Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Tuesday December 28 2010
CARDIFF CITY, like Queens Park Rangers were meant to be flying high, but 18 days after destroying the R's in their last N.Power Championship clash Watford tore apart Dave Jones' second-placed Cardiff at the Rookery.
A convincing and thoroughly deserved victory for the Golden Boys which sees them leap into eighth, all despite missing a seventh minute penalty.
Watford brought in Marvin Sordell in place of the injured Stephen McGinn whilst Josh Walker took a place on the bench alongside Gavin Massey and Dale Bennett after injuries to Hodson and Deeney.
Cardiff's talismanic strikers Jay Bothroyd and Craig Bellamy, affording Chris Burke and Michael Chopra starts.
Watford blew a seventh minute opportunity to take the lead when Danny Graham saw his penalty saved by former Celtic and Norwich stopper, David Marshall.
After Will Buckley was brought down by the appalling Lee Naylor, Graham stepped up to see his effort blocked by Marshall.
Nine minutes later it looked as if Watford had paid a hefty price for Graham's early miss as Peter Whittingham fired the visitors into the lead.
After a neat and dominating passing move from Cardiff, Whittingham was set free to prod past Loach into the bottom left-hand corner.
The leveller came on 24 minutes when Danny Graham met Will Buckley's cross from the right. A tidy side-footed finish from Graham beat Marshall at the far-post.
Despite taking the lead Cardiff were scarcely in the game and Watford levelled 13 minutes into the second-half through Marvin Sordell.
Put through towards goal the youngster used his pace and strength to muscle past the Bluebirds backline and neatly strike past Marshall and off the inside of the post.
The third came just a few minutes later when John Eustace powerfully nodded home Don Cowie's right-hand corner.
The job was completed on 84 minutes and the visitors sent packing when Danny Graham bagged his second at the second opportunity from the spot.
Golden Graham's 14th of the season - matching last years total was brought about after that man Buckley galloped through only to be brought down. Graham rolled home from 12 yards to put the icing on the cake.
Full time: 4-1
Will Buckley's majestic performance was a joy to behold and the former Rochdale winger was the best player on the park. Constantly a thorn in the Cardiff defence Bucko was at the centre of everything good for the 'Orns.
Don Cowie was also impressive with his usual blend of lung-busting runs and last-ditch committed challenges.
Watford: Loach; Doyley, Mariappa, M.Taylor, A.Taylor; Eustace (c); Cowie, Mutch (Walker), Buckley (Jenkins); Sordell and Graham (Massey).
Subs not used: Gilmartin (gk); Whichelow, Bennett and Thompson.
Cardiff City: Marshall; McNaughton, Hudson (c), Blake, Naylor (Matthews); Burke (Rae), Olofinjana, McPhail (Koumas), Whittingham; Chopra and Keogh.
Subs not used: Enckleman (gk); Gypes, Quinn and Wildig.
Date:Tuesday December 28 2010
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