Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Saturday December 22 2012
WATFORD CLIMBED back into the N.Power Championship Play-Off's as they secured three points in their final home game of 2012.
A first-half brace from Matej Vydra was enough to put Gianfranco Zola's side into sixth, with Millwall trailing on goal difference.
The Hornet's Head Coach stuck with the side which drew at Burnley last weekend, meaning Almen Abdi continued in midfield.
Sean O'Driscoll dropped Adlene Guediora from his starting XI, preferring to start with three centre-backs.
Watford were on the back foot early on, but still crafted a good chance for Vydra who raced through as early as the ninth minute only for Lee Camp to block one-on-one.
Forest's reply was to see Tommie Hoban turned by Simon Cox before the Irish international pulled a low cross into the legs of Manuel Almunia at his near-post.
However, in the 15th minute the 'Orns went ahead. From Almunia's roll out to Nathaniel Chalobah, the Chelsea midfielder found Jonathan Hogg who in turn picked out Abdi to feed Vydra.
The Czech Republic international was as clinical as ever in front of goal, beating Camp all ends up at his near-post with a fierce shot into the roof of the net.
Daniel Pudil was the next to test Camp, pinging a powerful left-footed effort towards the 'keeper's left-hand post where the former Derby stopper palmed wide.
Forest were still providing a threat, and Billy Sharp ought to have done better when he stretched at the far-post to meet a cross unmarked.
The Southampton loanee then missed another good chance when he headed a free-kick awkwardly away from danger for the Hornets.
Five minutes before half-time, Norwich City loanee Dani Ayala capped a woeful defensive display when he hauled down Troy Deeney outside the area.
The defender had already been booked and was rightfully dismissed.
Watford took just three minutes to make their advantage pay, Vydra again showing his ice-cool finishing ability to slot past Camp after being released by Hogg's pass.
Four minutes after the break Abdi had the ball in the net as he scuffed in off the post from Deeney's deft flick, but the Swiss was denied by the linesman's flag.
Abdi was in the thick of it again shortly after, twice blocked inside the side yard box following a Marco Cassetti cross.
Pudil nearly benefited from a Cassetti centre in the 60th minute; hooking over the bar after arriving late.
Substitute Steve Beleck looked bright following his introduction, and ought to have had a penalty with eight minutes remaining after he bustled his way past a tame Forest challenge before being felled.
Referee Neil Swarbrick saw it differently and booked the Cameroonian striker.
Pudil flashed another left-footed effort narrowly wide of the far-post with a handful of minutes remaining before Camp denied Deeney with an outstretched leg.
Watford: Almunia (c); Ekstrand, Hall, Hoban; Cassetti; Chalobah (Mujangi Bia), Hogg, Abdi (Battocchio), Pudil; Deeney & Vydra (Beleck).
Unused subs: Bonham (GK), Neuton, Yeates & Geijo.
Nottingham Forest: Camp; Hutton, Ayala, Ward, Collins (c), Harding (Halford); Cohen, Moussi, Reid (Guediora); Sharp & Cox (Blackstock).
Unused subs: Darlow (GK), Gillett, Lansbury & Majewski.
Attendance: 15 143
Referee: Mr N Swarbrick
Date:Saturday December 22 2012
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Stats: Birmingham City v Watford (Tuesday November 4 2014)
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PREVIEW: Watford v Millwall (Friday October 31 2014)
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