Month: January 2004

17th January 2004- New Division One, Watford 1 Crystal Palace 5

The Hornets were looking for some cheer following their FA Cup exit at the hands of Chelsea in midweek but Palace were in no mood to oblige.

Where to start, really. This was an absolute horror, make no mistake. The repercussions could be catastrophic. That there are positives to be drawn from the performance, that we have played worse, significantly worse, this season perhaps makes it all the more horrific.

As I put it to my dad on the way back from the ground: a team of Keith Dublins could not have done any worse.

14th January 2004- FA Cup Third Round Replay, Chelsea 4 Watford 0

Chelsea brushed aside Watford to book a fourth round tie with Scarborough.

The Watford manager Ray Lewington wished Scarborough good luck in a tone of comic pity, yet his own side took credit for the vim shown despite the unavailability of their injured forward Heidar Helguson. The Icelander was rumbustious in the 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road that had slotted into a sequence of troubled games for Chelsea.

This should be no surprise. After all, it’s what everyone expected to happen, what was tacitly being written into the history books before the game kicked off. The surprise was the draw in the first game, a game we might even have won… and the enormity of that achievement was only underlined by the degree to which we were ultimately outclassed in this replay.

https://www.soccerbase.com/matches/results.sd?date=2004-01-14

3rd January 2004- FA Cup Third Round, Watford 2 Chelsea 2

Watford produced an outstanding display to secure a lucrative FA Cup third round replay at Chelsea.

Rich pickings for Watford

Desailly left chasing shadows as Hornets provide the sting

This was astonishing. I mean, it was many things, and you can find a convenient list under “magnificent” in your thesaurus. But it was astonishing, first and foremost. There will be some comments about how the performance throws the rest of our under-achieving season into sharp relief, but they’ll miss the point. The point being that we could not possibly have expected eleven players to over-achieve in such an extraordinary manner. Not to that extent. Not for that long. Way beyond “spirited”, this was a brief and tenuous, but very real, bridging of that impossible gulf. It happened. Even more remarkably, it happened for ninety minutes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003%E2%80%9304_FA_Cup