Hornets Held In Stalemate
Sat 17th Mar - 3:00pm
Watford were held to a 0-0 draw by relegation threatened Coventry City in a poor game at Vicarage Road. Played on a 'vegetable patch' of a pitch the ball spent most of the game in the air as the Hornets extended their unbeaten run to four matches.
Watford boss Sean Dyche made just one change to the side that won at Pride Park last week with Britt Assombalonga added to the starting line up having been recalled from his loan spell at Braintree. He took the place of fellow striker Joe Garner.
The game started in scrappy fashion with the visitors looking to use giant striker Clive Platt to their advantage. It was Watford who created the first chance of the game early on when John Eustace found space on left and his deep cross was headed over by Sean Murray at the back post.
Watford continued to look the more threatening in the opening stages with Troy Deeney causing constant problems for the Coventry back four. Britt Assombalonga nearly made it a dream debut when he rose to meet Alex Kacaniklic's corner but he headed over from a good position.
Coventry grew into the game as the half went on and nearly took the lead themselves. They had the ball in the net after 23 minutes but Nathan Cameron's header from McSheffrey's corner was ruled out for pushing.
Following a couple of set pieces Gary McSheffrey found space to cross and find an unmarked Platt at the back post but his downward header was cleared by a combination of Carl Dickinson and Nyron Nosworthy.
Tomask Kuszczak was also called into action as the first half drew to a close when Oliver Norwood drove a shot in low from the edge of the area but the on loan stopper saved well and reacted quickly to push the ball behind.
Half Time: 0-0
The second half started slowly with Watford creating the only half chance when after a low cross into the box John Eustace's effort was blocked behind for a corner.
It was the introduction of Chris Iwelumo which tipped the game towards Watford when he replaced debutant Britt Assombalonga. Iwelumo, in his element, produced his best football in a Watford shirt putting the Coventry defence under pressure and causing no end of problems.
Watford nearly took the lead following a quick breakaway which saw Carl Dickinson find Troy Deeney in space and after his first effort was blocked by a defender his second effort was pushed onto the post by Joe Murphy in the Coventry goal.
Coventry were gifted an opportunity to take the lead through an appalling refereeing decision which resulted in a free kick on the edge of the Watford box. A Coventry break away was thwarted by Nosworthy as he won the ball from Gary Deegan, however the referee saw it differently and awarded Coventry a free kick. McSheffrey struck the free kick well but Kuszczak was up to the task.
Watford continued to press and Deeney had another chance to give Watford the lead when good work from Iwelumo found him free in the box but Murphy again made the save from a tight angle. Moments later another scramble in the Coventry area lead to Eustace having another effort that was kept out by Murphy.
As the game drew to it's final stages Coventry nearly nicked the points when substitute Cody McDonald broke clear of the Watford defence and clipped his shot over Kuszczak before Mariappa charged back to clear off the line. In the end despite a better second half both sides had to settle for a fair but scrappy point.
Watford: Kuszczak; Doyley, Nosworthy, Mariappa, Dickinson; Murray, Eustace (c) Hogg, Kacaniklic (Yeates); Assombalonga (Iwelumo) & Deeney.
Subs Not Used: Loach (GK), Taylor & Garner.
Coventry: Murphy; Clarke (Christie), Keogh, Cameron, Crainie; Deegan, Norwood, Clingan, McSheffrey; Nimley (McDonald) & Platt.
Subs Not Used: Dunn (GK), Hussey & Thomas.
Also a special mention to referee Colin Webster who was absolutely abysmal throughout making a bad game worse.