Hornets Sign Off With Home Win
Sat 28th April - 3:00pm
WATFORD SIGNED off a highly successful 2011/12 campaign with victory over play-off chasing Middlesbrough to ensure an 11th place finish and 64 points, their highest total for four years.
Going into the game Watford made one change from their final away game of the season with Scott Loach returning in goal in place of Tomask Kuszczak.
In difficult wet conditions both sides found the going tough early, but when news filtered through that play-off rivals Cardiff had fallen behind at Crystal Palace, meaning 3 points would now guarantee Boro a play-off place, the away side stamped their authority of the game.
Scott Loach saved well from a Joe Bennett pile driver and again from Marvin Emnes who shot from the edge of the area. Middlesbrough continued to step up the pressure but found Loach in top form once again this time keeping out Barry Robson who ran onto Faris Haroun's cut back.
Watford offered some resistance and nearly took the lead before the break. After good build up play on the left Prince Buaben burst into the box and his cross found Chris Iwelumo at the near post but effort went just wide of the post.
Half Time: 0-0
With news early in the second half that Cardiff had equalised and then taken the lead st Selhurst Park, the visitors performance began to fall flat with them failing to really trouble the Watford goal with any sustained pressure.
Watford began to press forward themselves, despite seeing Jonathan Hogg forced off injured early in the second half. Chris Iwelumo and Troy Deeney linked well with Iwelumo testing Steele in the Boro goal.
Watford took the lead on the break midway through the second half. After being released down the left wing Deeney carried the ball to down the wing before crossing for Iwelumo to flick in at the near post.
Watford should have added a second minutes later when Deeney broke clear and rather than play in Murray on the right opted to shoot himself but missed the target.
Boro still looked threatening going forwards themselves and levelled after Barry Robson tricked his way to edge of the box and his cross was eventually turned in by Marvin Emnes off the underside of the bar.
It took Watford just three minutes to regain the lead however, scoring the goal that would prove decisive. Another Watford break away found Craig Forsyth on the left. His run and cross found Deeney free in the box and he sidefooted the winner in off the post.
There were still plenty of nervous moments in the five minutes of stoppage time after a goalmouth scramble saw Adrian Mariappa clear Justin Hoyte's effort off the line and Scott McDonald head a diagonal ball inches wide of the far post.
But Watford held out to end the 2011/12 season on a high with the Hornets faithful hopeful of better things to come.
Watford: Loach, Doyley, Nosworthy, Taylor, Dickinson, Buaben, Hogg (Forsyth), Eustace, Murray, Iwelumo (Mariappa), Deeney
Subs Not Used: Gilmartin (GK), Whichelow, Garner
Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, McManus, Hines, Bennett, Haroun (McDonald), Bailey, Williams, Robson, Jutkiewicz (Main), Emnes
Subs Not Used: McMahon, Thomson, Arca