The decision to start with Troy Deeney was only a surprise, if at all, for as long as it took for Jordon Mutch to give us the lead on three minutes. Whilst Camp looks thoroughly competent, the defence in front of him was a shambles every time a high ball came into the box. That we didn’t capitalise was down in part to simply not getting quality in often enough, down in part to luck, and down in part to some rather tolerant refereeing that saw Deeney wrestled away from the ball more than once and the safe option of penalising the striker adopted at both ends. Deeney’s card was marked by a number around us from the kick off, but for me he did a decent job of holding the ball up, linking the play and receiving the ball with his back to goal. Clearly an asset.
So, West Ham are in the First Division again. Judging by the sell-out crowd, this is the cause of some excitement, a bit of a novelty. A nail bar in an old-fashioned part of town, rapidly becoming part of the scenery. Nottingham Forest. Derby County. Sheffield Wednesday. Sunderland. Queens Park Rangers. Norwich City. And so on. It happens very quickly indeed, and you suspect that this fixture will probably be taking place in front of, say, seventeen thousand people next season. Fourteen thousand in two years. Still, ‘Ammers fans, it’s not all doom and gloom…the weather might’ve perked up by then, eh?
There was something almost Betjeman-esque about the first 45 minutes here yesterday, so effectively did 22 well-paid professionals evoke the spirit of the thousands of park games that kicked off around the country an hour or so earlier.
This was a wearisome game. A dreary, generally uneventful, rarely attractive football match between two largely uninspired sides. And played at a ludicrous time, just for effect. The equivalent of being dragged from your bed at five o’clock in the morning and forced to watch back-to-back episodes of “Heartbeat”, while being kept awake by periodic prodding with a blunt stick. Probably the most forgettable game since…erm, I can’t remember. But with a reward for anyone who managed to stick with it until the end.
The match itself couldn’t have made much of an impression on the TV viewers, though the three points have brought Watford back in touch with the teams chasing for a play-off place. Whilst a top half finish would have been beyond most Watford fans’ expectations at the start of the season, it is great to see that there is some hope of some end of season games. Keep up the good work Ray, Terry and the lads.
More games from 19th January at https://oldwatford.com/tag/jan19
Before Stuart Attwell came along to take his place at the top of the league table of Villain Refs there was a man called Rob Styles.
This was one of those games, where discussing the football without first discussing the officials is impossible, where the man in black dominates proceedings to such an extent that the other twenty-four participants might as well have stayed at home, where seasons are turned on decisions made by arseholes. Hence, presumably, the fact that we’ve not yet had any comment from Graham Taylor.