Monthly Archives: February 2006

25th February 2006- Championship, Watford 2 Cardiff City 1

Ricardo Scimeca’s late blunder gifted Watford the win against visiting promotion rivals Cardiff City.

We started smartly and very positively, no punting to the touchline this week, just some neat simple passes which reaped almost instant rewards – though not from Eagles’ first touch forty-five yards out, despite this being greeted with cries of “Shoot!” Our first attack won a corner and led to the Hammer’s best effort of the whole match, which whistled past the far post after less than a minute’s play. But almost for the next eighty-nine, it seemed, the ball avoided the muddy pitch as much as possible, and was thus at the wind’s mercy. Despite spending most of the first half in the Cardiff penalty area, it also avoided the net, despite us forcing corner after corner, and some great crosses coming in from Eagles on the right. Cardiff’s defending was frantic early on, the ball even winding up near my old seat in the Upper Rous, which is more than it ever managed when I sat there week after week a few years ago. Where Darius would normally be alongside Marlon, up stepped Malky Mackay, and his was the eleventh minute header that first looked like breaking the deadlock. It beat Cardiff keeper Alexander, unlike many later efforts, but rebounded off the bar and Demerit couldn’t get his own header past Alexander’s impressive reach.

18th February 2006- Championship, Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Watford 1

Watford climbed above Leeds to claim third place in the Championship table thanks to Chris Eagles first-half goal.

Watford were hanging on for half-time against lowly Brighton when Eagles moved on to a header from the home goalkeeper and drove the ball straight back into the unguarded net from around 45 yards. “Chris didn’t have very far to run back to the halfway line, that’s for sure,” said the manager Adrian Boothroyd.

“We’ll never play you again!” chirped the chorus, briefly and tediously. There was a time when that was very nearly true. Not now, you suspect: you wouldn’t want to book your hotel for next season’s Brighton versus Watford fixture, but we’ll be back before too long, unless Adrian Boothroyd’s implausible journey becomes more extraordinary still. Perhaps the truth is that we’ll never play here again. Perhaps we’ll return to a club with its future certain and secure, at long last.

14th February 2006- Championship, Leeds United 2 Watford 1

BBC: Robbie Blake’s double-strike sank nine-man Watford as Leeds leapfrogged the Hornets into third place.

Daily Telegraph, 15 Feb 2006
Independent, 15 Feb 2006
Evening Standard, 15 Feb 2006

BSAD: Word had already reached us in the chatter beneath the stand that Gavin Mahon had succumbed to the dead leg inflicted by Saturday’s referee. With Matthew Spring already missing (due to a clause in his transfer that is as graceless as much of Leeds’ conduct this evening) and with Dom Blizzard still absent we fielded a central midfield of eighteen year-old Al Bangura and full-back James Chambers. Chris Eagles was back in the side in place of Anthony McNamee; otherwise it was the same line-up that faced Coventry.

BSAD: Jordan Stewart’s poor header back to Foster allowed Hulse to intercept, push the ball past the on-rushing Foster and land in a heap on the floor. From my appalling view, five rows back at the other end, I couldn’t tell you if Foster made much contact with Hulse, but what I’m pretty sure of is that Hulse was never going to reach the ball for a second touch. Referee Mike Jones must have seen otherwise though and bowed to home pressure by sending Foster for an early bath.

11th February 2006- Championship, Watford 4 Coventry City 0

Ashley Young scored one and set up two more as Watford thrashed Coventry.

Watford are the form side in the Championship and they continued their good run with a victory romp inspired by Ashley Young. He opened the scoring and set up goals for Marlon King and Darius Henderson before Jay DeMerit wrapped up the points.

Eighteen goals in six games, six wins on the trot and the first sell-out for six seasons. Yet Watford’s manager Adrian Boothroyd says: “I don’t want anybody to get excited.” Who is he trying to kid?

Eleven goals in three games, five wins in a row, third in the table and Sheffield United suddenly looking human and utterly catchable meant that the challenge provided by the arrival of Coventry City, on a good run themselves, was clear. Could Boothroyd keep his players’ feet on the ground, stave off complacency and follow up the excellent win at Bramall Lane with another three points? More questions being asked of this Watford team, and more answers being emphatically provided.

Independent, 12 Feb 2006
Sunday Mirror, 12 Feb 2006

6th February 2006- Championship, Sheffield United 1 Watford 4
Independent, 7 Feb 2006
Mirror, 7 Feb 2006
Evening Standard, 7 Feb 2006
Daily Telegraph, 7 Feb 2006

We were seated, for the first time in a number of seasons, in the lower tier behind the goal and whilst the view was still reasonable the lack of ceiling to trap and project the noise did little for the atmosphere in the away end. Nor did its sparse population, particularly out on the flanks where we were situated… the prospect of a longish midweek trip for a game on Sky in February had been enough to leave plenty of spaces in seats around us, giving the stand the air of our away ends during Kenny Jackett’s season in the Third Division nearly a decade ago. On the pitch, however, things have moved on quite a lot since then…

If the first half was a welcome surprise, the second half is nothing short of exceptional, perhaps the finest forty-five of the season. Within moments of the restart an excellent looping ball out of midfield gives Marlon something to chase and he charges past the hapless defender, brings the ball inside and crashes it into the net. 2-0! I am kneeling in front of the TV arms aloft, vaguely aware that Mate and Wife are probably making faces behind my back, but who cares. 2-0!