Category Archives: September

30th September 2023- Championship, Watford 2 Middlesbrough 3

Offical site: Match dashboard

BBC: Middlesbrough continued their return to form with a third win from four unbeaten against an under-performing Watford at Vicarage Road.

Sky: Local boy Josh Coburn scored the 63rd-minute winner that halted an improbable comeback by Watford, who now sit just a point above their visitors having won just one of their last eight league fixtures.

Watford Observer: RECAP: Watford 2 Middlesbrough 3

Poor Hornets suffer Boro defeat

Ismael admits his change of shape was “not a good decision”

Does Ismael fear the often-used international-break Pozzo trigger finger?

BHappy: If three goals within the opening twenty minutes sounds exciting, it really wasn’t.  “Park football” was Vicky’s comment as the visitors demonstrated that they were equally capable of offering unchallenged chances…  an accurate but optimistic Porteous pass somehow found it’s way beyond Boro’s defence to Bayo who even more somehow overcame his traditional fallibility in such situations to steady himself and roll past Dieng.

Fran’s Watford Blog: Ismaël made a change at the break bringing Martins on in place of Rajović, who had been invisible.  The substitute was involved immediately winning a corner.  His next contribution was to find Dele-Bashiru whose shot from outside the box cleared the bar.  The Hornets should have equalised when a cross from Ngakia was met by a great header from Bayo that was on target, but Dieng made a wonderful save to keep it out.  The resultant corner was cleared to Hoedt on the edge of the box from where he found the bottom corner to level the game.  It was interesting that he ran to the dugout to celebrate.  There was another booking for the Hornets as Sierralta was cautioned for a rash challenge on Crooks.  The Boro player stayed on his feet, which was as well, or Sierralta could have seen red.

From the Rookery End: Jon, Mike and Jason discuss the reactions of Val, fans, players and how the Watford landscape is looking after the Hornets 2-3 home defeat to Middlesbrough.

23rd September 2023- Championship, Leeds United 3 Watford 0

Official site: Match dashboard

BBC: The Whites dominated the 90 minutes with Georginio Rutter having a goal ruled out for offside and Daniel Bachmann keeping a muted Watford on level terms with a string of excellent saves during the first half.

Sky: Piroe gave Leeds the lead midway through the second half as he volleyed home to finish off a fine move by Daniel Farke’s side. Byram capped his return to the side as he headed in from a corner and Anthony’s late goal moved Leeds up to fifth in the table having seen off a Watford outfit who rarely threatened.

Watford Observer: Live Feed

Gulf between teams finally reflected in result after Watford hung on for an hour

Ismael disappointed Watford did not force Leeds to work harder

Skipper says some of the Watford players were ‘a bit scared’

Fran’s Watford Blog: Bachmann was the first player to come over to the travelling Hornets, he looked very shame-faced but, without his saves, Leeds would have scored 7.  We were glad to get out of Elland Road and decided to avoid the bus and walk back into the City.  It was a beautiful afternoon and the walk was very pleasant indeed.  There was time for another beer before I caught the train home.  The post-match analysis was brief.  Watford had been absolutely awful, creating almost nothing.  They couldn’t string two passes together for large portions of the game.  Bachmann had been superb and had prevented the score being embarrassing.  Ironically, the Hornets had been marginally better in the second half, particularly after Asprilla came on.  But the fact that the first shot on target came in the 94th minute tells you everything about the game.  The atmosphere at Elland Road was typically unpleasant and our position at the front of the top section meant that we spent much of the second half having to peer around security staff and police officers who were there to keep the fans apart.  A horrible set up.

From the Rookery End: We pick apart the dismal display, look at whether Valerian Ismael got his team selection right, and we attempt to work out how we should all be feeling about this team after 8 games that have provided plenty of ups and downs.

20th September 2023- Championship, Watford 2 West Bromwich Albion 2

Official site: Match dashboard

BBC: Watford and West Bromwich Albion shared the points at Vicarage Road as Valerien Ismael’s Hornets were held to a draw by his old club in the Championship.

Sky: Tom Ince gave the hosts a third-minute lead but John Swift and Jed Wallace replied in the next 14 minutes for the Baggies. Matheus Martins responded for the Hornets but neither side was able to find a winner in the Championship fixture.

Watford Observer: Live feed

The conditions led to errors from both sides though, and one from Wesley Hoedt almost resulted in a winner for Brandon Thomas-Asante, but he was denied by an excellent Daniel Bachmann save after he had also kept out a stinging drive from the Albion striker earlier in the second period.

Head coach Valerien Ismael had seen tonight’s movie a few times already this season, and it’s not one he’s enjoyed previously.

It wasn’t just the sublime finish that made Tom Ince’s first goal for Watford a bit special, it was the move that led up to it as well.

Fran’s Watford Blog: In the end, a draw was probably a fair result.  All of the goals had been in the first 20 minutes, but both teams had chances to win it in the second half and had their keepers to thank for making terrific saves.  The conditions had been horrible, so misplaced passes could be excused, and I was glad that the weather didn’t lead to any catastrophic errors.  Watford’s game is still annoyingly error strewn, but the attacking threat continues, and it was a very entertaining game for those that braved the elements. 

16th September 2023- Championship, Watford 2 Birmingham City 0

Official site: Match dashboard

BBC: Birmingham City’s unbeaten start to the Championship season came to an end as two stoppage-time goals from Mileta Rajovic and Ryan Andrews gave Watford their first win since the opening day.

Sky: The visitors had started brightly, threatening inside the first minute when Oliver Burke’s pass from the right set up Fulham loanee Jay Stansfield for a low right-foot shot from outside the box only for Hornets goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann to save.

Watford Observer: Live Feed

It looked increasingly like the home side would have to settle for a point from a frustrating goalless draw, but with two minutes of normal time remaining the Blues were reduced to ten men when left-back Lee Buchanan was sent off for a second yellow card.

Head coach Valerien Ismael heralded the patience of the Watford fans as being a contributory factor in yesterday’s late, late show victory over Birmingham.

BHappy: It’s a tremendous header.  A Duncan Ferguson header.  Under challenge from several opponents, with the significant distraction of Dion Sanderson flying in to try to clear and having achieved very little in the game to that point – indeed one wonders if, had Vakoun Bayo been on the bench, he would have made it that far – Rajović kept his eye on it, held off the multiple distractions and directed a header cruelly beyond the helpless Ruddy (for whom this may have triggered an uncomfortable flashback to Wembley 2019).

Fran’s Watford Blog: The game seemed to being winding down when Chakvetadze squared for Andrews, but the youngster hit a low shot from distance that took a deflection and beat Ruddy.  He ran to the 1881 section of the Rookery and celebrated with Harry the Hornet while the crowd sang “He’s one of our own”.

From the Rookery End: The trio talk Val’s best XI, Dan Bachmann and supporter patience and try to work out just how much credit shoukd go to the Head Coach for that much needed home win against Blues.

2nd September 2023- Championship, Coventry City 3 Watford 3

Official site: Match dashboard

BBC: Mileta Rajovic’s double on his first Watford start was not enough to clinch victory as Coventry fought back three times to share the points in a thriller at the CBS Arena.

Sky: Mileta Rajovic’s opener was brilliantly cancelled out by Milan van Ewijk to leave the score 1-1 at half-time. Matheus Martins and a second from Rajovic had Watford ahead twice in the second half, but Wesley Hoedt’s own goal and Matt Godden’s late strike salvaged a point for the Sky Blues.

Watford Observer: Live Feed

For three games Watford struggled to score goals. Today that wasn’t the problem – it was giving them away down the other end that cost them all the points in a crazy 3-3 draw at Coventry.

BHappy: City’s second goal owed less to struggling with the demands of the new system than it did to a complacent and expensive lack of concentration.  At 2-1 for ten minutes or so early in the second half, we were bossing the game.  City looked beaten following Martins’ merciless strike, Watford were knocking it around and making the home side chase the ball.  Porteous’ pass across the back line to Hoedt didn’t place the Dutchman under particular pressure, but a moment’s hesitation as an opponent half-heartedly considered closing down saw him panic, turn away from the centre of the pitch and without looking play a firm back pass towards the goal.  No blame attached to Bachmann here – he has been told to be a passing option and so had to be a long way out of his goal. There’s no excuse for a back pass without a look, much less one that’s on target and with comic precision finds the narrow path between the goalkeeper’s tortured lunge and the inside post.   The away end slumped in stunned disbelief, the home stands were rejuvenated and the basketball resumed.

Fran’s Watford Blog: It was then Coventry’s turn to have a defensive shambles as Thomas played a short back pass, Bayo nipped in to pick it up and rolled it back to Rajović who prodded it past Wilson to give the Hornets the lead for the third time in the game. 

From the Rookery End: The Hornets returned from Coventry with only a point but they did mange to bag themselves 3 goals – something that has been missing for a few weeks.

17th September 2022- Championship, Watford 2 Sunderland 2

This was the first home game since the death of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. The programme had a special wraparound with a tribute from club CEO Scott Duxbury.


BBC Sport: Jewison Bennette’s late equaliser earned Sunderland a draw at Vicarage Road to deny Watford a fourth home win of the season.

Sky Sports: Colombian teenager Yaser Asprilla curled a clever ball into space on the left for Hassane Kamara to chase. The full-back’s cross was shovelled into the path of Keinan Davis by Sunderland goalkeeper Patterson, leaving the on-loan Aston Villa striker the easiest of tap-ins on his first Watford start.

BHappy: We can’t implore the club to exercise more patience on the one hand and then turn on a young manager in a challenging position if things look a bit tricksy after ten games.