30/09/2009

Like putting a 33rpm album on at 45rpm. Quite a novelty at first even though it is impossible to keep up with it. Ultimately though it left one wishing you’d put it on at the right speed from the off for a more fulfilling experience.

3. NickB - 30/09/2009

The proverbial GOTH.

First half we played some exquisite stuff in their half and made them look like complete mugs: Matt’s gag about Merthyr is apposite as well as very funny. Half time was spent trying to file away the uncomfortable thought that we were bound to pay for failing to put them to sleep. And so it proved, although you have to give Coleman some credit for changing their formation round so meaningfully.

I know there are some big Lloyd fans on here, but he really is a liability going forward, losing the ball in inapproprite positions and getting us caught without cover as a consequence.
The rest of the defence, Mariappa largely excluded, was also at sixes and sevens, but that’s hardly surprising given the circumstances, so we mustn’t be too harsh. Eustace was impressive again and the interplay between Cowie, Hoskins, Cleverly and Graham was a joy to behold until the supply was restricted after the break.

Continue to be impressed by the never say die spirit, no matter who is drafted in.

4. NRC - 30/09/2009

Agree with all said so far. Seemed to be a bit of a shame to whip Hoskins off as he looked likely and what does the lad have to do to get a run having got a goal? Although indescribably frustrated by the loss the longer the second half went on the longer it was clear it was going to be ‘one of those nights’, the ball just wasn’t going to go in for us, there are some positives to be taken – yes, this was a thin side for us (the bench especially) yet we still could/should have won against a top half side, we were creating chances by the dozen and we have others to come back into the side. It could turn out to be one of those ‘turning point’ games so long as we take the learning from it, get fired up to make amends on Saturday and don’t get disheartened. This is a very young side which should only get better and surely Graham can’t be that unlucky again?

Am I the only one to think that with Heidar playing we’d have won not only this one but Reading also?

5. DM - 30/09/2009

As good a job as Malky is doing – and I’m sure will continue to do, he dropped a bollock last night with the 3rd enforced change.

Here’s a defence that was already strugling to contain Best and Morrison, but just about managing it. When Hodson pulled up, surely it would have made more sense to ask Severin to put 20 minutes in at right back, or better still switch Doyley, pull Harley back to left back and put Severin into midfield to stiffen us up in midfield.

Instead we sent yet another kid in to do man’s work and while Hodson and Bennett both look like they could be perfectly competent stand-ins for the next few months, maybe even more in Hodson’s case, Oshodi looked light years from being ready for first team exposure and as a result our already rickey defence crumbled.

We’re well in credit for the season so far, but let nobody be under any illusions that there is a lot more water to flow under the bridge this season. We could do without handing 3 points to a piss-poor side on a silver salver.

6. rous man - 30/09/2009

Matt makes some good points none more so than the corner’s. It proved last night how thin the squad is. The defending at times was not good to say the least. The people who do not rate Ross Jenkins must now see what a miss he is when out of the side. The worry is we have to beat sides like Coventry at home otherwise it could be a long hard winter.

7. MartinG - 30/09/2009

On the corners: if you are going to lob the ball up in the air against a giant centre half, wardrobe or otherwise, then you are not going to get very far. If you hit them in flatter with pace, as Barnsley and Coventry both did then it might work better. Whether you do that via a short or long corner doesn’t matter.
We played some great attacking football in the first half. Should have buried them by half time.
I thought last night the goalies made the difference. Westwood was excellent, particularly with the Graham chance at the end of the first half. Although Loach made a couple of great saves he gave away a needless throw which ultimately led to the second goal when he came flying out when he didn’t have to, then stayed on his line when he could have come out and we gave away a corner from which they got their third. He is a real asset but still learning so these blips are bound to happen. Given how young and inexperienced the team is Malky is doing a good job.

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