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Watford 2 Coventry City 2 (14/08/2010) 15/08/2010

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from a home point in a rainstorm. I was supposed to be in a hot air balloon this mornng. Mid-August, I ask you. Anyway…

1- I guess that the thing to cling to is that being mugged by Coventry, being in a position where only drawing at home feels like daylight robbery, is something of an improvement on what many feared at the start of the season. We’ve won six of our last eight against this lot, and the two that we didn’t – this fixture, and the corresponding one last season – should both have been won also. But we were positive, bright, incisive, dominant for big chunks of the game. I didn’t envisage performances like this.

2- Whilst City getting back into it never exactly looked on the cards, it was always a possibility. We know from experience that Boothroyd sides will tend to keep scrapping for the duration, that points will never be given up on however lame the performance (and it was pretty lame). City’s first was well struck but Loach should have had it, it wasn’t remotely in the corner and owed a lot for it’s passage to Loach’s slip. Whilst we’ve not looked shambolic at the back, we have looked brittle and it was clear that we’d be under pressure once City got one back. And then of course the critical refereeing decision, the like of which was always a possibility in the light of a nervous, erratic performance by the stand-in referee. Never a penalty in a million years, of course, but these things happen… we’ll learn a lot about our young side from how they respond at Hull next weekend.

3- Some thoroughly encouraging performances from our new and recent recruits. Substitute Deeney looked fantastic with his back to goal, holding the ball up, fighting players off many of whom just bounced, linking the play in a fashion which recalled Gifton’s better performances. Loan-signing Jordon Mutch looked immediately comfortable, confident, unflustered. One month already feels insufficient. Stephen McGinn… whilst he drifted in and out of the game, and he can’t do that from centre-midfield, he looked a whole lot more confident than last season, a decent performance. Best of all Will “Swash” Buckley, direct, positive, quick, honest. This Watford side will be far from dull.

4- Boothroyd. Still can’t bring myself to like him. Didn’t boo him, but…. in accepting, revelling in the reception of the crowd at the end of the game, he should have stopped short of the fist-waving celebration. You were welcomed back Aidy, but we support Watford, not you. We weren’t going to share in your celebration. Perhaps old habits die hard.

5- There aren’t going to be many uglier central midfields in the division than Michael Doyle and Lee Carsley. Carsley, as my co-editor observed, looks mis-cast as a footballer… he should be a drill instrcutor, bawling in the face of some scrawny recruit. You wouln’t mess, anyway…


1. rousman - 15/08/2010

From my view in the Rous in real time thought Loach should have saved the first one (having seen it again my view is the same) what happened to the big screen on replay’s ? The penalty again I had a good view from my seat what penalty ? I think the sub ref was hell bent on giving one as he had already warned Taylor & Platt at the last set play (you will see worse) anyway b4 the 88th minute lots of good things. Did we put there rookie keeper under enough pressure though.

Matt Rowson - 15/08/2010

That last point is one potential criticism rousman. I thought Deeney could have come on a little earlier… their young keeper wasn’t the biggest, and we didn’t have a target to aim for in the box. But as you say, the “lots of good things” dominate….

2. stephen hoffman - 15/08/2010

also what a goal by eustace in a barnstorming performance. Even Aidy on three counties radio rightly paid tribute to him saying for large parts of the game Eustace as dominating the game from midfield. One has to say what a goal by him for the second -already A early contender for goal of the season i think.

Matt Rowson - 15/08/2010

Yes. Um. Should have perhaps commented on that, shouldn’t I….

3. MartinG - 15/08/2010

Exasperating. Having overrun then for most of the game if felt like a loss rather than a draw. However some lovely football, great goal from Eustace, and 4 points after 2 games so not that bad.

I do wish we ‘d leave someone up front though when the opposition have corners. Not doing so invites trouble as clearances just come straight back in, as happened for the first goal.

4. Sequel - 15/08/2010

My feeling, after 30 minutes of energetic, high tempo pounding at the Coventry door, was that we’d never keep it up for 90 mins. Having succumbed to fatigue towards the end, we sat further back, thus giving Cov the encouragement to have a go. Still, we know the solution; score 3!

5. Gin n Tonic - 15/08/2010

Agree 4 points from six is not what was expected and with players sure to arrive on loan maybe we have a season of entertaining football on our hands.

Loach harsh to blame him for goal late movement on the ball Bell was in front of me (upper rous) and it moved so much I thought it was deflected at first.

McGinn think he is too light weight for centre mid and often drifts out of the game. Agree Much looked good but was it the right substitution leaving Jenkins on the bench?

Not sure players have settled in the ‘diamond’ formation. Felt nobody was sure who should have been closing Bell before he it it also felt this about Norwich’s goal last Friday (although Doyley getting sucked in, didn’t help)

Concentration we must play for 90+ minutes Taylor was bought in for his experience he need to take control of this team Him, Eustance and Danny Graham surely are key to our survival this year and together with the back end of last season Taylor has been no better than a Sunday league player.

Gin n Tonic - 15/08/2010

BTW Boothroyd’s gesture at the end to the Watford fans was most likely aimed at the “Aidy, Aidy What the score” chants when we were 2-0 up if you cant take it don’t give it out. Somewhat premature I feel……

Matt Rowson - 15/08/2010

True enough.

Matt Rowson - 15/08/2010

I agree that Taylor was far from convincing at the end of last season, but don’t agree that he looks as shaky this time. I don’t think he’s a “leader”. not a talker, not the boss-man… Mariappa will emerge into that role in time I think. But I agree that he needs to be on his game. So far he’s been so for me.

Gin n Tonic - 15/08/2010

I agee AM will emerge have always thought he was our best defender. But we need a leader now if MT can not provide that what was the point could have given hi wages to Demerit who has the exact same faults IMO.

BTW Jay was in a Box in the Rous yesterday….. hmmm

Matt Rowson - 16/08/2010

Dunno. Demerit, I think, needed a move as I’ve written on here before. Agree that neither is really a leader… but Taylor was willing to come in and commit to the club, Demerit didn’t want to discuss a new contract. No problem with that, it”s up to him, but that puts Taylor one-up. His height is another major factor… we barely had a six-footer in the side before he arrived, Demerit is brave and good in the air, but only 5’11”

NickB - 15/08/2010

Bit harsh on Taylor, that. Think he’s looked a lot more settled than last backend – agree entirely with the ‘no one up front at corners’ comment – have been concerned about this for years; Aidy also did it and it can’t be helpful – be interesting to know what Prozone says about it, kills all hope of a breakaway counter a la Germany in the WC.

Agree with Matt that Aidy over milked the situation at the end and should have shown a bit more humility, especially as they’d completely mugged us, laughable pen ‘n all. Thought a good burst of applause would have sufficed, the chanting of his name made me a bit uncomfortable, especially at full time, but at least it shows that Watford fans are a good deal more magnanimous than most of their peers.
And what a goal by JE…

6. Brian C - 15/08/2010

Last season inept refereeing cost us dearly on several occasions and now it’s starting all over again … Ever since that famous ghost goal took the gloss off their shiny rising star Atwell, it seems the FA has some sort of agenda against us as if it had been our fault!

‘Swings and roundabouts’ surely? but I honestly can not recall a single bit of fortune going our way in this respect since that Reading game so if it’s not a vendetta then what is it …. a betting scam?

Matt Rowson - 15/08/2010

I’m not sure that we get the brunt particularly. It’s more obvious when these things go against you for one thing… it’s also more likely to happen in your favour when the ball spends a lot of time in your oppo’s box, and against you vice versa. You learn about your team from how you cope with these things I think.

SteveG - 16/08/2010

While it certainly didn’t even out last season, don’t forget that moment when we all held our breath in the last home game against Reading last season. 0-0 at the time, and almost everyone thought that we’d conceded a penalty – the first bit of real luck to run with us for a long time, but if we’d gone 1-0 down at that stage, the world may have looked a different place.

And it’s easy to remember the injustice of the things that go against you and forget the things that go with you – so having seen the video the ‘penalty’ looks even more ridiculous than it did at the time, so we do have a reason to feel aggreived.

But in a parallel universe Buckley’s header gets cleared off the line on to the post and dribbles along the goal line before being scrambled away, and Eustace’s overhead kick ends up in row Z of the Rookery (or maybe even more frustratingly hits the bar and bounces down to Coventry defender). Even on a day when ‘we was robbed’ some things did go our way, and the overall performance was very encouraging.

7. IaYS - 15/08/2010

must be hard when the format is five thunks, but no thunk for Eustace’s moment of brilliance? Something that should have resulted in the crowning moment of a 3 point grab for Watford. Such a shame that there was no video coverage on the big screen for Eustaces overhead finish to be repeated for the jubilent masses, plus noting that even that pathetic scoreboard thats almost unreadable without squinting from the Rookery was also absent from electricity.

Interesting to take in the new white slope adorning the old East Stand, strangly for me it seemed to enhance the ground a little… maybe the extra light?

Did raise a smile to me that Boothroyds air thumping back to the Watford fans came at the same time as the ref approached the tunnel to a chorus of boo’s

Matt Rowson - 15/08/2010

Guilty as charged (see above)

8. Jon Moonie - 15/08/2010

The thing that impresses me the most is the speed of the team. They are onto everything very quickly and the whole squad seem to be a similar high fitness level. I love the high tempo. Deeney (7 days) and Mutch (Less then 24 hours) both looked great individually, but our attack slowed up when they came on. We also lost our width when Will Buckley went off. The game had only just started to fully stretch and he could have done a little more with a bit more space.


PS Matt can I use “Swash Buckley” in the From The Rookery End podcasts… since reading that I’ve got a character idea brewing!

Matt Rowson - 16/08/2010

Much as it (obviously) didn’t work, at two-nil it wasn’t really in our interests to open the game up. Deeney was a fresh pair of legs and something for the ball to stick to, Mutch to keep possession.

Feel free to use “Swash” Buckley. I nicked it from my brother, but it feels entirely appropriate.

9. Mikey - 15/08/2010

From my position in the Vic the Coventry number 2 – Keogh? – raced into our penalty area, ran into the back of Doyley who was watching the ball, then slithered into a heap with his hand up appealing to the ref for a penalty. The ref – with the best view a couple of yards away – immediately signalled a pen.
Disgraceful play-acting.

10. stephen hoffman - 16/08/2010

Gin N tonic I think you may have been on the drink you are named after. At Norwich Martin Taylor had a very good game providing some much needed steel heading everything away and making some timely tackles. Generally at the back end of last season he was also solid especially considering he hadn’t been playing for a season.

Against Coventry he again was very solid for 85 mins although yes like the rest of the team he switched off for the last 5 mins. He is definitely better than a sunday league player.

Gin n Tonic - 17/08/2010

OK I’ll give you Blue Square…..

Point is he is not a calming inspiring influence we all thought we had signed or maybe I just have higher standards.

Matt Rowson - 18/08/2010

or unreasonable expectations.

Gin n Tonic - 20/08/2010

Do you really think so….

Do you not think probably the best paid player on the books and one of the most expiernced players in the division should not have more of influence on this young side?

He i slow and awkward IMO usually players of this nature us the expiernce anh have greater positional sense as MM did. MT doesnt do it for me.

11. stephen hoffman - 16/08/2010

we were very fortunate for our third goal against norwich when in the build up Mcginn clearly fouled the norwich player.

Matt Rowson - 16/08/2010

From memory it was Deeney, not McGinn, that made the challenge; McGinn picked up the loose ball and set up Graham. But the claims for a foul were nonsense – the defender made a back for Deeney, didn’t even challenge for the ball.

12. Harefield Hornet - 16/08/2010

Far more postives to take out of this than negatives. As earlier posts suggest, this felt more like a loss than a draw, but this just reflects how much we had dominated the game. Fantastic strike from Eustace and what a find Buckley is looking. Pacey, inventive and relishes taking on defenders. Hull struggled big-time at Milwall on Saturday, lets hope the boys just put this one down to an atrocious decision by the referee, get up there and play with the same confidence they have shown so far. What was that anouncement for “is there any more qualified refs in the crowd” all about? – they’d already found one bad enough! and for one terrible moment I thought Jimmy Hill and his beard were about to appear (For old gits with long MOTD memories!)

13. JohnF - 16/08/2010

A fair set of thunks Matt. I thought the whole team played well and as a team until the very late stages when again we started to defend far too deep. Your comment about a leader at the back is an important one as we need someone to push them forward. The first Coventry goal may have been down to either a Loach error or slip, and the ball did move significantly, but it would not have happened if we had been defending a line 5 to 10 yards forward.

Incidentally did the keeper handle the ball outside the area when challenging Graham late on?

However, many good things for us to be happy with now the disappointment has faded.

14. Tapps - 16/08/2010

1)Phantom goals, phantom penalties – Vicarage Road is the Bermuda Triangle of weird & whacky refereeing.

2)It’s been said before but viewing 3 rows from the back of the Rookery Lee Hodson is Nigel Gibbs.

3)Martin Taylor looks every inch the part when he emerges from the tunnel. The aura starts to fade at 15:00.

4)In an unusually relaxed mood due to our complete second half domination we had a good chuckle at the injured referee repeatedly having to limp the 10 yards from his chair to tell Boothroyd to get orf the pitch and back in his technical area. Likewise the “what’s the rush?” ballboys – where did they learn that?

5)Would it be utterly foolhardy to predict we will finish above Coventry this season?

15. Simmo - 16/08/2010

I agree about all the positives that everyone one else has referred to and 4 points from what looked like a tough couple of games is a massive bonus.

However over the last 4 seasons I have lost count of the number of goals we have conceded in the last 10 minutes of games. In the 1st division season a statistic was produced that we could have finished 12th if the games were 80 minutes , Blackpool’s last minute goals a couple of seasons ago eventually cost Aidy his job and Blackpool mugged us again last season with 2 late goals at their place. There are many more instances of late goals costing us points and they massively outweigh the goals we score in the last 10 minutes of games. Already in two matches this season we have let in 3 goals in the final few minutes.

Over the past few seasons the shout was that Jay was letting the defence fall too deep. So now Jay has gone, why do we still show such frailty?

I haven’t worked out how many goals we have let in during the last 10 minutes of games or the points it has cost us over the last few seasons but isn’t it time someone tells the team that matches last 90 minutes plus injury time. We shouldn’t have to hang on for wins. We are allowed to attack and kill of games. Coventry should have been buried and we should not have had to worry about refereeing decisions, good or bad!

16. DM - 16/08/2010

I think it’s far too easy to say we sat back and let Coventry come on to us.. We lost our tempo when the change of ref happened and never really got it back.. That’s very different from it being a tactical decision. And let’s not forget the first Cov goal came from nowhere, it’s not like we’d been clinging on for grim death.

That said, there is work to do defensively. Lloyd has done a great job at left back this last season and a bit, but he was out of position again when he conceded the pen.. A naturally left sided left back looks more and more essential and will give greater options and strength in depth. Once Mariappa and Taylor have finally worked out who does what their partnership has the potential to be more than adequate for our needs.. It should be remembered they’ve played very little competitive
football as a pairing. Taylor should be better in the air for his height, but if he was he wouldn’t be playing for us.. Let’s keep some perspective of where the club is at.

Going forward we look fine.. A few more options would be nice, as well as Buckley is doing there is no cover that can play where he is playing.. But all in all 4 points from 2 games is a more than satisfactory start given the paper-thin squad.

Matt Rowson - 16/08/2010

agree with that. the one disappointment this season, of course, remains the standard of 3cr’s punditry. Very poor. Mr Marks continues to do a sterling job, of course, but heaven knows where they found the chimp alongside him.

17. DW - 16/08/2010

1. Cowie, Outstanding, not always with his finished product but his appetite and willingness to work is mooneyesq.
2. Don’t get carried away with the world is against us, as someone mentioned above, that penalty not given against us last year probably kept us up.
3. Pace is so exciting to watch and in Buckley and Sordell we have it in spades.
4. Boothroyd is not a very nice man
5. Only 46 points to go…..

Gin n Tonic - 17/08/2010

Cowie should have closed down Bell to prevent him from getting his shot in but very comfortable on the ball

18. DM - 16/08/2010

Black Shorts…….

19. Dave Jackson - 18/08/2010

Anyone else think Buckley should have stayed on and either McGinn or Cowie been subbed?
Buckley provides much needed width and holds the ball up well. His natural instinct seems to be to look after the ball and wait for the right option rather than to just rush into a hopeful punt.
Young Mutch looks like he would be comfortable in the middle with JE.
Hopefully this subbing of Buckley wont happen too often.
See you at Hull!

20. steve - 19/08/2010

im a cov fan i h8 wen this happens to my team verry unlucky to watford god knows how we got a result but this divisions about results…and only results

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