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Millwall 1 Watford 6 (18/09/2010) 19/09/2010

Posted by Ian Grant in Match reports.
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1. Honestly, where to start…? I’ve been catching up on a backlog of Danny Baker podcasts during the last week, dating back to the end of last season and running through the (doesn’t it seem like a long time ago already?) World Cup. Among them was a show broadcast on the morning after the goalless draw between England and Algeria, a howling wasteland of a football match that, as eloquently put by Baker, exposed something truly rotten at the heart of that team. Well, this was its inverse: a performance that absolutely hummed with vigour and vitality, an electric buzz running through the entire thing. We didn’t just beat Millwall; for much of the ninety minutes, it seemed that we could just tilt the pitch up, roll down the slope towards their goal, then do some high fives on the way back….

2. Our breathtaking superiority was such that we had cause to worry about not having wrapped the result up within the first half hour, a spell of football as impressive as anything produced by a Watford team in the last pick-your-period years. If anything, the two bits – ten minutes after the half hour mark, another five after scoring in the second half – in which the home team threatened to make a game of it and the home fans echoed their encouragement around the stands only served to remind us of the epic gulf between the match we’d expected to see and the one unfolding before us. Whether home or away, whether playing the league leaders or the relegation stragglers, it doesn’t come together like this very often. It doesn’t come together like this for seasons on end.

3. An afternoon deserving of old-fashioned BSaD ratings, then: fives all round reflecting both the unified discipline of the performance and the many individual triumphs within it. Of those triumphs, you want to salute those who’ve had a bit of stick lately, justified or not: Jordon Mutch, Don Cowie, Stephen McGinn. But it’s difficult to get beyond one stark fact: that John Eustace bossed this game like Mr Bronson with a loudhailer. From the moment he shinned in the first and strolled regally along the goalline in celebration, the occasion was his to conduct as he wished; the central, vital rectangle was so much his domain that you half-expected the referee to ask permission to enter. To go back to the first point, there’s something very, very right at the heart of this team; that something is a relentless, selfless work ethic coupled with ebullient personality. That something is John Flaming Eustace.

4. Something else, though: for all that midfield dominance, we resisted the temptation to keep the ball in that area for any length of time. The first half hour wasn’t built upon sustained possession, it was built upon sustained attacking. We hit the strikers fast and early…and that only works if those strikers can make themselves a threat without needing perfect service. No time for standing and waiting. The (relatively) unsung stars of the show, therefore, were Danny Graham and Marvin Sordell, who combined to put the Millwall defence under relentless pressure and pulled it apart with restless movement; barely a ball went forward that didn’t result in Watford possession of some kind, even if only a throw-in. A perfectly complementary pairing, especially away from home.

5. It’s been a time for reflecting on past glories, these last couple of weeks. In memory, those glory days are drenched in warm, nourishing sunshine; the pubs echo with stories, banter, laughter; the seats around you are filled with familiar faces, good friends; the celebrations are, frankly, a bit misty-eyed. The team becomes more than the sum of its parts, full of pride in itself, in the hard work, the friendships, the shared intent. A football club becomes a living, breathing, dreaming whole. Those days aren’t gone.

Here’s to you. And here’s to the ‘Orns.

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Comments»

1. Adam J - 19/09/2010

I was expecting a special 6th thunk. Alas, the 5 will suffice!

2. Matt Rowson - 19/09/2010

“Mr Bronson with a loudhailer”. Marvellous.

3. DW - 19/09/2010

1. Well done Malky and the back room team. All I ask for my £500 odd investment into WFC is to watch a team greater than the sum of it’s parts.
2. I love the pace of the front 3, that sense of excitment when buckly, Graham & sordell latch onto to any forward pass is priceless.
3. Cowie is a future ledge, I will continue to bang the drum in support of his tireless effort until his place in history is assured.
4. Sir Alex says 3 good transfers out of 5 is acceptable. Malky is well in credit, Taylor at left back has brought immediate balance and structure to our atacking play.
5. I do hope the crowd is high on Saturday, if only to cheerd the 6 points taken in the last 2 away games.

4. markymark9 - 20/09/2010

I have said all along that this season we would do much better away from home due to the pace and movement of Buckley and Sordell in particular and at home we would be worse than last season as we don’t have anyone with extra quality like a Cleverley or Lansbury to open up a packed defence.
Having said that,I hope I’m proven wrong this Saturday!

5. Nige in Oz - 20/09/2010

These are the games that make it oh so worthwhile. The fact they happen once a decade or so even more special. Although I still think a dour and turgid 0-0 draw away at a rainy Port Vale on a cold midweek night holds a certain romance that a 6-1 romp can’t quite compete with…

6. Wrighty - 20/09/2010

On Saturday morning I broke a Watford mug, in the afternoon we win 6-1. This could be an expensive season

7. Loofah4eva - 20/09/2010

I read in the papers that a Millwall fan got on the field and tried to attack Lloyd Doyley, and that another couple of knuckledraggers ‘encroached on the playing area’ – anyone see that, and got any comment? How much aggro was there outside the ground? I’ve never dared go to Millwall on account of their fans, and would be well worried coming out of the ground after a 6-1 win.

Great performance, great result, and with luck it’ll push Millwall into a relegation tailspin from which it’ll never recover.

8. drewoneone - 20/09/2010

So at the start of the season we are written off as relegation destined no hopers.

The pundits say our squad is too small and young and “where are the goals going to come from?”

We all dream of giving it back to the doom merchants.

In that dream the youngsters grow into men and the Hornets annihilate one of the teams getting a bit above themselves on their own ground and the majority of the team weigh in with a goal each.

You wake up to see the Golden Boys are in 5th place thinking it’s a misprint…but it’s not…Watford have gone and done it again and come up with one of those results that will live in the collective braincells forever.

Now I know why I will be Watford till I die.

9. USRob - 20/09/2010

my phone app formatted the last two goals as

77′ Graham
90′ Taylor

For a moment I thought things were going so well that our esteemed chairman had put the boots back on

10. Kris - 21/09/2010

What a tremendous result and what a performance. I quite like Jackett’s Millwall but following the match on livescore with a friend who supports Millwall (yes – even they have supporters in Denmark) it was quite a surreal experience.The only downside to a result like this is that otherwise sane people will start getting insane ideas and expectations about play-offs and even automatic promotion and forgetting that the main objective this season is survival.

Then when the push for promotion fails people will jump on Malky’s back like it happened last season.

I still see us as real candidates for the drop due to our lack of width but also because of the style of play. We’re a passing side and will be affected by the pitches deteriorating due to the weather. Last season’s decline not only coincided with off field events but also with pitches becoming affected by rain and snow.

I can easily see that happening again. Add to that the fact that we’re a young side which normally means there’s a greater effect of confidence meaning that a slide will be bigger than for aside of average experience.

I guess my point is let’s enjoy what we’ve got and be happy about our start to the season but let’s not forget what our target is – 52 points!

COYH

11. Esp - 21/09/2010

Malky after he game (and why I support this great, uinique club):

“I imagine you’ve all gone back to school or work today with a massive smile on your face. Well good on you – your loyal support deserves all the rewards it can get.

The players are respectful of the effort you put in just getting to these matches…you keep coming in your numbers, and all credit to you for doing that, especially when it involves putting your hand in your pocket time and again.

Whenever we score away from home, I always have a quick look over to the away end. Nothing makes me smile more than to see hundreds of you going bananas in the stands – just like the players do when a goal goes in.

If you saw Adrian Mariappa sprint 90 yards down the pitch on Saturday, you’ll know how much it means to them to do right by this football club.”

Brought a little lump to this often cynical old throat!!

12. Johnny Boy - 21/09/2010

1-6 and LLoydino didn’t score, what is the world comming to

13. Flippo Galli - 21/09/2010

Super, smashing, great

14. Capt'n Toddy - 21/09/2010

You did give me licence to exaggerate a bit ig, so here’s to the 10 other goals we nearly scored. They were class and deserve a mention.

15. Paul Caygill - 22/09/2010

As the fifth and sixth goals went in, my missus tried to get me to stay calm, but it was impossible. Its games like that which make you proud to be a hornet.


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