Tag Archives: Dean Gerken

A Win with no Caveats

Abdi on the attack

Abdi on the attack

There was a cricket match going on at the West Herts, which is always a sad sight as it means that the season is nearly over.  When I arrived to get my programme from Doreen at the Bill Mainwood programme hut, she had run out.  This interruption to my pre-match routine always puts my nerves on edge as I assume that the rest of the afternoon will go equally badly.

Team news was that Sannino had made one change with Ranegie replacing the injured Anya.  So the starting line-up was Almunia, Angella, Ekstrand, Hoban, Riera, McGugan, Tözsér, Abdi, Faraoni, Ranegie and Deeney.

Riera being congratulated on his goal

Riera being congratulated on his goal

The first goalmouth action was an odd juggling match at the left hand post between Almunia and Wordsworth which, fortunately, ended with Manuel knocking the ball out for a corner.  A lovely Watford breakaway started with Riera passing to Faraoni who advanced and played a through ball for Ranegie who was stopped by a brilliant tackle on the edge of the box.  There was danger at the other end of the pitch as a shot rebounded off Ekstrand to Williams whose shot was blocked by Almunia.  Watford took the lead on 21 minutes with a lovely goal, which started with a brilliant interception by Hoban who found McGugan, he released Riera who advanced before cutting inside and curling a wonderful

Tozser takes a corner

Tozser takes a corner

shot into the corner.  From kick-off, Ipswich tried to strike back as Williams broke into the box and played a low cross that nobody could get on the end of.  Abdi played in Ranegie, who mishit a shot which fell to Riera but his shot flew past the far post.  Then Deeney did well to hold the ball up before passing to McGugan who whipped in a cross that was put out for a corner just before it reached Ranegie.

At half time, it was great to see my lovely friend, Sarah, on the pitch with the NCS youngsters who had raised money for the Teenage Cancer Trust with an event at the museum.

Deeney congratulates Angella

Deeney congratulates Angella

Ipswich started the second half brightly as Nouble broke into the box and fired a shot over the bar.  Watford nerves were jangling as a ball bounced dangerously around the box before being cleared off the line by Hoban.  Then McGugan released Deeney who controlled the ball before shooting, but his effort was straight at Gerken.  The visitors were level five minutes into the half as a cross from Nouble was flicked past Almunia by Wordsworth who was wandering lonely as a cloud in our box.  Soon after, Deeney was prevented from reaching an Angella cross by a push that went unpunished.  Angella then made a rare error in losing out to Murphy who was stopped by a great saving tackle from Ekstrand.  Angella was booked soon after for a push on Williams who had been winding him

Tozser breaks into the box to set up McGugan

Tozser breaks into the box to set up McGugan

up for a while and whose play-acting was seriously getting on my nerves.  Just after the hour mark, Ipswich should have taken the lead as a header from Hyam was pushed up onto the bar by Almunia and bounced out.  After these scares, it was a relief to see Watford score again as Angella appeared out of nowhere to nod a Tözsér free-kick past Gerken.  His mental celebration is becoming a bit of a trademark, but always makes me smile.  We had hardly sat down from celebrating that goal when Tözsér broke into the box and cut the ball back to McGugan who shot past Gerken into the far corner for Watford’s third.  Given the start that Ipswich had made to the half, they must have wondered what had hit them.  It was Watford who looked like increasing the lead as Angella bust a gut

McGugan congratulated by his team mates

McGugan congratulated by his team mates

to get on the end of a Tözsér corner at the far post, but didn’t quite make it.  Then McGugan did really well to keep the ball in play on the sideline, cut in but shot well over.  With 10 minutes remaining, Abdi was replaced by Battocchio, it was so good to see the youngster make such a rapid recovery from what had looked like a nasty injury two weeks ago.  Green replaced Wordsworth for the visitors.  A ball over the top from Tözsér was won in the air by Deeney who continued to fight off the attentions of the defender before getting in a cross that deserved more than to be blocked.  The evil Williams went down theatrically again and this time earned Tözsér a booking.  As a fan in the stands most of my shouting is reserved for encouraging our lads so I was greeted with open mouthed surprise from my sister and our neighbours in the row in front as I let Williams know in no

Angella  challenges almost out of shot :-)

Angella challenges almost out of shot 🙂

uncertain terms what I thought of him.  Sannino made another substitution as Pudil replaced Riera.  A Williams cross was met with a header by Nouble that the attentions of Hoban ensured was directed over the bar.  There was a final rash of substitutions as Murray replaced McGugan for the home side while Hyam and the obnoxious Williams were replaced by Watford’s old friend, Hunt, and Taylor for the visitors.  In the final minute of the game, Hunt tried a shot from distance which bounced off the roof of the net.  Then Ranegie and Murray combined to feed Battocchio, whose shot was blocked and rebounded to Murray who volleyed just over.  After the start that Ipswich had to the half, I had been concerned that this would be another disappointing afternoon, but the two quick goals killed them off and they didn’t muster another chance worthy of the name.

Post match congratulations

Post match congratulations

In recent games, I have been drawn to watching Gabriele Angella’s reaction at the end of the match.  When we lose, he is livid and his team mates are better staying well out of his way.  But at the end of this game he joined a number of the others in front of the Lower Rous.  It was so lovely to see so many players signing autographs and Gabriele was the last to leave.

We have had a couple of decent home wins recently in which any praise of the team has been tempered with comments regarding the poor quality of the opposition.  The win over Ipswich had no such caveat.  They are a decent team and we thoroughly deserved that win.

The King is Dead. Long Live the King

After the news of Zola’s resignation this week, our party travelled to Ipswich with rather heavy hearts.  Last season was a lot of fun and, while this one has been disappointing so far, there is a feeling of a story only half told for which we will never know the ending.

The new man in the dugout

The new man in the dugout

The team lined up with a 3-5-2 formation and the first piece of good news was that Sannino’s first game would feature Lloyd Doyley and would see the return of Angella after injury.  The new gaffer also put Almunia back in goal.  So the starting line-up was Almunia, Ekstrand, Angella, Doyley, Pudil, Murray, Thorne, McGugan, Cassetti, Fabbrini and Deeney.  Our new manager was looking very elegant on the touchline, although I thought that the club really should have provided him with a coat to cover his smart suit in the pouring rain.

The welcome return of Doyley

The welcome return of Doyley

The first action of note was a McGugan free-kick at some distance from the goal, which was disappointingly soft and straight at Gerken.  On 15 minutes, Cassetti beat a defender on the wing and put in a cross that was met with a headed clearance.  Then Murphy tried a cross into the Watford box, but Almunia came out to punch clear.  On 21 minutes, a free-kick from McGugan was cleared only as far as Angella whose shot flew well over the bar.  Then McGoldrick threatened down the other end dribbling into the box and flicking the ball harmlessly past the far post.  On 25 minutes, Deeney headed a Cassetti cross back to Fabbrini whose shot rebounded off the corner of the post and the crossbar.  Then a shot from Cresswell was blocked by Ekstrand for the first corner of the game.  The first really dangerous on target attempt came just before the half hour from

A pass to Murray

A pass to Murray

McGoldrick whose shot was tipped over by Almunia.  From the corner, Murphy headed the ball to Nouble whose header went over the bar.  Then McGugan played a one-two with Fabbrini, but delayed too long before shooting and was tackled.  With 10 minutes remaining in the half, Murphy headed wide from a McGoldrick cross.  On 39 minutes, Ipswich tried a free-kick routine which clearly needs more practice as Skuse passed to McGoldrick on the left of the box, presumably to avoid the wall but he blasted the ball over the bar.  Then McGoldrick fed Cresswell who crossed into the box, but there was nobody to get on the end of it and the ball drifted wide.  Just before half time, Nouble broke through the defence and unleashed a shot that Almunia parried.  So we reached half-time goalless, without a single Watford shot on target.  On the way back to the stand at the end of the half time break, one of the screens was showing the score as 2-0 to Watford.  If only.

Thorne on defensive duties

Thorne on defensive duties

Early in the second half, McGugan played a through ball to Pudil who crossed for Fabbrini, but the Italian was closed down before he could shoot.  Then it was Fabbrini’s turn to play a through ball to Murray whose shot was put out for a corner by Gerken.  On 55 minutes, this was our first shot on target.  On the hour Pudil fouled Chambers who rolled over a few times prompting shouts of “off, off, off” from the home crowd which seemed to convince the referee to show a yellow card.  On 66 minutes, Fabbrini passed back to McGugan, who played a lovely through ball to Deeney, but Troy was well offside. 

Lloydy on the attack

Lloydy on the attack

Then McGugan battled to keep the ball on the wing and put in a cross for Deeney to run on to, but his shot rebounded off a defender.  On 70 minutes, a nothing ball into the box bounced up and hit Angella’s arm and the referee pointed to the spot.  The Watford players surrounded the ref to argue their case and Ekstrand was booked for his protests.  McGoldrick stepped up to take the spot kick and buried the ball in the bottom corner to shouts of “cheat” from the travelling Hornets.  With 15 minutes remaining, Battocchio replaced Murray.   There were shouts for a penalty at the other end as a Deeney cross appeared to be carried in the box before being cleared, but the referee didn’t give it. 

Troy celebrates his goal

Troy celebrates his goal

With 10 minutes remaining Anya replaced Pudil.  The equalizer came soon after as a cross from Cassetti was deflected into the path of Deeney, but he still did really well to reach it and prod it past Gerken.  At this point some idiot child let off a smoke bomb at the top of the stand.  Despite how windy it was, the stand is quite enclosed so the smoke took quite some time to dissipate.  I wasn’t particularly close to it and it made me cough so I can only hope that it choked the idiot who set it off.  On the pitch Forestieri replaced Fabbrini.  With a couple of minutes remaining, Ipswich had a great chance to win the game as Almunia parried a shot from McGoldrick only as far as Hyams whose header crashed back off the crossbar.  Then Watford had their own chance to win it as McGugan passed to Anya on the wing but he curled his shot wide of the far post.  In injury time McGugan put the ball into the box but neither Deeney nor Battocchio could get on the end of it. 

Thanking the fans

Thanking the fans

So, everything changes, everything stays the same.  That was our fifth away draw in a row and we only had two shots on target.  Sannino has only been with the club for 4 days so it will be some time before see his how his team will play.  We certainly looked tighter at the back, but the return of Angella and Doyley contributed to that and our forward line still appears unconvincing.  The visits of Millwall and QPR to Vicarage Road will be very interesting.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderful 2014.