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Watford 3 Leicester City 2 (04/12/2010) 05/12/2010

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from a chilly but snow-free Vicarage Road.

1- With due apologies to my co-editor, stranded on the South Coast by the weather and consequent train disruption, this is what you bloody go to watch a football match for. You know it’s been a good one when you’re left drained by the adrenaline, when you’ve been up and down and cheering and relaxed and apprehensive and nervous and terrified and exaltant all within the space of a couple of hours. That, and a big gash on my calf indicating the point at which the celebration of Danny Graham’s marvellous winner got a little too raucous in the Rookery (I think it was the frame of my seat wot dunnit, either that or someone took a bite out of my leg in delirium. Either way, I’m treating it has having taken one for the team). It felt as if something fundamentally changed at that point, like air flooding into a vacuum… a first win in eight, and the first Watford goal at the Rookery End since August. The only concern is that it might start snowing in Watford now, but I’ll take that sacrifice.

2- Full marks to Malky today, on any number of levels. The shape in the first half, with Buckley wide and McGinn pushing up behind Danny Graham, was inspired – McGinn looked thoroughly comfortable in the role, and the entire midfield looked tremendous throughout the first half. Both of the unenforced substitutions were effective – the replaced Buckley and McGinn had had decent games, but changing the shape by again shoving Deeney out on the right to provide a different kind of threat, and then taking the initiative by bringing on an extra striker to chase a game that at one point looked in danger of running away from us altogether, was bold and justly rewarded with three points.

3- No small respect is due to Leicester; having looked a little bit feeble in the first half, they came out like wild dogs in the second half. If the penalty award was generous, it was earned by a bullish determination to get back into the game which persisted beyond the equaliser, buoyed by a noisy following that filled the away end (either that or it was half full, with each visitor disposing of redundant extra layers on the adjacent seat – difficult to tell from our end…). Key in keeping the back door shut was Jack Hobbs, who on two or three occasions threw himself in the path of a critical pass as we broke (albeit, as my temporary neighbour pointed out, looking a little less comfortable with the more routine, less last-ditch requirements of his role, recalling Jay DeMerit).

If there’s a criticism, it’s that the rapid rebuilding has a touch of the Viallis about it… as if Eriksson has come in and dismissed what was a half-decent squad in favour of a load of more expensive signings who come from the top flight and must therefore be better. A little harsh, perhaps – you’d have Kyle Naughton over Patrick Blondeau every day of the week – but it doesn’t feel like a particularly organic revolution. Perversely, Steve Howard prevails, if only in a comedy cameo that saw him give away countless fouls, knock people over and get booked in the process.

4- Not quite sure what’s provoked the more aggressive stewarding in the Rookery, but can’t help but feel that telling a steward to “get a proper job” is hardly going to diffuse a situation. This is pathetic enough when perpetrated by a half-witted smirking teenager; the forty-something moron that trotted out the line during the second half confrontations really ought to have known better.

5- It goes without saying that a first win in eight is a Good Thing, but this could prove to be a pivotal victory… with QPR away next week, and Preston suddenly not looking like cannon fodder, another defeat could have left things looking very iffy indeed. Instead, we’re back in the top half of the table. Those raucous celebrations were fully justified.



1. NickB - 05/12/2010

Absolutely terrific match and a denouement that was all the sweeter for being so unexpected. You weren’t the only one to go arse over tip in the orgasmic celebrations, Matt.
My son observed that he couldn’t remember celebrating a goal so wildly in years, and it was worth the dejection brought about by the Leicester fightback – wild dogs a great simile -to get the high at the end.
Thought much of our play in the first half was sublime and that McGinn was particularly outstanding throughout this period, with the entire midfield & DG exceptional in their movement and crisp passing.
Good that we have a top corner taker at last, too.
This really is a great league to play in.

2. DM - 05/12/2010

My ear is still ringing from the yelling…. Geddinthere !!

3. sam - 05/12/2010

Agree on Mackay subsitutions being well timed and planned. Deeney did make it a lot narrower (should he lead the line with Graham in the hole?). I also thought that Andrew Taylor had an excellent game. Does Loach not do crosses and do he and Alec not bother with where to stand when freekicks are taken? That said, an excellent and much needed 3 points…

Gin n Tonic - 06/12/2010

I can’t help but think that Loach is the cause of our defensive errors. Seems whoever plays in front of him the defence still lacks confidence. Is it confidence in their own ability or that of the player behind them?

He seems to have little organisational skills, communicates poorly, is slow coming off his line and for me gets beats from distance too easy. If £3M really is on the table from Spuds I say take it now! There was once instance on Sat where there was only him a Marriapa in the box (no opposition) and still the Keeper let the defender deal with it, he has to come for that surely?

I also worry how much of this is Sir Alec Chamberlains’ doing? What I mean by that is When Hitchcock was the GK coach Lee was regarded as one of the best talents outside of the top flight, he has since regressed and in my opinion Loach hasn’t really pushed on. Don’t get me wrong Alec is a legend but is he a good coach?

I know people will point to Foster but can he really take any credit, after all, Ben was regularly returning to Manchester to be guided by Sir Tony Coton. In comparison I really can’t remember a game when Loach earned us the points with a MoM performance. Sure he has made good saves but I can’t remember a game where I felt he has won us that one.

Johnny Boy - 08/12/2010

Remember, Hitchcock took Lee off to Blackburn for a year and I don’t think he even made the bench so is he a better coach than Sir Alec??

4. rousman - 05/12/2010

DG’s best game for a while (seem’s to prefer the lone striker role)McGinn proved yesterday that he is a much better player than a lot of fan’s think he is. The penalty for there first goal was a little harsh given that Taylor (who showed once again what a very good player he is}was very close to the ball when there player hit it. A welcome 3 point’s now for the big one QPR (they must lose at home soon ??)

Harefield Hornet - 06/12/2010

The QPR supporters in my local are genuinely nervous about next Friday, which obviously says more about their recent results against us than their current unbeaten run. The fact they avoided defeat yet again by the match at Hull being postponed sets it all up nicely. We have nothing to lose on Friday – please God let it be us!!!!!!

Harefield Hornet - 14/12/2010

There is a God.

5. leggattshorn - 05/12/2010

Being in the Rookery it was difficult to be too be too objective about the penalty, although Matt’s “generous” seemed about right. Having had the benefit of seeing it on the telly it was a complete gift, would that penalty have been given the same way in the 1st half in front of a silent Rookery. No chance. The ref followed the roar of the Leicester fans. That said a fine 3-2, a season ago we would have lost that by a good few, even from 2-0 at half time, hugely encouraging result.

6. Sequel - 05/12/2010

Great game, great result and an interesting innovation: sounding the alarm prior to the first goal.
Mr Bill White has left the building!

7. Marcus - 05/12/2010

McGinn played some really excellent through balls – directed forwards, along the ground, well-weighted to the feet of the striker (or the space into which the striker’s feet should move) – incisive balls far more dangerous than a Eustace dink or a standard Championship punt up the channel.

Having said that, Eustace had one of the best games I have seem from him in terms of footballing skills rather than just leadership/tackling. Had time on te ball, created space and passed simply (not too many dinks!). Cowie and Mutch played their part too as did most of the others – isn’t Graham phenomenal?

Cowie had a real go at Loach. Loach can make some great reaction saves but I think causes nervousness among the defenders (and the Watford crowd!).

What a great game for the spectator, especially the Watford spectator – especially the Watford spectator seated near the rather unpleasant Leicester away fans.

I felt really proud of Watford. I thought of the capital cost of our whole squad (vs Leicester’s), of the wages earned by Watford’s players (versus Leicester’s), of the experience of Malky McKay (versus Sven) etc etc – and saw our lads, admittedly playing at home, match and outplay Leicester and our Manager make decent, attacking timely substitutions.

Then I recalled that Leicester with their new manager, Chairman-owner, signings were racing up the table and had won 5 out of the last 7 games. While Watford have a disinterested major shareholder and are in the media spotlight re takeover talks again, and had won 0 of our last 7 games.

It felt good yesterday.

8. SteveG - 05/12/2010

I certainly manage to pick my games! Having been up at Barnsley last week (and t’were bloody cold up there as well), a game about which adjectives such as ‘dour’ and ‘resilient’ come to mind, not to mention ‘goalless’and maybe even ‘a bit lucky’, I then go and miss a five goal thriller.

From the reports it sounds as though this one could be psychologically very important – to snatch a late winner after surrendering a two goal lead is not something we’ve come to associate with recent Watford efforts, so all credit for not buckling under the pressure.

A bit of confidence and self-belief at this stage would be very welcome after a sticky patch…and I thought McGinn did well at Barnsley last week as well. He’s looking to be a useful acquisition.

9. ramsgate horn - 06/12/2010

thank god for a win

10. Johnny Boy - 06/12/2010

What a good start to December and how good is it to leave the Vic with a spring in your step and a song in your heart or was it just the chants from the Rookery still rining in my ears after that 85th minute wonder goal.
A couple of other positives – No goals from open play by the opposition and, I thought, Scott is looking more secure.
( PS – Weekend made complete when that right wing ex tory MP disguised as a lovable old aunt finally got the boot from ‘stictly’)

11. Andy - 06/12/2010

There’s nothing like a good winner a few minutes from time to warm the cockles! Shows that the lads will keep on going.

Not to sound too much like a TV pundit but…all credit to the lads and the gaffer.

12. Red - 06/12/2010

Great comments, but nobody has mentioned what looked like, from where I was sitting (in the Rous stand,at the other end) a definite penalty on Sordell. Was it? I was pleased that you long sufferers could enjoy a Watford goal celebration-good is’nt it. There’s more to come if we continue to play like that.

13. Gin n Tonic - 06/12/2010

Jury still out on McGinn, lightweight in the middle, goes missing wide. If he can only play in ‘the hole’ then in my opinion he is a very limited player. He is young maybe he will develop. He can start with a diet of steak and eggs and getting down the gym.

Matt Rowson - 07/12/2010

I agree that he looks uncomfortable out wide – less “going missing” than tending to drift inside. Square peg, round hole. I’d also agree that he could do with a bit more physical strength. But much as he’s not the finished article yet, the jury should be swinging towards a majority verdict. He’s tidy, clever, and attacks the box really well. Going to be a very decent player.

NickB - 07/12/2010

We must have been watching different games, Gin

14. Joons - 08/12/2010

Gin n Tonic – think you’ve been consuming too much of your namesake, my friend. McGinn has impressed me this season – uses the ball well, turns well from trouble and a nice passing range. Playing him behind DG gives him the space he needs, and I like his knack of arriving late in the box looking to score goals, too.

15. PDF - 09/12/2010

What’s the view on Deeney? I am still not impressed and his miss at 2-1 was, from where I was sat, shocking.
I just don’t see what others seem to

Matt Rowson - 09/12/2010

Firstly he’s not the finished product. Walsall helped themselves by claiming we paid £650k for their player of the season, but not him particularly – we paid about half that up front. If he were a big strong centre forward already scoring lots of goals, he’d have cost an awful lot more.

His finishing leaves something to be desired, but for me he’s strong, aggressive, surprisingly tidy… but very raw. He reminds me of Gifton in some ways – lots of strength and other attributes, not quite sure how to make best use of them. His goal against Reading was absolutely terrific, exactly what you want a centre forward to be doing.

Also worth highlighting that he didn’t train last week because of illness, which is apparently the only reason that he didn’t start again on Saturday.

16. DM - 10/12/2010

There’s an easier comparison to be made with the young version of Tommy Mooney, circa 94-95.. Once Mooney learnt how to channel and use his strength and aggression he took some stopping, but for the first few years after his permanent signing there was maximum effort with little reward. I see that in Troy Deeney right now. There’s been enough flashes to suggest there’s a Championship striker in there, but he’s going to need time.

17. PDF - 10/12/2010

He reminds you of the great GNW. Blimey Matt, I can see some of your points, but he’s nothing like the big man (IMHO of course).
He reminds me of someone who often looks a little lost and not quite sure where he should be playing – so anyone from a number of our strikers between 1987 and 1996.

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