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Report: Sannino enjoys dream home debut

GIUSEPPE Sannino earned his first win as Hornets head coach in ideal fashion, watching his side pound a hopeless Millwall in front of an expectant Vicarage Road crowd.

Troy Deeney, Fernando Forestieri, Ikechi Anya and Lewis McGugan got the goals after former Hornet Danny Shittu was dismissed less than 10 minutes in.

Make no mistake, though, for all the positivity after a crushing first win in 10 matches, Millwall provided hapless opposition and had Shittu not been sent off inside 10 minutes, the margin of victory might not have been so comfortable.

Forestieri returned to the starting XI in place of Diego Fabbrini, whilst Ikechi Anya began on the left-hand side of the midfield five.

Before Deeney`s 10th minute opener, Forestieri had come close, just failing to connect with Deeney`s far-post knockdown following Marci Cassetti`s cross.

A couple of minutes later, Deeney brought down another cross on his chest before being bundled over by Shittu as he shot, earning a penalty which he converted coolly.

There was a scare five minutes later when Millwall forward Steve Morison saw his powerful header blocked on the line by the knees of Anya, but from then on out, Watford were in complete control, with Forestieri doubling the lead in the 26th minute.

A cross-field pass found the jet-heeled Anya, who volleyed back across the 18 yard-box first time, picking out Forestieri via a deflection to prod beyond David Forde.

Half-time: 2-0

It took the Hornets just three second-half minutes to wrap up the points, Anya darting in from the left-hand side before powering a firmly struck effort beyond Forde at his near post.

Forestieri came agonizingly close to bettering Anya`s effort just a couple of minutes later, wriggling into enough space to lash against Forde`s left-hand post from 25 yards.

In the 55th minute, Millwall saw their one chance of note - a firm header from a corner - ruled out for offside.

McGugan then came close to adding a fourth, crashing a left-footed effort against the underside of the Lions` crossbar from just outside the penalty area, the ball bouncing down on - or possibly over - the line, before bouncing to safety.

The former Forest midfielder didn`t have to wait long to get on the scoresheet, converting a second Watford penalty after the referee`s assistant flagged for handball against a Millwall defender.

Watford were in total control by this stage, playing some exhibition stuff and pinning Steve Lomas` side in the final third as they dictated the tempo and possession.

Following a rare Millwall attack, Sean Murray and Deeney broke at pace before feeding McGugan to crash another effort against the underside of the bar and down from inside the penalty area.

Minutes earlier, Forestieri had seen an effort disallowed as he chested home Cassetti`s right-wing cross.

Manuel Almunia was called into action in the dying minutes, staying alert to palm over a firmly-struck Millwall volley.

Forestieri nearly added a fifth in injury time, agiley attempting a bicycle kick which bounced harmlessly into Forde`s palms.

Full-time: 4-0

A perfect start to life at the Vic` for Beppe Sannino, with the Hornets showing the kind of style and panache which they became synonymous with last season.

The difference between the final weeks of Zola and the start of the Sannino reign has - for me - been confidence.

The Watford of a few weeks ago would not have capitalised on their early lead and would certainly not have been shooting on sight, nor playing some of the scintillating football they were toward the end.

It`s worth reinforcing quite how bad Millwall were, and Sunday`s clash against Queens Park Rangers will be an entirely proposition altogether. A 4-0 victory is an excellent starting point, nonetheless.

Watford: Almunia (capt); Doyley, Angella, Ekstrand; Cassetti, McGugan (Battocchio), Thorne (Iriney), Murray, Anya (Bellerin); Deeney & Forestieri.

Subs not used: Bond (GK), Fabbrini, Smith & Nosworthy.

Millwall: Forde; Hoyte, Shittu (capt), Beevers, Lowry; Woolford, Trotter, (Smith) Abdou, Moussi (Robinson); Easter (Chaplow) & Morison.

Subs not used: Bywater (GK), Dunne, McDonald & Malone.

Attendance: 15 471

Referee: Mr A D`Urso.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tom Bodell Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday December 26 2013

Time: 5:16PM

Your Comments

I personally don't think the sending off a *****u would have made much of a difference, that was a far better performance than of late, the passing was sharper and the team seem to work hard to close Millwall down, hitting the bar twice and the post, think they were lucky to go home having only conceded 4.
Don't wrong, we would still have won, Millwall were terrible. I just think the early red made it significantly easier than it would have been otherwise. It was an improvement on recent weeks, though, no doubt.
To score the pen after the sending off was also vital.. It ment Millwall needed to score so they couldn't sit back and defend the whole match.. This is overlooked I think...
Yes good call gentlemen, I would have taken a goal coming off someone's back side...
Hear hear! Onto QPR with renewed optimism & belief.

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