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Late Drama Denies Hornets Three Points

Scunthorpe United
2 - 2

Glanford Park

20.02.10 @15.00

Attendance: 5411


Watford came away from Glanford Park yesterday just a point better off in spite of their first-half domination and taking the lead for the first time on the day in the 91st minute thanks to midfield workhorse, John Eustace. Poor refereeing cost the Hornet`s a crucial away win; what would have been a first in four months as a 95th minute penalty was awarded to the home side to give Gary Hooper his second of the afternoon after a 'handball` awarded against Jay DeMerit.

Tom Cleverley returned to the starting eleven after a calf injury meaning Ross Jenkins dropped down the bench and Heidar Helguson partnered Danny Graham up top after being ineligible to face parent club, Queens Park Rangers.

The visitors put the Iron under the cosh early on and a goalmouth saw the ball stay out the net as Danny Graham nodded straight at 'keeper Joe Murphy.

Just before half-time the Hornet`s were made to pay for not taking their first-half chances as former Southend United striker Gary Hooper opened the scoring. Put through by a perfect through ball from striker partner Paul Hayes, Hooper finished neatly one-on-one with curled effort that was placed perfectly into the left-hand corner.

Half-Time: 1-0

The Hornet`s leveler came in the 64th minute after another goalmouth scramble, Danny Graham, (just one goal in his last twenty starts for the Golden Boys), managed to hook the ball home in a crowded penalty area.

However with just eight minutes to go, the Hornet`s chances of grabbing all three points were dealt a huge blow and Tom Cleverley clattered former Crewe midfielder, Michael O`Connor. If replays are anything to go by, then O`Connor should`ve followed the United loanee down the tunnel for throwing a punch at Cleverley in reply to the tackle.

But, Watford belied their man disadvantage and in the 91st minute took the lead for the first time in the game, the unlikely goalscorer, John Eustace. From sub Jon Harley`s corner the midfielder was able to loop a diving header into the far bottom corner to seemingly hand the 'Orns an invaluable three points on the road.

In a game of drama however, the Iron were handed, literally, a 95th minute penalty as Cliff Byrne`s wayward volley hit the arm of Jay DeMerit, which was presumably out to give the defender, balanced on one leg, some balance. However the referee saw it differently and up stepped Gary Hooper to convert his 13th Championship goal of the season.

Scunthorpe United: Murphy; Byrne (c), Mirfin, Raynes, Williams; Sparrow, O`Connor (Forte), McCann (Thompson), Woolford (Togwell); Hayes and Hooper.
Subs not used: Lillis (gk); J.Wright, McDermott, Milne.

Watford: Loach; Mariappa, Taylor, DeMerit (c), Doyley; Cowie, Lansbury, Eustace, Cleverley; Helguson (Harley) and Graham.
Subs not used: Lee (gk); McGinn, Jenkins, Hoskins, Henderson and Hodson.

Referee: Mr D Webb

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Date:Sunday February 21 2010
Time: 11:57AM


Exciting game that we should have won. Loach failed to warn Taylor about Hoopper`s run for first goal but later made 2 great stops. Cowie ( usually invisible away ) was superb. Penalty harsh,red card also IMO. Their number 7 (Sparrow) caught HL facially with an elbow first half and got away without a yellow . His yellow in second half should have therefore been his second. Punch on TC missed by ref-DG pulled back when clean through but ref bottled that red card situation.
Dirk Thrust
22/02/2010 09:28:00
It is all well and good complaining about the referee, but if we had done for one minute longer what we had done for the rest of the game, we would have won. Simple as that. The referee's performance would have been nothing more than a footnote. When are the team going to wake up and play for the WHOLE game, rather than switching off once the 80 minute mark comes up? The title of this article should really be the epitaph of this season. How many times have they thrown away points by switching off late on in games? Dosy defending is what is costing us points and seeing us plummet down the league. Not lack of money, not boardroom battles, and not really lack of goals, but dosy defending. We usually always score, but often let in sloppy goals late on in matches, and this has cost us about 11 points this season. (I am writing this the day after the defeat at Sheffield Wednesday). With those extra points (against Swansea, Leicester, Doncaster, Blackpool, Scunthorpe and Sheffield Wednesday) we would be sitting about 10th and nowhere near a relegation dogfight. This has been the problem since Graham Taylor's team were relegated from teh Premiership in 2000, especially at Championship level. the inability to hold on to leads and see games out. Even when we were in the Premiership in 2006/07, the statistic goes that if games finished at 80 minutes, we would have finished 14th, so therein lies the problem. It is a fitness and more importantly, a concentration thing. I have always joked that if Watford could keep clean sheets, we would be winning the Champions League by now. Unfortunately they can't, and we are scrapping at the bottom of teh Championship...and letting in sloppy, costly last-minute goals.
25/03/2010 18:54:00
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