Tag Archives: Jack Hunt

A Rather Dull Three Goal Win

 

Gathering for a corner

Gathering for a corner

After Saturday’s disaster against Norwich, it was good to have a midweek game to, hopefully, get back to winning ways.  Team news was that we were starting with four central defenders and without a recognized winger.  The starting XI was Gomes, Hoban, Angella, Ekstrand, Cathcart, Tözsér, Watson, Layun, Abdi, Ighalo and Deeney lining up in a 4-3-1-2 formation.

The first chance of the game fell to the home side as Ighalo beat a defender on the byline, crossed for Deeney, who couldn’t get a touch, the ball was cleared to Tözsér whose shot was blocked.  The next incident of interest was an Angella pass that was annoyingly intercepted by the referee who then redeemed himself by falling over.  Honestly, I have no idea why a referee falling over is the height of comedy, but it is.  Abdi won the ball, turned and played a lovely pass to Tözsér who fired over the bar.

 

Congratulating Ighalo

Congratulating Ighalo

Watford took the lead on 17 minutes.  If you are going to misplace a pass in midfield, then the last player that you want to pick it up is Ighalo with the form he is in at the moment.  The unfortunate Rotherham player was Arnason, Ighalo took advantage advancing on the goal before rounding the keeper and slotting the ball home.  The visitors tried to break back as Derbyshire crossed in the direction of Milsom, but Cathcart made sure he didn’t get to the ball and it drifted wide.  Watford should have increased their lead in the 24th minute as Abdi received a pass from Layun, advanced and shot but Collin managed to parry the ball, it came out to Deeney whose shot was also saved.  From the resulting corner, Ekstrand flicked the ball goalwards, but Collin pulled off another save.  Watford had had most of the possession in the first half hour, but gradually Rotherham got back into the game.  Ekstrand lost the ball to Derbyshire who advanced but shot straight at Gomes.  From a Pringle corner, Arnason had a free header but he directed it straight at the Watford keeper.  Just before half time, there was a half chance for Ighalo who was played in by Deeney but snatched at his shot and it flew over the bar.  So we reached half time a goal to the good, but it hadn’t been terribly entertaining.  We’d started the half with some quick passing moves which looked nice but hadn’t amounted to much and, as the half went on, we’d let the visitors get a foothold in the game.

Celebrating  Deeney's strike

Celebrating Deeney’s strike

Watford increased their lead early in the second half after Arnason stuck a leg out to trip Tözsér, who was on his way into the box.  The Icelander was booked and Tözsér stepped up to hit a ferocious free-kick which stung Collins’ palms, the ball fell to Ekstrand who squared for Deeney to tap it into the net.  The third Watford goal came almost immediately as a shot from Layun was parried to Ighalo who tucked it away.  Rotherham never looked like getting back into the game after this.  We could have been further ahead soon after from an unlikely source as Tommie Hoban broke into the box and shot over the bar.  I am reliably informed that this was a source of great amusement for Troy Deeney.  A rare attack from the visitors resulted in a corner which was punched clear by Gomes.  Abdi was the next to threaten the Rotherham goal but his shot from the edge of the area was caught by Collin.  On 67 minutes, Jokanovic made his first substitution replacing Layun with Munari.  Green found himself in the Watford box, but his shot was cleared into the stand by Cathcart.

Preparing for a free kick

Preparing for a free kick

Ighalo was not to get the chance of a hat trick as he was replaced by Vydra with 15 minutes remaining.  Rotherham’s best chance of a goal so far came with a shot from distance by Hammill that flew just wide of the far post.  At the other end, a trip on Abdi earned Smallwood a yellow card and Watford a free kick from which Tözsér went close to increasing the lead but the ball went just wide of the near post.  Abdi really should have scored Watford’s fourth but he volleyed Deeney’s cross over the bar.  Watford’s final substitution saw Deeney make way for Forestieri.  The visitors had a decent chance to pull a goal back as the ball was given away to Hammill who broke forward, his shot was turned around the post for a corner from which Derbyshire shot wide of the target.  Rotherham’s final goal attempt in normal time came from Clarke-Harris, but Gomes dropped to make the save.  There were 6 minutes of time added on, which suited nobody, but it did contain two more goal attempts from the Hornets.  First a shot from Vydra which was blocked by Collin.  In the dying moments Abdi really should have got on the scoresheet as he broke into the box but his shot rebounded off the post.

There was much complaining after the game because, convincing as the win had been, it was the dullest 3-0 imaginable.  The way the team had been set up meant there was no width and little free-flowing football.  Still a win is a win, the goal difference is improved and it is very tight at the top of the table.  Sometimes dull is good.

Trumping The Tykes

After the unpleasantness of the midweek trip to Doncaster, it was lovely to return to Vicarage Road on a gorgeous Spring day.  It was also great to see the progress of the new East Stand.  Signs are that it will be an impressive addition to the ground.  Team news was the return of Almunia after illness with McGugan and Faraoni coming in for Merkel and Ranegie.

Congratulating Battocchio on a beautiful strike

Congratulating Battocchio on a beautiful strike

Watford started well and had a decent chance in the second minute, but Deeney’s shot from the right of the area flew over the bar.  We were a goal up in the fifth minute as a Pudil cross was met with a horrible miskicked clearance that fell to Battocchio who curled a beautiful shot into the top corner.  It was one of those strikes that make you wish you had been sitting behind it.  But even from the opposite end of the ground it was a joy to behold.  Barnsley tried to strike back immediately as a free kick from Kennedy was met with a header from Nyatanga that flew over the bar.  We had another great chance as a cross from Pudil reached Faraoni in the middle of the area, but his shot was stopped by Steele at point-blank range.  Next Battocchio was tackled in the middle of the pitch and, as he lay on the ground, Deeney picked up the ball, played a short pass to

Celebrating Deeney's stirke

Celebrating Deeney’s stirke

Anya who found Faraoni, but his shot from a very tight angle was blocked.  A minute later, we doubled our lead as Pudil intercepted a pass and advanced upfield, he found McGugan in the box who knocked the ball to Anya who cut it back to Deeney who, with his back to goal, had time to turn and shoot past Steele.  We had another chance soon after as McGugan found Anya on the left but his shot was just over and he had been flagged offside anyway.  At the other end, Dawson broke free of the Watford defence and found Lawrence at the near post, but he stabbed the ball wide from a couple of inches out.  Then McGugan made an interception and went on a run down the middle of the pitch, but was eventually closed down.  On 35 minutes, Pudil was shown a yellow card for a foul on Frimpong.  Soon after, Barnsley failed to clear a Pudil cross, it fell to Deeney who tried an overhead kick that was easily gathered by Steele.  So we reached half time two goals to the good but with next to nothing having happened in the previous half hour.

Anticipating the arrival of a free-kick

Anticipating the arrival of a free-kick

At the start of the second half, Angella played McGugan in, but his shot was straight at Steele.  Barnsley launched a rare attack as Kennedy advanced and put in a cross.  Lawrence came flying in at the far post but got nowhere near connecting with the cross.  Mellis was penalized for a foul on Tozser, he reacted by slamming the ball down and earned a yellow card for his petulance.  On the hour, Barnsley made two substitutions as O’Grady and Noble-Lazarus replaced Lawrence and Frimpong.  Tozser played Anya in then ran into the box to meet the cross, but his header flew wide when it looked easier to hit the target.  McGugan’s return from injury was over after 63 minutes as he was replaced

Celebrating Merkel's goal

Celebrating Merkel’s goal

by Merkel.  The substitute was in action almost immediately as he clipped a shot goalwards and, with Deeney closing in, Steele came out to gather.  Barnsley launched a counter-attack which finished with Jennings trying a shot from distance that was well over the bar.  Anya got himself into a dangerous position but, instead of shooting, hit a poor low cross.  He made up for it soon after as he went on a run down the left, cut the ball back from the byeline, it took a slight deflection before reaching Merkel who buried it past Steele for Watford’s third goal of the afternoon.  As the temperature dropped in the stands, attention was drawn to the touchline where Sannino had dispensed of his jacket and was rolling up his sleeves for the rest of the game.  This attitude was in stark contrast to the

Lucas Neill

Marco Cassetti

torpor on the pitch.  With seven minutes remaining, Lucas Neill made his Watford debut replacing Doyley.  Barnsley had a great chance for a consolation goal as a long ball fell to Proschwitz on the edge of the area, he tried to chip Almunia, but his shot came back off the crossbar and Pudil’s challenge prevented him from hitting a follow-up shot.  From the corner, Mvoto headed wide.  Pudil made way for O’Nien to make his debut for the last couple of minutes of the game.  He made his mark immediately with a foul on Kennedy.  The last chance of the game fell to the visitors, but Almunia dropped to gather Proschwitz’s shot from a narrow angle.

Luke O'Nien on his debut

Luke O’Nien on his debut

After the final whistle, a number of the players went over to the Lower Rous and Tözsér and Angella were there for ages signing autographs.  The post-match discussions were mostly about how dull the game had been.  We had won it in the first 15 minutes and, despite a slight Barnsley fightback in the second half, they had been poor opposition and we were coasting for most of the rest of the game.  But it is churlish to complain about a 3-0 home win, especially as that is our fifth in the row.  O’Nien’s brief cameo was an absolute delight.  He has impressed in the youth games that I have seen this season and looks like a great prospect.  He was clearly thrilled to get on and was tormenting the poor Barnsley defenders, running around fighting for everything.

Next up is a trip to Wigan, which won’t be easy with their current form.  We haven’t won away since October, and I missed the trip to Huddersfield, so it would be a real treat for those that travel away to see a win.  But, when all is said and done, this season is over for us, so let’s just relax and enjoy the remaining games.