BSAD report: As the ball hit the net, Carlisle tore across the pitch with a red arrowhead of players in his wake and leapt into Boothroyd’s arms. The significance of the unity shown was unmistakeable, and in an early season crammed with warm and fuzzy, photo-album moments, this was the warmest and fuzziest of all: like a Furby in the microwave. There is some real team spirit here, despite the short time this side has been assembled, and I’d better learn not to fear for them too often with this kind of collective feeling.
In recent years, Reading have snatched the best of the points in these fixtures, but this season, under Adrian Boothroyd – not so long ago referred to as ‘who?’ – Watford have come up with a much better challenge.
After a successful start to the season against some mid-table teams, Reading were the first promotion-challenging side that Watford were to encounter, our toughest test so far, and a good sign of where the team would end up at the close of the season. It would also show that certain players, who had been questioned for their ability and right to a place in the starting line up, were more than able to play extremely well in this league, and prove their doubters wrong. This was an important match for everyone, it would tell us a lot about the new Watford FC.
BSAD report: The ‘Orns got off to what is becoming a customary bright start once the initial meet and greet stuff had finished and the ball was allowed to meet the turf. In an enjoyable difference from the usual pattern of these sort of games, we got an early lead and never looked back.
BSAD report: At long last, we’re seeing the results of spending some proper money on the squad: some of Adrian Boothroyd’s early work might’ve been for die-hard fans only, but recent additions have been unquestionably tremendous. There remains much work to be done on the training ground, of course…but the last two-and-a-half games have offered more than mere promise for the future, and we’re likely to be spared a repeat of the Vialli fiasco, waiting for months for cold water to “gel”. That’s not to say that we yet have enough strength in depth; it is, however, to applaud the manager for delivering the quality that he promised throughout the summer clear-out.
Another BSAD report: From the moment Malky Mackay and Ade Akinbiyi emerged side by side from the players’ tunnel at 2.56pm and, incredibly, Akinbiyi delivered a two-handed bar-room push to Malky’s chest like Mackay had just been chatting up Ade’s girlfriend, you absolutely knew, no question, that this was Family Day. Certainly it reminded me of parts of my family, and I’d be surprised if we’re all that different from most of you out there.
It’s difficult to know what to expect from this evening. The starting line-up is the eleven that finished at Plymouth, and the ferocity of the second half performance in Devon leaves me trying to contain my hopes for more of the same. Apart from anything else, our hosts are themselves coming off the back of an impressive win over Leeds just three days ago, and the paddock along the stand from us is busy and boisterous. Improbably, more of the same is exactly what we get.
Watford came back from two goals down earn a draw at Plymouth. Micky Evans had put Plymouth ahead when he nodded in an Akos Buzsaky cross before Tony Capaldi squeezed in a left-footed shot. Marlon King’s 18-yard drive pulled one back for Watford only for Paul Wotton to match his strike and restore Plymouth’s two-goal lead. But Ashley Young emerged as Watford’s hero when he curled in a free-kick and slotted in a shot to level.
There are small but significant changes to the line-up as compared to last weekend. James Chambers makes a return to the starting line-up in place of Jordan Stewart, who drops to the bench. Briefly I’m reminded of Betty’s bullish aside at the Fans’ Forum regarding his recruitment of two left-footed left-backs, but only briefly. And Gavin Mahon makes a most welcome return, if only to the bench in place of Toumani Diagouraga. Still no sign of Devaney, Griffiths or Junior, the latter absence in particular presumably of concern to the lad sitting three rows in front of us with the Brazilian’s name already emblazened across his shoulders. No Sietes either, although this doesn’t deter a boisterous bunch up the back from devoting a fair part of their repartee of new songs to the absentee Spaniard.