Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Sunday September 26 2010
Attendance: 12 185
At the fifth time of asking Watford finally recorded their first home win of the season having twice drawn and twice lost at the Vic' this campaign. Gordon Strachan's much-fancied, though nowadays much-maligned Middlesbrough no match for the Hornet's who attacked the visitors from the off.
A blitz of three goals in the first twenty minutes saw off the Teessider's limp challenge and allowed Malky Mackay the luxury of resting red-hot striker partnership Danny Graham and Marvin Sordell towards the end.
The only change from the side that recorded consecutive away victories at Bristol City and Millwall was the re-introduction of Lee Hodson to replace the ineligible Andrew Taylor, prevented from playing against his parent club. Lloyd Doyley slotted back in at left back.
The home side took the lead inside a minute through Danny Graham - who else; the Championships' second highest scorer grabbed his fifth league goal of the campaign against his former employers after just seventeen seconds.
Latching onto a careless back-pass from centre-back David Wheater, Graham rounded young 'keeper Jason Steele to coolly slot home against the club where he started his career.
The second wasn't far off for the Hornets, just ten minutes later in fact, another scorer from the previous weekend, loanee Jordan Mutch once again getting in on the goalscoring action.
From a corner headed clear of the penalty area, the eighteen year-old lashed a perfectly placed volley past Steele first-time from the edge of the area to effectively kill the game after just eleven minutes.
The third Hornet's goal was much less impressive but equally effective. A long punt up field from centre-back Martin Taylor found Don Cowie down the left flank. Somehow the Scottish international escaped the attentions of Matthew Bates long enough to surge into the area and centre for Graham to notch from close-range.
Just twenty minutes played, and anyone expecting a second trashing in just seven days was to be left disappointed as the visitors grabbed the games only other goal.
From a right-wing cross Scott MacDonald chipped a ball into the six yard box where Adrian Mariappa under pressure from the SPL's all-time leading scorer Kris Boyd nodded past his own 'keeper with ten minutes left on the clock.
An impressive third straight league victory for the Hornet's who a la last season have started impressively, the pressure is on Malky Mackay's men to prevent a repeat performance of last season's second half of the campaign and avoid the nail-biting climax.
Watford: Loach; Hodson, Mariappa, M.Taylor, Doyley; Eustace (c); Cowie, Buckley (McGinn); Mutch; Sordell (Deeney) and Graham (Walker).
Subs not used: Gilmartin (gk), Oshodi, Bryan and Wichelow.
Middlesbrough: Steele; Bates (McMahon), McManus, Wheater, Arca; O'Neil (c), Tavares, Halliday (Boyd), Robson; MacDonald and Lita (Kink).
Subs not used: Coyne (gk); Hines, Bailey and Williams.
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Date:Sunday September 26 2010
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