Date:Tuesday August 15 2006
Watford rounded off a highly successful pre-season with a hard-fought win against Champions League hopefuls Chievo at Vicarage Road.
To complete preparations for the highly anticipated return to the Promised Land, Aidy Boothroyd gave the Italian outfit the compliment of a virtually full strength squad apart from the omission of Jay Demerit, because of a training ground knock.
After a scrappy opening sequence it was Watford who took the lead courtesy of an Ashley Young trademark. Cutting in from the right hand side, he took advantage of lax defending from the visitors and unleashed a lethal curling effort, which nestled neatly in the fair corner of the goal. Hopefully a sign of things to come this season.
Chievo didn`t really threaten the Watford goal on too many occasions, but when they did looked a potent outfit - a point blank headed rattling the woodwork before a well worked move ended with a sublime looping volley to even the score.
After wholesale changes at the break, Watford began to re-find their rhythm in the torrential rain and stretched their opponents with a bit more ease - however, as the rain continued to pour it became more of a talking point than the game as the surface became oily and unpredictable.
Watford won a seemingly fortuitous penalty when Mr Rennie blew up for a foul on trialist Albert Jarrett. Watford`s penalty curse from last season continued as Young`s weak effort was saved. However, Matthew Spring was on hand to bundle the ball in at the second time of asking.
The rest of the match played out without little fanfare, although Aidy is sure to be pleased as the home debut made by Hungarian Tamas Priskin as a few deft touches and moments of skill showed why Watford forked out a rumoured £1 Million for his services. As the final whistle went there wasn`t the feeling of 'job done` that came with so many of the victories last season, moreso expectation of the season ahead.
It has been a highly profitable pre-season for Watford: 6 Games, 5 Wins, no losses, 18 goals and only 7 conceded - the kind of form Watford will need to stay up this season.
WRITTEN BY DANIEL WALKER
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