Date:Sunday December 23 2007
Attendance: 19 641
Back on top of the league after and absence of just one week, perhaps things aren`t as bad as many think in Hertfordshire - on the field at least. Once again Watford`s case was helped by West Brom who managed to lose against Stoke, a Ricardo Fuller treble doing the damage.
At long, long last, Aidy reached the long-suffering, unused tactical nouse stored somewhere deep in his brain and re-shuffled his pack, Damien Francis, impressive against Plymouth replacing Lee Williamson. Meanwhile the Duke nearly keeled over in shock as he was handed just his third start of the season.
Both were impressive on their return to their first team, Ellington providing a great first half chance as he weaved around the ageing Lee Bullen before shooting off Marlon King. This miss was off insignificance however because Watford already had a seventh minute lead through Jobi McAnuff.
Controlling a pass, McAnuff rounded a man and poked the ball past Lee Grant off the outside of his right foot to warm the Hornets fans up no ends.
The rest of the first half was pretty turgid stuff, Marcus Tudgay providing the only spark of the first half somehow missing the Hornets net twice when well-placed. The second a real howler as a striker evidently short of form swung his leg at the far post the miss completely.
Bells ringing in their ears, or perhaps even the overly-loud tune from the P.A system, Watford came out like a team with an actual mission, Jobi McAnuff caused havoc down the right wing beating young Tommy Spurr all ends up, his cross poor.
Ellington continued his appeal for a first-team place as he headed just wide of the far post having beaten his marker at the far post.
O`Toole also came close as Watford`s focus switched from hoofing the ball to Ellington and King to finding McAnuff and Smith. Smith also caused panic waves down the left flank and although the final ball was there, the finish wasn`t.
Having been on top for the lion`s share of the second half, it was painfully inevitable that the Owls would have their spell in the game and so they did. Yoan Folly nodded the best of their chances wide at the far post.
Jordan Stewart managed to concede an indirect free-kick under pressure, from which one macho Golden Boy deflected onto the bar and out for a corner - the kick was inches from the penalty spot.
Congratulations in order all round, to those who also made the long, cold and foggy journey to Sheffield, the weekend before Christmas, bah humbug! And, to those in festive red on the pitch, particularly the returning men. Can we play away every week?!
Grant; Bullen (c), Hinds, M.Johnson, Spurr; Johnson, Whelan, Watson, O`Brien; Tudgay and Small.
Referee: Mr C Oliver
Date:Sunday December 23 2007
|6. West Ham||24||10||9||5||10||39|
|12. Crystal Palace||24||9||4||11||-4||31|
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