As so often with Brendan Rodgers, the reality was greyer than the eye-catching press release. If Vicarage Road was ever able to summon up a tabloid-friendly “hate mob”, then someone’s evidently mislaid the pitchforks and flaming torches in the years since; the lurid pre-match hype conjured up some exciting images – heads on spikes for goalposts, that kind of thing – but it’s remarkably hard to get genuinely angry about a dull, stumpy man in a raincoat. He’s not got a career in pantomime to fall back on, put it that way.
The game was as good as over by half-time after early goals from John Eustace and Jordon Mutch were followed by Marvin Sordell’s effort. Adrian Mariappa extended the lead early in the second half before Millwall briefly fluttered into life through Liam Trotter’s goal. However, Danny Graham snuffed out the threat of an unlikely comeback before Martin Taylor scored a late sixth to put the seal on an emphatic success.
An afternoon deserving of old-fashioned BSaD ratings, then: fives all round reflecting both the unified discipline of the performance and the many individual triumphs within it. Of those triumphs, you want to salute those who’ve had a bit of stick lately, justified or not: Jordon Mutch, Don Cowie, Stephen McGinn. But it’s difficult to get beyond one stark fact: that John Eustace bossed this game like Mr Bronson with a loudhailer.
Championship table from the evening of 11th September 2010