Ipswich goalkeeper Scott Loach, who had left Watford for Portman Road in the summer, was called into action four minutes from the end of normal to deal with a 20-yard shot from Matej Vydra. Ipswich had conceded 45 goals on their Championship travels last term, more than any other club in the division, but Loach was all smiles on the final whistle as he gained a clean sheet on his return to Vicarage Road.
There was a banner in the crowd that read “Forza Watford”, reflecting the new Italian feel at the club, but many more performances like this and it will have to be changed to “Arrivederci” instead. If Gianfranco Zola thought life in the Championship was going to be easy after his new side’s victory on the opening day on Saturday, Michael Chopra’s winner in the 90th minute for Ipswich showed him how punishing the division can be.
All is unfamiliar. Sunshine and joyous victory in Croydon; torrential rain for the first home game, followed by last-minute defeat to our favourite opponents. The names of the new loan signings currently resemble a set of characters from an obscure role-playing game: “Vydra – The Scorpion” (X-Factor: 4.9); “Abdi – The Thinker” (Patience: 0.7%); “Pudil – The Unknown” (?: ?); “Anya – The Midget” (Turning Circle: 0.1); “Geijo – The Ghost” (Invisibility: 95%); “Beleck – The Giant” (Fear Factor: x3). It’s all a bit weird. There’s a moment when Manuel Almunia cack-handedly fumbles a cross onto the penalty spot and everyone almost breathes a sigh of relief at seeing something so thoroughly in its place.