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Harley hands Horns win

2 - 1
Preston North End

Vicarage Road

04.09.08 @15.00

Attendance: 14 087


Watford finally claimed their third three points of the season after a hard-fought nintey-five minutes against Preston and the officials. Once again, the men in black were seemingly defiant in their attempt to leave Watford hard done by, but no such luck.

The Hornets goals both came after Watford fell behind abysmally to a goal from Sean St Ledger. The former Peterborough defender was on-hand, unmarked at the far post to sweep the ball past Richard Lee on his 100th Watford appearance after Aidy Mariappa's slip. The ball had been headed clear by Priskin from Ross Wallace's corner before a comedy of errors culminating in St Ledger's neat finish.

However, Watford, deservedly snatched an excellent leveller through Jon Harley. The hard-working midfielder notched his first Hornets goal having had two disallowed this season since his arrival from Tuesday's victors, Burnley. A good ball through the middle was rushed onto by Tamas Priskin who cleverly lofted it over St Ledger to the left hand side of the are where Harley waited to blast home on the half volley to level superbly.

And, with more hapless defending from the Lilwhites, Tommy Smith stole into the Preston penalty area from a long-ball to shoot low at Andrew Lonergan. The PNE 'keeper saw the ball strike his foot but trickle kindly to Smith who slotted into the empty net with ease. His fiftieth Watford goal in contrast to Harley's first.

Watford had deserved their lead having been on top for most the first half, Tamas Priskin, impressing with a natural strike partner, stole down the right before guiding a low cross in and perilously close to the net.

John-Joe O'Toole, omitted from Ireland's forthcoming squad, despite his 5 goals in 8 games saw his limp header agonisingly close before Lonergan snatched to safety. Bouyant from his first Hornet's strike, Jon Harley came close as he slid into the far post only to be denied a second by brave defending from St Ledger.

The second half saw Preston in the ascendancy with a change of striker seeing the hapless Neil Mellor replaced by Stephen Elliot at half-time. However, the effect in the change was minimal despite the improvement from Alan Irvine's men.

Watford's lack of defensive cohesion wasn't highligted by any Preston chances of note, indeed Richard Lee's ton appearance was scarcely marked with a save of note. Hopefully the short stopper will enjoy more easy afternoons like this in the near future as Watford look to move away from the relegation zone.

Full Time 2-1

Preston North End
Lonergan; Jones, St Ledger, Mawene, McEveley; Sedgwick, McKenna (c) (Jarrett), Nicholson (Parkin), Wallace; Mellor (Elliot) and Brown.

Referee: Mr K W Wright

Star Player

Jon Harley

Player Ratings

Richard Lee - 7

A nice, easy way to celebrate his 100th Watford game.

Aidy Mariappa - 4

At fault for goal and given a torrid time.

Jay DeMerit - 7


Darren Ward - 7

Looked neat, tidy and unfussed on home return.

Mat Sadler - 6

Not as his best after injury.

Tommy Smith - 7

Worked as hard as ever and read the ball well for goal.

Lee Williamson - 6

Did his best to replace John Eustace.

John-Joe O'Toole - 6

An accomplish display.

Jon Harley - 8

Made things tick nicely in midfield with excellent vision, bravery, work ethic and passing. Goal capped performance.

Tamas Priskin - 7

Much improved with partner alongside him.

Will Hoskins - 7

Ran his backside off.

Date:Saturday October 4 2008
Time: 6:19PM

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well done for getting the win
lil blackpoolgas
04/10/2008 19:10:00
Thank you, it's been a painfully long time coming.
05/10/2008 09:28:00
i think priskin played great and im not a priskin lover. harley was magnifisent
05/10/2008 10:33:00
I thought the midfield 3 and front 3 were absolutely top drawer today. The experience in PNE's defense still had no answer to Hoskins who was quite magnificant all afternoon - I can now see why so many people reckon he is an intelligent footballer...
05/10/2008 11:15:00
Hoskins has failed to let us down this season. Excellent again today. Priskin even showed flashes of decent player. I almost feel he could play the floating around Tommy role better than centre forward role. Harley virtually ran the show for us.
05/10/2008 11:35:00
A muvh needed win but, let's not get too carried away, as I still think we're in for a long hard season; defensively we are still all over the place although I thought Ward looked very solid. Hoskins is doing well upfront and showing the promise that made Aidy buy him 21 monthys ago, however the star turn remains the one and only Tommy Smith. Let's hope we will come back firing on all cylinders after the break. Come On You Golden Boys!
05/10/2008 21:59:00
a good win...but you got lots of work to do yet
06/10/2008 13:21:00
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