Watford reached the fourth round of the FA Cup with a routine victory at National League side Woking.
Watford took the lead in the 13th minute through Hughes during a first half in which the Hornets dominated possession. The second half contained few goalscoring chances for either team, but Watford substitute Deeney wrapped up a comfortable victory for the Premier League side with a simple tap-in (75).
Yet it was still a day to feel the glow of FA Cup romance. The competition is too predictable; it has had its day? Do not say that to Alan Dowson, the old-school Woking manager, whose north-east tones remain loud and proud. He talked of his thrill at seeing Kingfield sold out, of his young players coming up against established professionals (even if Javi Gracia made 11 changes to his Watford team) and of the uplift that the tie has brought to this corner of England.
Javi Gracia, Watford’s former Villarreal and Malaga manager, has certainly also never received a post-match gift from an opposing manager quite like it. A bumper bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale. “He took it and he gave me one of his sangria,” said Dowson, who was born in Gateshead. “I thought he was a bit tight. The Newcastle Brown was bigger.”
The first action of the second half was the rather thrilling sight of the lino on the opposite side falling backwards over the hoardings. It is dreadfully childish, but you can’t help but laugh when the officials come a cropper.