Month: June 2020

28th June 2020- Premier League, Watford 1 Southampton 3

Match Preview

Nigel Pearson insists he is not worried about Watford situation

Nigel Pearson does not want Watford to focus on specific games for points

Andre Gray one of three Watford players dropped after lockdown party

Referee: Michael Oliver
Paying Attendance: 0
Own goal (79), 1-3

Post Match

The Golden Boys have it all to do in the remaining six games of this nerve-shredding Premier League season after they allowed one of the more winnable games to slip by this afternoon.

Watford concede three at home to Southampton

Following their defeat at Burnley on Thursday evening head coach Nigel Pearson said his side lacked cohesion, but there was even less of it on show at Vicarage Road as the visiting team took all three points with relative ease.

Nigel Pearson says Watford ‘fighting for their lives’ after Southampton defeat

Ings curled home the opener from 20 yards following Will Smallbone’s pass. And he blasted home a second – his 18th Premier League goal of the season – after controlling Ben Foster’s poor throw before surging towards the box.

Watford were handed a lifeline on 79 minutes when Southampton defender Jan Bednarek put through his own net, but the Hornets’ hopes were extinguished three minutes later by James Ward-Prowse’s spectacular free-kick.

Minute by minute

Southampton were good value for their second consecutive away win, secured thanks to a sharp double from Ings and a trademark free-kick from James Ward-Prowse. The anxiety weighed heavily on Watford, who remain a point above 18th-placed Bournemouth, and defeat was not a good look given that Nigel Pearson had to drop three players following an alleged lockdown breach involving Nathaniel Chalobah and Domingos Quina reportedly attending a party hosted by Andre Gray. “Until I know all the facts I am not making any further comment on that situation,” Pearson said.

The investigation should not take long. Gray posted videos of the party on Instagram. His Watford team-mates who did play created virtually nothing of note for lone target man Troy Deeney, to whom they kept pumping long balls much to the delight of Southampton’s centre-backs Jan Bednarek and Vestergaard.

If, like me, you’ve spent far longer than is strictly healthy in front of televised kind-of-football over the last twelve days (yes, it’s really only been twelve days) you’ll almost certainly have come to the reassuring conclusion that our “rivals” in the musical chairs mini-league at the bottom really aren’t very good. Perhaps this should be no surprise, that teams in a relegation scrap are a bit crap. No doubt it was ever thus, we’ve just never studied a relegation battle quite so forensically. Never been able to, not actually needed to for some time…. the last time we were involved in anything resembling a relegation scrap was Malky’s first season ten years ago, a season that Tom Cleverley, Aidy Mariappa and Craig Cathcart all featured in.

Project restart continues to be a false start for Watford, as Jon, Jas and Mike gather in the aftermath of another damaging display, this time against in form Southampton. The boys don’t pull any punches in their assessment of a listless display in which Watford failed to record a single shot on target. This combined with a litany of errors mean that positivity is pretty thin on the ground; despite a heartwarming message from young Arlo.

25th June 2020- Premier League, Burnley 1 Watford 0

Match Pack

Burnley to face Watford with a number of first team players missing

Referee: Mike Dean
Paying Attendance: 0
First half
Second half
There weren’t many!

Post Match

Football can be a game of such terrifyingly fine margins. One minute, on the 66th to be precise, Dwight McNeill, the left winger, was on his own goal line clearing a header from Troy Deeney that would have put the Hornets deservedly in front at that point after the brightest of starts to the second half. Alas, six minutes later, and making the most of the reprieve, McNeill was doing what he was more renowned for and supplying a cross for Jay Rodriguez to head in the winning goal somewhat against the run of play.

Watford lose to Burnley at Turf Moor

Taking the weather into account, and the fact the home side were on the receiving end of a 5-0 defeat at Manchester City just three days prior to the match, it looked as if the Hornets would have the most positive mindset of the two sides, as well as the fresher legs. But it was Burnley who came out of the traps quickest and had the best of the first-half and really should have been ahead at the break.

Nigel Pearson thinks Watford failed to impose themselves at Burnley

Watford players assessed after Burnley defeat

Burnley manager Sean Dyche said it had “been an emotional week” after his side dealt a blow to Watford’s Premier League survival hopes The Clarets, who have had injury and player contract problems, were thrashed by Manchester City on Monday, with media reports questioning Dyche’s future at the club. To compound matters a banner reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ was towed by an aeroplane over Etihad Stadium during their match against City.

It was the old football cliche of a game of two half, with Burnley by far the better side in the first as Matej Vydra hit the post and Rodriguez had an effort cleared off the line by Craig Dawson.

Minute by minute

Cleverley failed to reappear for the second half, though Watford began with a greater determination to get forward, putting the home side under sustained pressure for the first time in the game. Not much came of it, apart from a wayward Will Hughes shot and James Tarkowski preventing Troy Deeney reaching a cross from Ismaila Sarr, but it was the first indication that the visitors might be interested in more than a point. Craig Cathcart might have done better when Pope made an unforced error and dropped a Will Hughes corner at his feet, though the substitute had his back to goal and after managing to turn could only come up with a shot that struck the now prostrate goalkeeper. Pope left his line and his area alertly to deal with a threatening break from Sarr 30 yards from goal, before Burnley had their biggest let-off, when Troy Deeney reached an Étienne Capoue corner with a goalbound header, only to find Dwight McNeil on defensive duty by a post and able to clear off the line.

A unique kick off time but an all too familiar tale for the Hornets, leaving Mike, Jon and Jas to sift through the wreckage of a dispiriting defeat away at Burnely. A predictably unhappy Mike is balanced out by a pragmatic Jason, but there is no denying the sombre tone in this one!

20th June 2020- Premier League, Watford 1 Leicester City 1

Match pack

Nigel Pearson urges Watford to concentrate only on Premier League survival

Paying Attendance: 0
Referee: Craig Pawson
First half
Second half
Dawson’s goal

Post Match

The Hornets’ players and supporters had waited 98 days for the Golden Boys to resume their Premier League season with this home fixture against the Foxes, but there were two seminal moments before a ball was even kicked this afternoon. After walking out to an eerily quiet Vicarage Road, the players held a moment’s silence for all those affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, before taking a knee on the referee’s whistle for Black Lives Matter. Both moments demonstrated unity between the teams and an understanding that some things, sometimes, must come before football.

Watford snatch late point against Leicester City in their first game back in the Premier League

Craig Dawson snatches a point for Watford late on against Leicester City

Watford players rated after late Leicester City drama

Craig Dawson said his first Watford goal was one of great importance

Nigel Pearson said Watford found things ‘not easy’ against Leicester without supporters

Two defenders scored late wondergoals as Watford and Leicester drew 1-1 at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

The only previous 1-1 draw in the Premier League, with both goals coming in or after the 90th minute, was between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates in April 2011.

Minute by minute

If the way Watford clambered back to their feet after Ben Chilwell’s heavyweight blow is how they mean to go on, Nigel Pearson can be confident his team will fight until the end. They refused to give in after falling behind to a cracking goal from Chilwell in the 90th minute and rescued a point just when all looked lost, Craig Dawson summing up their defiance when he fastened on to a flick from Christian Kabasele and volleyed past Kasper Schmeichel in the Leicester goal.

“It’s something you practise in training and it probably doesn’t go in very often,” Dawson said. “It is different to what we are used to and we missed the fans but hopefully we can continue.”

During comms, Steve McManaman compliments the club on the colour in the stadium and the organisation of the day.  He also mentions the work done in supporting the hospital over the last few months.  We’re all aware of all of this of course, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted.  We talk about Watford being a community club…  well here’s the evidence, if any were needed.  A sanctuary for hospital staff.  Washing the scrubs.  Free meals.  Meeting room space.  The sensory room adopted by the maternity unit for pre-natal checks.  Players and ex-players ringing older and vulnerable supporters, accessing further support where needed.  Matchday BT sport passes for season ticket holders. Even sorting out season ticket refunds was done considerately, professionally.  Plenty of clubs haven’t managed that, or anything near it.  Speaks volumes that where everything’s up in the air and the club (like so many other institutions) are suddenly deprived of cashflow, they’re prioritising this stuff.  A club to be proud of.  Let’s try to remember this next time we lose to someone shit.

It’s back! And so of course is From the Rookery End. Jon and Jason are joined by Mike, one of the lucky few to be inside Vicarage Road, to discuss Watford’s hard earned, dramatic point against Leicester as project restart, starts. The game is the focal point of the show, with the boys covering all the main talking points from a fascinating encounter, including praise for Watford’s late saviour Craig Dawson.

13th June 2020- Friendly, Watford 2 Brentford 0

First half commentary
Second half commentary (sorry, I missed the first few seconds in which Brentford were awarded a free kick)

Watford 2 – 0 Brentford

Match report

Watford beat Brentford in a friendly before Premier League restart

Watford get the better of Brentford in friendly at Vicarage Road

Craig Shakespeare hopes Watford know what atmosphere to expect after beating Brentford

BrentfordFC.com: A goal in each half handed Brentford defeat against Premier League Watford in a behind closed doors friendly.

MailOnline: Troy Deeney returned to action for Watford as they beat Brentford 2-0 in a friendly match at Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon.