Queens Park Rangers had to wait for this moment. Their previous appearance in the FA Cup fifth round had come at Wimbledon in 1997 and it is doubtful whether any club has since endured a more dismal record in the competition. The London club had won only four ties – each of them in the third round – before this season.
Month: February 2019
A lot happened in both the lead up and aftermath of this game so I’ve tried to provide a bit of context which is shown below in bold.
Pre Match Articles
Post Match Articles
Pre Match Articles
Marco Silva: Independent inquiry into Everton’s alleged illegal approach for former Watford boss ongoing
Post Match Articles
After Troy Deeney had appeared to stoke the flames ahead of the encounter at a Watford fans’ forum, Gray made the most of the only moment of real quality in the game when he converted Will Hughes’ cut-back 20 minutes into the second period, scoring his fourth goal of the season.
Gray was a Silva signing early in the Portuguese’s short stay at Vicarage Road, which began in May 2017 and went sour in November that year when he was prevented from going to Goodison. Watford sacked him in January last year amid tapping-up suggestions as their form nosedived. The amiable Javi Gracia took over to restore stability – “he’s better than you” sang the home fans to Silva to emphasise a point backed up by the league table.
Pre Match Report
Post March Report
Before the match, the Watford captain, Troy Deeney, had distanced himself from comments he made at a fans forum this week where he promised to kick Everton’s players. Yet with passions running high in this part of Hertfordshire, as the chief executive, Scott Duxbury, said he would not engage with Silva in the opposition dugout, some supporters greeted their former manager with yellow inflatable snakes.
The Troy Deeney ‘comments’ mentioned above came from a Fan’s Forum which took place in London one evening in the week leading up to the Everton game.
Andy Lewers of the brilliant Hornet’s Nest blog and Love Sport Radio live tweeted what was said by those at the forum. Click on the tweet below to see the whole thread from the evening.
He later provided more details on what was said in a post on facebook.
The media then mis-quoted some of this which led to Silva’s motivation comments. This was how the Evening Standard reported the forum…
Troy addressed the mis-reporting of his comments on the morning of the game
Andy then talked about the controversy in his usual post match blog.
Now, you will no doubt be aware that some of Troy’s comments from the evening were picked up and published in the national media.
Many of you will have read my tweets quoted in the papers. My intention was purely to keep Watford fans who weren’t able to attend the evening up to date with what was going on.
Sadly, some of Troy’s comments were taken out of context. They were tongue-in-cheek, exactly what you’d expect from the Watford captain, there was no malice in anything that he said and you could tell he had genuine respect for Marco Silva and Everton.
I was perhaps naive in thinking that tweeting Troy’s comments wouldn’t have had consequences. Lesson learnt.
To be fair to Silva (not that I really want to be) he told 5 Live’s Vicki Sparks in his post match interview that he hadn’t really believed the reporting of Deeney’s comments and that Troy clarified them when they spoke before the game. (Apologies for the poor audio quality)
The atmosphere in the ground before kick-off was brittle. I must confess that I didn’t notice the widely-celebrated playlist, but there was no missing Emma Saunders’ pointed welcome to the visiting head coach over the tannoy.
As we walked along Vicarage Road away from the ground, we could see something going on by the Everton coaches. There was a crowd by the cemetery wall looking in and first reports were that there had been a stabbing, although that was proved wrong after the game. But two Watford fans were hospitalised, one with a nasty head injury. As someone who started to go to football matches in 1979, these scenes were seen on a weekly basis in those days but had become a rarity in recent times. I really hope that it remains that way.
The trouble mentioned was widely reported.
It was Brighton who were almost celebrating a winner 10 minutes from time. Gross’s inviting cross from the left was met by a flicked header from Locadia but Foster somehow leapt to turn it behind. He followed up that save by unconventionally keeping out Duffy’s acrobatic attempt with his feet and then smothered an effort from the onrushing Andone. Yves Bissouma was also narrowly off-target in the dying moments.
Much as you want to win, there’s always something thrilling about being in someone else’s ground when a game that’s in the balance suddenly tips and the noise starts echoing around the stands. Sets the adrenaline going, makes eventual victory all the more vivid. The noise at the Amex still seems to carry with it something of what this club nearly became, of building bonfires and Hereford and all of that. It’s still there, the knowledge that none of this might’ve existed. The pre-match build-up offers somewhat one-sidedly edited highlights of previous meetings, and the big screen malfunctions to obscure half of the picture, which seems a fitting reminder of the sightlines from both the away corner at the Goldstone and the temporary seating at Withdean. It’s thirty years since I was a student here; more than twenty since Fans United. This is a brilliant ground for a proud city. We should all count our blessings more often.
The most entertaining moment of the first half came on the half hour as Holebas battled with March on the wing and ended up giving away the first corner of the game. In typical Jose manner he then walked towards the goal to defend the set piece, looking furious as only he can. He was looking for someone or something to blame, and suddenly focussed on his gloves which were ripped from his hands and thrown behind the goal line. I realise that this loses a lot in translation, but it caused great amusement to the Holebas fans in our party.