Wallace & Goddamnit as Hornets lose
Watford once again failed to put their Deepdale demons behind them as they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat to Preston, for whom Ross Wallace and Billy Jones found the net.
But it could and really should have been very different after a first 40 minutes of free flowing footie from Aidy Boothroyd's troops with Grzgorz Rasiak and John Joe O`Toole causing problems.
The Hornets started brightly with PNE keeper Andy Lonergan producing good stops to deny Ward, Demerit and Hoskins, whilst O`Toole saw a close range header crash back off the bar for the 2nd game running.
In fact, there was plenty to remind us of the Wolves game up north - a couple of desperate goal line clearances, well rehearsed Hornet set pieces that caused havoc but sadly defensive frailty still hadn`t gone away despite the return of Captain America.
How Billy Jones stole in to put PNE 1-up 3 minutes before half time was beyond us. Lee did well to palm out a shot on the rebound and Jones had all the time in the world to bundle home the follow-up.
No do or die defender bodies thrown in the way, no faces at risk of being smashed in like we`d seen at the other end moments before.
No wonder Boothroyd was "disappointed to go in one down because it was against the run of play".
Any thoughts of a second half revival though were dashed as Watford seemingly ignored Boothroyd`s motivational half time teamtalk and put in a second half performance that was tired, lucklustre and predictable.
Think how those runners who`d spent the night stranded in the cold up in the Lake District would have felt as the frost set in and well, that pretty much sums up Watford`s showing.
PNE however raised their game, switched the 2 wingers and Ross Wallace - on loan from Sunderland - gave Matt Sadler a sound roasting on more than 4 occasions.
Indeed, Wallace was well worth his goal on 63rd minute - lifting a 25 yarder past Lee. In truth, Rich will be annoyed with himself for failing to stop the shot that seemed to bounce up over him but the Lilywhites flyer should have been blocked off a lot earlier in the build-up.
So a proverbial game of 2 halves then and as the old saying (and Aidy Boothroyd) confirmed post match - If you don`t take chances, you don`t win games…
And it`s been like that for near on 20 years at Deepdale for the travelling Hornets.