Some days it just doesn’t bounce for you. Had Doris scored his early chance, Preston’s impotence in attack suggests we’d have won comfortably – not until the last twenty minutes did a victory seem anything but inevitable.
Darren Ambrose scored a dramatic late equaliser as Charlton recovered from two goals down to rescue a point. The Hornets led 2-0 at half-time after Hameur Bouazza finished from close range and Damien Francis powered in Tommy Smith’s cross.
From the neutral’s point of view a point apiece was an unsatisfactory outcome for these struggling teams. Both surely needed a victory to entertain serious hopes of avoiding the drop. Alan Pardew and Adrian Boothroyd, however, saw plenty of positives to come out of an absorbing and entertaining match.
In the first half Watford finally seemed ready to take flight, but again the fog descended. The clouds have rarely lifted from this corner of Hertfordshire of late, but the good news is that clouds in this division are lined not with silver but gold, and lots of it. Boothroyd will surely aim for the skies again next season and he should at least be able to afford some expensive ammunition.
The city of Sheffield rendered this result potentially disastrous for Watford and less than satisfactory for Millwall. While the Hornets lost vital promotion ground on a victorious Sheffield United, Millwall failed to make up any on Sheffield Wednesday, comfortable winners over Wolves, in their struggle for survival.
“It makes my back itch.” This is a favourite saying of my mother’s. It describes the feeling you get when something inevitable, and usually unpleasant or unfortunate, is about to happen. It is most often used when watching formulaic sit-coms featuring the likes of Frank Spencer or Mr Bean. It also applies to disaster movies such as “Titanic” or “Towering Inferno”. Quite why her back should itch, I don’t know but I know what she means. In these situations I would rather not watch. When your back itches, you can be sure that inevitable disaster will just be round the corner. The solution? Avoid watching things that have a script featuring inevitable disaster. I suppose that this disaster was inevitable from the moment I was asked to write the match report. I seem to get a lot of such games either for this website or the Free Observer. A home banker on paper, I just got that back-itching feeling (in my legs).
The sides looked miles apart, such was the superiority of Bolton’s intelligence and movement. Watford fought back stirringly early in the second half without looking likely to disturb Bolton’s easy authority.
Bolton were missing most of their first team. Only three of the side which started against Liverpool on Monday were on show, with the increasingly relevant African Nations Cup taking several products of the Bolton youth scheme (sic!) away for a month, while suspensions and apparent injuries forced several other changes. Their substitutes did not have one first team performance between them!