Writer: Dr Watford
Date:Saturday January 3 2009
3rd January 2009
If the FA Cup is full of romance then Watford`s 1-0 win over Scunnie was the equivalent of a bored couple sticking it out for the sake of the kids.
Had Grzgorz Rasiak not managed to somehow get something on the end of a Mariappa flick on from a McAnuff corner to seal victory in the 67th minute then we`d be doing it all again - as no-one else was gonna break the dull deadlock in a dire 3rd round encounter.
The Pole, who had come on for Watford`s livliest body O`Toole (another strange Rodgers substitution?) did well to find space to finish at the back stick but that`s what Rasiak has made a living out of and the Hornets boss would do well to remember that.
For those that love their stats, Scunthorpe played their part and in fact tested Scott Loach more than the Hornets managed at the other end. The Iron from League 1 matched the Hornets shot for shot and tackle for tackle without really looking capable of rocking the boat.
Even the official Watford website admits that the Iron "had the better of the few chances in the 90 minutes" - so true!
Ok, so Harley had a drive narrowly go wide (after a cute Priskin drag back) as the first half drew to a close and a O`Toole saw a neat volley fly wide on the stroke of half time but, in truth, there was little of note to warm up the ever so cold (and admittedly sparce) Hornets home crowd.
And had Ref Wright not turned down some pretty half hearted Scunnie appeals for a penalty (after a spot of pinball seemed to involve a hand) things could have been so different.
Iron Winger Woolford gave Hoyte the run around and had a couple of drives sting the palms of Loach - whose handling at times was a little suspect. Thompson, who will have impressed, too saw a long ranger well held by the rookie stopper just after the half hour mark and Hooper`s curler was closer than first thought.
Hayes, who netted the winner is last years curtain closer, came close to an equalizer late on but 4 minutes of injury time just dragged it out a bit longer than necessary.
But that was about as good as it got for Nigel Adkins side - and for the Hornets well it wasn`t much better.
Sure, Priskin should have wrapped it up with a 77th minute effort that really should have given Joe Murphy more problems than it did (so much time Tamas!) following a deflected free kick. McAnuff whipped in a strike that flew just wide but chances were few and far between.
Watford should be imposing their new passing game on teams from a lower division if Rodgers is serious about this 'total football` thing.
The Hornets boss will be relieved if disappointed by the showing - You`d be hard pushed on this evidence to spot which side were 11 places lower in the footballing hierarchy.
Still, a win is a win and 2009 starts with another bout of optimism filling the air. Both Cork and Hoyte - on loan from Chelsea and Arsenal respectively - put in solid if unspectacular debuts, Priskin continued to look sharp and Jenkins combative as Watford go into the hat…
…obviously hoping to avoid Forest or Hartlepool in the 4th round.
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Date:Saturday January 3 2009
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