UK time is: 11:59:44
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Head-to-head: Watford v Crystal Palace 2012/13

With the big day drawing nearer and nearer, Vital Watford reflect on the campaign's two regular season meetings between the Hornets and the Eagles...

August 18: Crystal Palace 2-3 Watford

Crystal Palace starting XI: Speroni; Ward, Martin, Ramage, Moxey; Dikagcoi, Jedinak; Zaha, Garvan, Parr; Wilbraham.

Watford starting XI: Almunia; Doyley, Nosworthy, Taylor, Dickinson; Abdi, Eustace (c), Hogg; Murray, Garner & Yeates.

Hornet's supporters approached the opening game of the npower Championship with an understandable degree of trepidation. It had, afterall, been a summer of unprecedented change in WD18, even for a club synonymous with summer upheaval.

First there was the back-and-forth sale saga, with the club eventually sold on to the Pozzo family, who quickly replaced steady-eddy manager Sean Dyche with continental dreamboat, Gianfranco Zola.

Graham Taylor had left prior to the Pozzo's takeover and a new board followed, headed up by former West Ham United pair, Scott Duxbury (CEO) and Gian Luca Nani (technical director).

The direction of the club's recruitment policy quickly changed under the new ownership and it is fair to say that at the first batch of loanees arrived, we weren't exactly sold on the idea as supporters.

(That first batch being: Daniel Pudil, Matej Vydra, Steve Leo Beleck, Ikechi Anya, Almen Abdi and freebies Manuel Almunia and Fitz Hall).

Player of the Season/ping pong pro' Adrian Mariappa departed for Premier League-bound Reading, whilst Scott Loach was flogged to boyhood club Ipswich Town with rather less ceremony.

So onto day one and Selhurst Park - far from a happy hunting ground for the Hornets over the years.

Without several of the new additions due to injury and fitness related issues, it was virtually last season's side, sprinkled with a few loanees.

Watford fell behind early on when Owen Garvan tucked home a 13th minute penalty. Martin Taylor scored his final goal in yellow just nine minutes later to equalise before Garvan re-established the Eagles' lead.

Skipper John Eustace was substituted just before the hour with an injury that would plague the rest of his season, but in brighter news, youngster Connor Smith made his first-team debut as a substitute.

With just two minutes remaining Abdi showed his Player of the Season credentials, pinging past the despairing Julian Speroni with the ease of a man who played and scored in the Champions League.

In the 90th minute sub Vydra showed the kind of class in front of goal that he would lend to proceedings, bending a peach of an effort into the far corner to win the game and prove that he would be a significant upgrade from Chris Iwelumo and Joe Garner.

February 8: Watford 2-2 Crystal Palace

Watford: Almunia (c); Doyley, Hall, Hoban; Cassetti, Chalobah, Hogg, Abdi, Pudil; Deeney & Vydra.

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Richards, Ramage, Delaney, Moxey; Dikagcoi, Marrow; Zaha, Dobbie, Bolasie; Murray.

Hope had turned to expectation by February and things were coming together nicely as Zola's men played host to the Eagles - now managed by Ian Holloway - in February.

Coming off the back of an international break, Zola was robbed of the services of Nyron Nosworthy - away in Jamaica on international duty - but negotiated with the Irish Football Association to secure Tommie Hoban's early return.

The homegrown centre-half would last 90 minutes, but so ended a promising debut season for the 20 year-old.

Joel Ekstrand was also injured, preventing him from taking on Lionel Messi and Argentina with Sweden.

Such was the importance of Vydra, the Czech Republic international was flown by in style by the Pozzo family, a chartered flight on hand to pick up the Hornet's top-scorer.

This was to be the night Holloway would endear himself to Watford fans with his now infamous rant about the band of loanees, taking the opportunity to being live on Sky Sports to finally cotton onto the club's link-up with Udinese and Granada.

The diminutive rent-a-quote boss very pointedly circled the players on loan from i Zebrette in the matchday programme with a black marker - an image which was picked up by Sky and quickly became synonymous with the club.

Any newspapers which had shared the Holloway 'head in the sand' stance for the preceding weeks of the season were now well-and-truly aware of the uprising in Hertfordshire.

Ever a pedant for accuracy, the diminutive egg included Fernando Forestieri in his circling, the Argentine having signed for Watford for good in January on a five-and-a-half-year contract.

On the pitch, things started well for the Golden Boys and Abdi put the 'Orns 1-0 up after just six minutes.

Nathaniel Chalobah (loanee number 14, Ian) doubled the lead after 14 minutes and the Hornets were cruising as they headed into the break.

In the 66th minute defender Peter Ramage got one back as the Eagles pressed harder and harder to rescue something from the tie, before loanee Jazz Richards bombed down the right to cross for fellow loanee Kevin Phillips to (inevitably) equalise for Palace.

In the end, none of the to-and-fro-ing between the Hornets and the Eagles mattered as both would ultimately be pipped to second place by Hull City.

So here we are, the next chapter...

Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tom Bodell Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday May 20 2013

Time: 4:31PM


Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Articles

Away From Home: All Over? (Thursday April 24 2014)

Stats: QPR v Watford (Monday April 21 2014)

QPR v Watford Starting XIs (Monday April 21 2014)

Preview QPR v Watford (Monday April 21 2014)

Stats: Watford v Ipswich Town (Saturday April 19 2014)

Watford v Ipswich starting XIs (Saturday April 19 2014)

Preview: Watford v Ipswich Town (Saturday April 19 2014)

Opposing View: Ipswich Town (Friday April 18 2014)

Archived Articles

List All Vital Watford Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll

Vital Members League (view all)

1. KDCallanan 6
2. ANDY710 4

League Results (view all)

Latest Results
Q.P.R. 2 - 1 Watford
Watford 3 - 1 Ipswich
Millwall 2 - 2 Watford
Watford 3 - 0 Leeds Utd
Watford 1 - 1 Burnley
Sheff Wed 1 - 4 Watford

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
9. Ipswich 44 17 14 13 6 65
10. Blackburn 44 16 16 12 5 64
11. Bournemouth 44 17 12 15 -1 63
12. Watford 43 15 15 13 17 60
13. Middlesbrough 44 14 16 14 7 58
14. Bolton 44 13 16 15 -3 55
15. Sheff Wed 44 13 14 17 1 53

Breaking League News

Freedman: I'm Building A Team
Bolton : 24/04/2014 11:46:00
Birmingham Injury Update
Birmingham : 24/04/2014 11:41:00
The Latics In End Of Season Overdrive
Wigan : 24/04/2014 11:39:00
Away From Home: All Over?
Watford : 24/04/2014 10:57:00
Oyston calls in police
Blackpool : 24/04/2014 10:20:00
Player Ratings - Middlesbrough (H)
Reading : 24/04/2014 10:00:00
why not join up to Blackpool Vital
Blackpool : 24/04/2014 09:58:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Should Stuart Attwell have refereed the Burnley game?
Suggested By:  Editor
Yes 29%
No 71%