Watford undo City slickers
Wed 10 December 2008
Watford recorded their first league win under Brendan Rodgers with a fortunate 2-1 victory over Norwich at Vicarage Road - thanks to goals from the in-form pairing of Priskin and Smith.
With Captain America still sidelined, the Hornets only change from defeat at St Andrews was Williamson back in following suspension (for the out of sorts McAnuff) as Rodgers stuck by his much talked about Christmas tree formation.
In truth though, whilst Watford walked away with the plaudits after giving Birmingham one almighty scare at the weekend, Norwich will be thinking just how they lost this one as they head back to Norfolk.
Canaries boss Glenn Roeder was bemused post match, suggesting his troops 'completely dominated proceedings` and even his Hornets counterpart reckoned that was the 'worst Watford have played since he`s been in charge`.
Rodgers was right - no question. Lita should have put Norwich in front as early as the 8th minute when he headed wide when completely unmarked 10 yards out after Mariappa miss timed his leap. Croft rattled Loaches gloves after beating Sadler all ends up and only a linesman flag denied Lita after a hefty challenge on the rookie keeper saw the ball end up in the net.
But for all their pressure Norwich were undone by a simple throughball. Roeder said they 'shot themselves in the foot` but it was the young head of Liam Bridcott that did the damage. Marshall`s weak clearance was precisely nodded into the path of the on-running Priskin by the teenager on loan from Chelsea and the Hungarian hitman slotted home his 3rd in 3 games.
The tidy, composed finish was just reward for young Tamas who, despite his early season critics, is starting to show real signs of a goalscorer`s touch and incredible workrate. Doherty at the heart of the Norwich backline will have far easier nights.
Ok, so Croft and Bell ran Sadler and Doyley ragged for the rest of the first half but Lita looked disinterested as the half wore on and Bromby gave him nothing of note.
Yet Norwich picked up the pace after the break and it was inevitable that the Canaries would eventually find Watford`s yellow underbelly. A spot of ping-pong in and around the box had already caused some desperate defending and hearts in mouths moments when Croft ghosted in on the left side of the defence to head home.
Some might point to why Loach didn`t come for the cross. Some will question where was the full back or why the ball wasn`t cleared. Some were probably still on their feet advising Rodgers - with choice expletives - where he`d got it wrong when Smith (oh how we love Tommy) got it oh so right…AGAIN!!!!
Yes it was that quick a response from a Watford side that had looked hell bent on throwing away another 3 points - 3 minutes in fact.
No space, tightly marked Smudger picked up a pass from O`Toole, found a foot of room to pop off a shot that rifled low and hard past Andy Marshall`s flailing left hand.
There`s talk of Smith joining Blackburn in January - on this form his £2m price tag clearly isn`t enough. He is priceless.
Watford threw on Eustace for Sadler to secure the midfield, went 5-3-2 and played the ball into the corner flag for what seemed like 15 minutes but hey, it`s advantage Hornet in the battle to beat the drop…
So bring on the Cov.
It's rare that VitalWatford agree with the matchday sponsors MOTM choice but his 2nd half performance alone Bromby was worthy of his award.
Shut down the pacy threat of Lita early on and took charge of the high balls slung into the box late on.