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Watford 2 Ipswich Town 1 (19/10/2010) 20/10/2010

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from an increasingly dependable win over Ipswich…

1- Brought a colleague to his first game, and if it wasn’t the most gripping spectacle it was absorbing and occasionally exciting in a way that epitomises this division… absorbing and exciting thanks to perverse episodes of brilliance and incompetence in equal, see-sawing measure. The game went through phases like operatic movements… we survived the first ten minutes despite an apparent determination to provide our guests with free runs on goal, thanks largely to the counterbalancing ineptitude of our visitors’ forwards (more of that later). We then dominated possession for much of the half without creating an awful lot as Ipswich’s defence held firm… and just as we were stretching our legs in anticipation of half-time, scored twice to change the game. The start of the second half, a new mood entirely… we were glorious, spectacular, and utterly dominant. But didn’t make it count… and with the inevitability of the scene at the end of the film where the bad guy pulls himself from the floor for one last assault Ipswich themselves scored from nowhere. To close, the dramatic denouement as our visitors smelled blood, but were ultimately vanquished. More of that later, too. Wonderful chaos, overall, and a fine three points.

2- Whilst we have become accustomed to seeing the ‘orns knock it about a bit, the furious determination, particularly in the first half, to keep the ball on the deck was extraordinary. It was if a training exercise was underway whereby anyone lifting the ball above knee-height would be told to drop and do twenty press-ups. Not difficult to understand why… Gareth McAuley would have gobbled up long balls up to the strikers. And yet inevitably, when the goal came, it was borne of the chaos provoked by a long throw into the box.

3- Tamas Priskin. When he left, albeit for a decent fee at the time, there was a little niggling doubt, a bit of a shame that he’d moved on just as the promise had started to develop into something more ruthless, more reliable. Not on yesterday’s evidence… this was Tamas at his most frustrating… diffident, sloppy, and, yes, offside.

4- Whilst there were strong performances all over the pitch, and from reliable sources, special mention for the effervescent McGinn, who suddenly looks just fine thank you on the edge of the diamond, and for Michael Bryan. Bryan needs to bulk up, quite clearly, and gave the ball away once or twice. But at times in the first half he was controlling the game from behind the strikers, and doesn’t need much space to get a decent cross in. One to watch.

5- Agonising as the dropping off at the end of the game is, I can’t help but feel that rather than a deliberate strategy this sort of nervous response to a situation is simply what you’re going to get from a young team. Three of our starting midfield were 21 or under… much as our nerves were fraying badly, I’ll happily cope with that in return for the plusses twelve games in. Third place? Top scorers in the division? And perhaps two poor performances in the League (Leeds, Hull)? I’ll take that with both hands.


1. somerset'orn - 20/10/2010

Much more of this and the spectre of promotion will begin to loom

2. NickB - 20/10/2010

Spot on all round, Matt. Re 5) – sometimes when a decent, powerful side builds up a head of steam and throws caution to the wind (sorry for mixed metaphor), there’s not much you can do to avoid ceding territory. Also the age and inexperience comments are very relevant here. A late equaliser yet again would have done much psychological damage, not conceding will help make the fear recede comensurately.

I hate to say I told you so about Priskin, but…. Must be close to being the most gutless player in the Football League. Very good riddance.

Agree that McGinn did well, as he did at Portsmouth. Must also mention Mutch and Eustace, who were both quite magnificent.

Loach continues to worry me.

3. Rookery Mike - 20/10/2010

A fine win, with two major highlights for me.

1) Michael Bryan. I had been looking forward to seeing how he coped in the first team after seeing him come on as a sub away at QPR last year. He looked good then and his brief cameo filled me with optimism for hiss (and our) future. he has been an unused sub for much of the season and was starting to doubt if he was in malky’s immediate plans, or indeed if my optimism was misplaced. On last nights showing, it wasn’t. Quick, brave and intelligent, he was everythgin i hoped he would be. I hope he can keep it up.

2) Marvin Sordell’s goal. brilliant. A perfect illustration of a striker brimming with confidence. Sordell’s rapid and welcome emergence has to go down as the biggest bonus in a season already crammed full of positives.

I have no doubt there will be tough times ahead, but currently this truly is a Watford set up to savour and enjoy.


PS For those that are interested, we are recording the new podcast on Saturday, so it should be available next week!

4. NickW - 20/10/2010

Fully agree with NickB about Loach but what do you do? Personally I say stick with the guy and let him play through his current mistakes. Chamberlain will get hold of him soon enough.

I think Doyley had one of his best games for a long time. I’m a Doyley fan and I think he was man of the match last night.

The standard of football this year both home and away has been fantastic.

5. Luke Fairweather - 20/10/2010

Yes indeed, third place, top scorers and as was observed on 5liveX last night, an all British team. I had not really registered this but since we off loaded Tamas we do seem to be a home grown bunch. How far back do you have to go to find the last all British ‘Orns line up?
Loved it when Mark Bright observed that we were playing like Real Madrid!!!

6. Harefield Hornet - 20/10/2010

Interesting that Ipswich, the supporters of whom have critised us so heavily in the past for our direct tactics, only became an effective(ish) force following the introduction of the strapping Connor Whickam and the use of erm – direct tactics? Football – its a simple game!

Keeping passing the ball chaps!

7. duds - 20/10/2010

and what about andrew taylor? we look so much better with a natural left footed left back. I think his permanent signing should be a priority

8. Nathan Lowndes: Football Genius - 20/10/2010

Another shout out for Lloydinho-I thought he was superb-used the ball well, kept the guy he was marking occupied by making him spend most of the time on the back foot, and when called upon defended brilliantly. More of that please.

Loach was most worrying though

Matt Rowson - 20/10/2010

No shortage of shouts for Lloydy on this page Nathan. Consider such things taken as, um, shouted.

9. David, Aylesbury - 20/10/2010

Fully agree with all the thunks, and glad that Stephen McGinn and Michael Bryan are quite rightly getting the plaudits for their fine performances.

Nobody has mentioned the fairly clear foul on Scott Loach in the build up to the Ipswich goal last night – though having said that, sometimes you do wish he would just take everything out (ball, strikers, whatever) when he comes to claim the ball.

But all in all another very enjoyable game. The quality of the football this season has been better than for many years. Roll on Saturday !

10. Jeremy Clarkson - 20/10/2010

Another little trivia for you all last night and something I cannot remember happening for an awful long time, not once did either trainer have to come onto the pitch. A testimony to both teams and the referee in allowing the game to flow, and my it did just that….

..people have mentioned Loach, I believe he is a reincarnation of Shirley Sherwood, heart attacks, heartaches and love affairs all rolled into one, but he stood the test of time..

… and am I the first one to go down the bookies and wager that the little guy with number 16 on his back will play for England, assuming he is English of course! JC

Matt Rowson - 20/10/2010

Northern Ireland I think JC.

11. SimoninOz - 21/10/2010

It’s a bit rich for me to be critical (haven’t been to the Vic since I was last in UK in 2005) but how come only 11,000 in the crowd? Is this Mr Osborne’s belt-tightening happenning already?

12. NickB - 21/10/2010

Good call about the ref – thought he was excellent, and both sides helped him with a grown up attitude

Matt Rowson - 21/10/2010

Agree that he was good… he was a late stand in as well wasn’t he? Certainly yesterday Soccerbase were listing a different ref to the OS.

According to Soccerbase’s (obviously flawed) database, he’s only reffed us once before – at Plymouth last season.

NickB - 21/10/2010

What I liked was he was a hark back to the (good) old days where the ref’s performance often went completely unnoticed, as the majority observed the dictum that the crowd wasn’t there to watch them.
I’m fed up of celebrity/ show off refs, many of whom miss a raft of blindingly obvious incidents every game

13. MarkS - 21/10/2010

Just wish we could score a goal at the Rookery End. Don’t think we have managed one in the league all season so knew at half time that had to keep them down to one goal to get the 3 points.

14. drewoneone - 21/10/2010

Some great performances Tuesday night all round. Lloydinho turned up with some nice moves as well as some really solid defending.

I agree with duds’s comments on Andrew Taylor.
His cross for Marv’s brilliant header was superb in its leftfootedness. We need to get him on board permanently.

Let’s hope the crowds improve though – as Matt said in thunk 5 – 3rd place, the division’s top scorers,lovely passages of play and home-grown youngsters making their mark. What more can we want?

15. DM - 21/10/2010

JC – isn’t Bryan already capped by Northern Ireland ? Looks a real prospect based on the last 2 outings, but he really does need some upper body strength. He makes Ashley Young look like Danny Shittu.

16. Simmo - 22/10/2010

I agree with all the above comments about Michael Bryan’s performance and left the ground thoroughly pleased at what appears to be yet another home grown good’un.

But I listened to 3CR on the way home and the legend that is Tommy Mooney commented that he thought Michael Bryan’s performance was poor. He felt that it was frustrating to the front men not knowing when the cross would come in and as such they could not time runs into the box. While it was great to see a wide man take on defenders, does Tommy have a point?

The Great Big O - 22/10/2010

Bryan has the wonderful knack of crossing dangerously without needing to beat his man. Just like Callaghan, so many years ago. Did Ross or Luther ever complain? No.

As long as Danny and Marvin keep playing regularly with Bryan, they’ll soon start to read him – and end up with more goals than even Mooney.

NickB - 22/10/2010

No. He’s in danger of undermining his legendary status a smidge (only a smidge) with comments like that (don’t know the whole context, as I was watching rather than listening); surely the attackers have an edge if the defenders don’t know when the cross is coming in?

Jeremy Clarkson - 23/10/2010

just a point re Tommy Mooneys comments.

If the forwards dont know when the cross is coming, then the defenders wont eithe.

There fore the better forwards will be those that are on their toes and anticipating the right time to attack the ball.

I beleive that the little No 16 put across “good” crosses away from the keeper and beating the first defender it is now up to the the forwards to react… aka the one and only Cally


17. Nashinho - 22/10/2010

A couple of things about the 5 live extra commentary.
1. They slated Bryan in the first half stating how disappointed he would be at having given the ball away needlessly on so many occasions.
Does that tie up with what people saw?
2. They need a geography lesson if they describe a team which includes a Northern Irishman as being all British.

18. The Great Big O - 22/10/2010

I’m loving this season. Mind you, I enjoyed last season too. Both years we’ve been watching quality football played with a great team ethic. Big respect to Malky.

Last year I felt we didn’t get the reward our football deserved. This year I could argue we still deserve a little more reward (wins becoming draws at home to Cov and Donny, the defeat at Pompey) – and yet we’re already in third place.

This is proving a much more enjoyable route to securing the necessary 52 points.

19. Simon - 24/10/2010

On “don’t know when the cross is coming point”, the reason why it is essential for a forward to know when the cross is coming is that he is looking to time his run to meet the cross and meet it at pace. If the cross is delayed for a further touch from the winger, the forward has made his run and will be in front of the cross by the time it arrives.

All the forward can do then is either wait for the ball (making an attacking header very difficult from a standing start and giving the defender a much easier challenge) or recyle his run (which he won’t have time to do unless the winger then holds the ball up for a further few touches before crossing).

None of this applies to defenders who don’t have the benefit of “making a run” to meet the cross. The best a defender can manage is either to track the forward closely (the defender won’t care if the cross misses him out if the forward’s not going to get there) or to take a standing position on, for example, the corner of the 6 yard box and react when the cross comes in.

There are lots of players over the years who have suffered from the “forwards don’t know when he’s going to cross it” problem. The most obvious recent example was Nordin Wooter who was terribly prone to sometimes taking an extra touch before crossing. I seem to remember GT getting incredibly frustrated about this.

The key to Bryan’s development is whether he can be coached to deliver consistently (some players, including Wooter and Rod Thomas before him appear incapable of taking this on board). If he can, he has the potential to be a very useful player.

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