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Watford 2 Preston North End 0 (07/11/2009) 09/11/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Five thunks from another fine home victory.

1- It’s a long time since we’ve been as utterly on top as we were in that first half. Glorious stuff it was, too, verve and movement that was in part responsible for Preston standing around looking very stupid for much of the time. The slight concern, of course, was that 2-0 didn’t remotely capture the degree of our domination but we were never in trouble.

2- Cherry on the icing on the cake was that magnificent second goal, for which there are scarcely sufficient superlatives. Lansbury’s second consecutive fine home performance adds credence to his argument that centre midfield – rather than “in the hole” is where he’s best employed. There was more than a hint of Steven Gerrard in his run for the second goal, powering through challenges, retaining sufficient composure to pick the perfect pass as Graham and Helguson distracted around him.

3- My word weren’t Preston, to a surprising degree, a pile of lumpy awfulness though? From the first minute where Preston’s defence watched a cross float to the far post with the immobile, distracted air of kids at a firework display it was evident that fun could be had. And yes, DM, I’m concious that we played a very great part in making them look lumpy but lumpy they very much were. Worst of a poor bunch was full-back Michael Hart whose display reached comical levels of incompetence; it’s difficult to conceive how a team in the top half of the division is capable of defending that badly (what? oh yes…)

4- And, to state the bleeding obvious, surely the most unit weight per striekr of any side in the division in Parkin, Mellor and Brown. Only Stephen Elliott, so frequently a scorer against the Hornets, came off the bench to challenge the average.

5- This is all rather fun, isn’t it?


1. The Great Big O - 09/11/2009

Re Thunk 5

Yes, enormous.

2. wfcsteve - 09/11/2009

Arrived 15 minutes after kick off having spent two and a half hours on the M40 from Oxford. Didn’t miss much, did I??

3. Tim Turner - 09/11/2009

One thing I took away from the game was just how high Adrian Mariappa jumps – he must have been taking lessons from Heidar, because he consisted outjumped taller opponents. He’s probably been doing it for a while, but it was the first time I’d really noticed it.

4. Ian - 09/11/2009

What it does rather prove, and like 1999 and 2006 proved, is that, with a little bit of team spirit, a couple of players who know where the goal is and decent organisation at the back, it’s not too difficult in this division to make supposedly better teams look rather ordinary.

5. Dan - 09/11/2009

Re Thunk 5 – Big Fat Jon Parkin is certainly no stranger to a pie. However Big Fat Neil Mellor surprised me by actually looking reasonably trim. Though it seems that, much like Sampson with a short back and sides, Mellor without the belly is a shadow of his former self (ie even more useless than he was when he was a fat lad).

Weighty issues aside, we were magnificent going forward and the second goal was beautifully worked, and finished. Preston were surprisingly terrible with a game plan that was only going to work if Big Fat Jon Parkin could somehow find a way to get on the end of his own long throws.

6. Dan - 09/11/2009

Re Thunk 4, I meant, of course.

however re Thunk 5: Yes, especially as I avoided West Brom and can therefore pretend it never happened.

7. Sequel - 09/11/2009

“lumpy awfulness”. Preston in a nutshell, a rather big nutshell.

8. somerset 'orn - 09/11/2009

Yes Matt, this is a whole lot of fun, after two consecutive home performances like those. Not wanting to count chickens, but we’re starting to look a bit like a team that knows how to win at home, and we haven’t had one of those for ages.

Life as a hornet is good at the moment, and a big slice of credit goes to Malky.. what a great start to his managerial career.

9. Matt Rowson - 09/11/2009

Tim… re Mariappa. I don’t doubt you’re right, but I’m reminded of a Wolves fan that I once got talking to on the way from Wolverhampton town centre to Molineux. Describing Robert Taylor he said (superimpose accent if you will…) “when he jumps in the air you couldn’t get a ciggy paper underneath him”. Such was the issue with Parkin and Mellor perhaps; it’s easy to outjump blokes that are too heavy to jump, so to speak. And Dan, I don’t think I agree that Mellor’s lost weight…

10. Luke Fairweather - 09/11/2009

A few PNE thunks…

Malky – Doing just enough to avoid the Manager of the Month award. Long may it continue! Genius

Pies – RE Thunk 4. Yes, hard to miss. We have seen some giant (tall) teams at the Vic, and for sure, PNE must be the fattest. Is there an Actim-Index-type-thingy with a pie count? Heavy…

Home Grown? When H went off, I think we might have been left with an all UK team? We are becoming increasingly British, and local with it.

The Vic – Approaching from Oxhey and gazing across the fields, there is no sign of a football ground, just a giant slab of grey concrete. It seems we are playing our home games inside a block of flats.

The Score Board – We did this better in the 80’s, yawn…

The Football – the last two home games were both delightful and unexpected given the backdrop and recent, erratic form. Some of the football at the moment is well worth remembering.

Marlon – are you watching on the box? To think I once stopped you in Occupation Road and earnestly wished you well and to recover from that serious knee thing. I must have looked a right…


11. MP - 09/11/2009

I just wish I could have seen more of the game. They guy in front of me insisted on sitting down very slowly after an action.


12. DM - 09/11/2009

Mariappa – His performance reminded me of his pocketing of another lump of fatness, John Hartson, at Norwich a couple of years back. I came away from that game thinking Mariappa might have something after all, but have seen precious little of it in the interim… until recent weeks. He is fast improving this season and while there are still mistakes, I’m actually starting to think he is capable of being a decent centre half at this level.

That midfield four on Saturday – jeeeee-sus ! To a man, they were outstanding. Cleverley has been the obvious stand-out all season and was excellent again, but a second superb home display from Angela, and WFC high water marks for John Eustace and Don Cowie all adds up to a midfield display every bit as good as those provided by the recent benchmark of Wright, Johnson, Hyde and Kennedy. Preston simply could not live with them, and with H and Graham’s astonishing work-rate up front helping their cause, they quite simply ran the show for 90 minutes. Well played indeed.

I am bloody loving this season so far. Malky Mackay is doing a simply fantatsic job of making us competitive and keeping us well clear of any silliness at the wrong end of the table. Long may it continue.

13. Dave Hart - 09/11/2009


I have to agree with Dan about Mellor having lost a considerable amount of weight since Preston last came to the Vic. He was still comically overweight on Saturday though, as opposed to being farcically overweight the last time. Last season’s Mellor made Parkin look skinny by comparison.

The mishap with the scoreboard in the first half was pretty funny too, particularly when they tried running text in the score section, instead of the bit at the bottom.

14. Matt Rowson - 09/11/2009

DM – completely agree, the midfield four were phenomenal. I would take umbrage at your 90 minutes assertion though… whilst we were clearly still superior in the second half, and whilst there were brief periods when we were clearly playing possession football and containing the game, it all felt a little bit accidental to me. Not a concerted, tidy plan, but more like we’d taken the foot off a bit and Preston weren’t sharp enough to take advantage. After all, they were one superb save away from a one-goal deficit in the closing minutes which would have been a travesty, and a side with any pace at all in attack might better have taken advantage.

15. DM - 09/11/2009

OK Matt, let’s call is 89 mins and 59 seconds :o)

Maybe we did play within ourselves a bit in the 2nd half, but were certainly still in control and I actually felt that had PNE found that bit of sharpness, we would have raised our game again. We were that good.

16. duds - 09/11/2009

and where have all the eustace detractors gone?

what i would like to know tho is how have preston managed to get so many points? an incredibly poor team

this season has been a real joy so far – bring on scunny

17. duds - 09/11/2009

dm – using a smiley??

hold your head in shame – you’re not an 11year old girl you know

18. leedscf - 10/11/2009

eustace does a good job-the same job mahon did beforehand -but because his job involves him looking ugly breaking up attacks etc he wont be roundy applauded -yet when this goes slightly wrong -he will be roundly booed -this is the shame but this is the perils of being a championship defensive midfielder.

As for preston- i dont understand how even now they are ahead of us on goal difference they had literally nothing.

my only worry is heidar yes he’s a great striker but he does seem very fragile to injury-or is that just me.

19. stephen hoffman - 10/11/2009

how our preston still ahead on goal difference they were awful.

20. Sequel - 10/11/2009

The main problem with the scoreboard is that it’s just not legible from the far end of the ground under floodlights. Or is it just my ageing, middle-aged eyes deceiving me?

21. Matt Rowson - 10/11/2009

re. how can Preston be ahead of us… well had we been playing that well all season, and Preston that badly, then quite evidently they wouldn’t be. On the other hand it’s only a week ago that we were ripped up by West Brom, we’ve been similarly trampled on by Cardiff and our defence has looked flimsy on other occasions. Opposing supporters in such games might well question how we’re still in the top half…

22. Johnny Boy - 10/11/2009

Yes Sequel – it is your eyes. I sit in the lower rous away from the scoreboard and have trouble with it and – yes- I am ageing and middle-aged as well.
Like everyone , throughly enjoyed Saturdays game but accept that there will still be some set backs – we are mainly a young team as shown by Hodson squaring up to Mellor – who did he think he was, David Haye

23. Weymouth 'Orn - 10/11/2009

………..not enough praise for Don Cowie in these messages………
….nor for Scott Loach who had nothing to do for ninety-odd minutes yet kept his concentration throughout and pulled off a blinding save right at the death….

24. Gerry G - 10/11/2009

@MP: that’s always the problem with these metalfitting (you know what I want to say) seat-only ‘stands’ where you have to sit in your allotted place. If you’re stuck next to some loudmouthed obnoxious twat or behind some fat bar steward who won’t ‘siddahn!’ then you’re fecked. At least when we had proper terracing you could move to a more congenial part of the terraces away from the twats and the bampots and the tall/fat bar stewards. With only one or two exceptions (eg cup match v Liverpool) I don’t remember ever having problems viewing when I stood up in the Vic Road end in the 70s and 80s, even when I was a kid.

For that reason, amongst many others (price being top of the list), I rarely attend matches these days – the whole ‘matchday experience’ is, frankly, sh1te, and sh1te for which I’m unlikely to get change out of half a century of hard-earned (the cost of 20 pints = 4 nights out). Bring back terracing and matchday admission that leaves you change out of a score and I’ll be back.

Sorry, had to have a rant as the issue really fecks me off. It’s because I choose not to go to matches and be ripped off, coralled, surveilled, told what to sing, told where to sit, told not to smoke, told not to drink, told not to say nasty words, and thrown out if I step ever-so-slightly out of line, that BHappy is the dog’s bollox for me – it’s the only way to get decent match reports and comments. A big thanks to Big Matt and Little Ig, and all the commenters on here :o)

Harefield Hornet - 12/11/2009

If you still think you can get 20 pints for £50 its obvious that, as well as not attending matches, you haven’t been to a pub very recently either. How you can complain about the price of watching football at Vicarage Road (c.£13 per match with ST) is beyond me. If someone sitting near you is annoying you – tell them for Christs sake. If they punch you tell the stewards!

25. Dan - 10/11/2009

Not just your eyes, Sequel, mine too. It really is embarrassing that we can’t get this right. The one under the big screen was ok, though only lasted a couple of games until it broke and was left to gather dust.

Why we don’t put the score and time on the big screen, like so many other clubs do, is beyond me.

26. NickB - 10/11/2009

Why do we need reminding of the score anyway?

And if we have a clock, let’s have one that counts upwards; the countdown type make me too nervous!!

27. Luke Fairweather - 10/11/2009

Marriappa. I was not convinced overall last season and to see him promoted to captain was a surprise. But on the evidence of the last two home games…yep…a centre back alright. And on his day, a fine one too. Ok perhaps not Tel or Ferdi yet – and shortish with it – but a high standard is certainly being set. Another delightful surprise in a fascinating season. Yes Matt, it is rather fun.


28. The Great Big O - 11/11/2009

Sequel, Johnny Boy, Dan…. I’d love to discuss eyesight further.

What scoreboard are you talking about?

29. Mike - 11/11/2009

With regard to the scoreboard, admittedly it’s crap, but do we actually need one?

I’m not the brightest tool in the box, but even I can keep count of the (seemingly ever-increasing) goals scored at The Vic. My watch works too.

My vote? Just get rid of it!

30. Old Git - 11/11/2009

Anyone else remember the ‘sixty-nine’ chant?
What was that about?

31. Jeremy Clarkson - 11/11/2009

JC here

to 27 Luke..I understand the reference to Steve Terry but who is Ferdi, I can only guess and that you are referencing Franz ferdinand whose assination caused a major calamity right across Europe, are you suggesting the Golden boys could do that?

Luke Fairweather - 12/11/2009

Dear Mr Clarkson

Ah, assassinations and European domination…you are living up to your TV persona!

Tel= John Terry
Ferdi = Rio Ferdinand.

I hope that Marriappa aspires to their standards.

Sorry to have been so oblique


32. MP - 11/11/2009


Little IG?

It was him that was sitting down slowly 🙂

33. Sequel - 12/11/2009

I think what we really need is the digital, laser display screen from Radio 4’s “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue”. Especially if the lovely Samantha was there to operate it. Or would she be bad for my eyes, too…..?

34. wfcsteve - 12/11/2009

Old Git
The 69 chant was one of my all time favourites, including the countdown in the 68th minute. Shame we can’t bring it back as the scoreboard now doesn’t go above 45, even if it’s working. We would have to do it when it showed 21 in the second half, which isn’t quite the same.

35. Back from Hammerau - 12/11/2009

Why not ask if we can borrow Saracens’ score-board – a big white board on which they hang big black numbers?
It has no carbon footprint, is positioned so it can be seen from all 3 stands and, if necessary, can cope with double-digit scores.

This was the first game I’d been able to get to for a couple of months and was delighted by a great performance from 1 to 11.
There was something reassuring about both Preston’s ability to harness the weight of their strikers and their repeated difficulty in clearing the ball from their penalty area – having defenders whose heads are shaped so that, whichever part the ball struck, it then travelled mostly vertically rather than horizontally.

36. Esp - 12/11/2009

Sequel – Good shout about Samantha.
If I could source a digital scoreboard for her to operate at the next home game do you think I could give her one?

37. rookerythoughts - 13/11/2009

Sequel – thanks for bringing up the wonderful “I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue” – I was in the audience in London for the recording of the first two shows of the new series, and you have reminded nme that the first is being broadcast tonight! What a pleasant way to end the working week.

For those that are interested, Jack Dee will undoubtedly grow into his role as chair, but Humph will of course continue to be sorely missed. Rob Brydon was the guest for the shows I saw…a very, very amusing chap.

As for Samantha…wow…

As for the football, everyone has already summed it up quite nicely. We were good, Preston were not, the scoreboard is not fit for purpose, Mellor and Parkin are overweight, Eustace is my player of the season so far, Cowie and Graham look great in the company of Cleverley and Lansbury and finally, yes, it is an awful lot of fun. Long may it continue.

38. Nashinho - 13/11/2009


Surely not every 1st half will have 3 minutes of injury time! 🙂

39. Marky C - 14/11/2009

The lovely Samantha would always be nipping off now to see her new gentleman friend!!

40. rookerythoughts - 16/11/2009

I’m Sorry I haven’t A Clue is actually being broadcast tonight (Monday), it looks like it’s actually me that hasn’t a clue…

Interesting comments from Ben Foster at the weekend – quoted as being frustrated at United…a brave man to speak out, especially considering Fergie’s seemingly decreasing tolerance of goalkeeping errors…

41. wfcsteve - 16/11/2009

You had me going for a minute there, but the clock counts down!!

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