Hornets held, 2pts dropped
Attendance: 16 798
There is no doubt in my mind that football supporters are the most fickle people on earth. How last week Nathan Ellington was God and now he`s sh one t is beyond me. Equally, how we were so magnificent last time out in front of our own supporters, yet today the players were constantly moaned at is equally bemusing.
Watford were dominant, let`s get that fact straight, there is no other way of looking at it. We lacked a little cutting edge up top, but frankly, we still made golden opportunities and whatever reason, they didn`t go in.
Darius Henderson ought to have put the Hornets ahead after ten minutes having rounded Andy Lonergan, the big striker eventually hit the side netting when well-placed in the six yard box.
Nathan Ellington then suffered a similar fate as he missed a guilt-edge chanced after being played in by Jobi McAnuff who led the breakaway before freeing the Duke to blaze over when one-on-one with Lonergan.
Tommy Smith then preceded to make a chance out of nothing as he beat Callum Davidson before chipping a teasing cross right underneath Lonergan`s crossbar, the North End 'keeper was able to tip over however.
From the resulting corner, John Eustace saw his header well-saved by Lonergan who then ruined his good work by spilling at the feet of Tommy Smith who was somehow unable to turn the ball past the Preston number one.
Preston did have one first-half chance, 'skipper Paul McKenna worrying the home crowd as he rattled a distant effort against the joint of the crossbar-post.
Watford began the second half in the same cruise control they had ended the first but without the tempo. Darius Henderson saw his looping header drop just over the crossbar from a Sadler corner before the miracle miss to end all miracle miss`.
Another corner, this time falling to Dan Shittu who headed goalwards only to see his effort spring back up off the line, clip the bar, bounce down and be nodded away coolly Liam Chilvers whilst under pressure. How is stayed out, I don`t know, perhaps there was a force field preventing the ball penetrating the net…
Sloppy journalism prevents me from naming the 'goalscorer`, but someone tapped home after Nathan Ellington had somehow contrived to hit the post following a goalmouth scrambled. And if my sources in the Vicarage Road End are correct, there was at least a man on the line keeping Mr somebody onside…
With seconds to go and the tempo finally pulsating, Dan Shittu saw his powerful header blocked by Lonergan who dove full-length to parry and preserve a point.
Nothing went our way today, woodwork hit, full-length saves made, sheer doggedly determined defending and missed chances cost the 'Orns two points, but in this game, you make your own luck…
Lonergan, Jones, Chilvers, Mawene, Davidson, Sedgwick, Chaplow (Hill 89), McKenna, Whaley (St. Ledger 84), Hawley (Mellor 72), Brown.
Subs Not Used: Chris Neal, Nicholls.
Referee: Mr Tony Bates