Date:Sunday January 27 2008
Attendance: 12 790
A short lesson in football Mr Boothroyd; this was The Football Association Challenge Cup. not The Adrian 'I`m too important for the F.A Cup` Boothroyd Cup. If you want to be more like your supposed idols, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wengar, then put out your first team, especially when playing a side from your own division. We, unlike United or Arsenal are not in the bracket of clubs monopolizing our division, hence we need to field our strongest team, week in, week out.
Fitness is not an excuse. Players in the good old days played fifty games a season sometimes, for lesser wages, in front of half-full stadiums, with less people writing about them, they were less fit too. Yet, they respected the Cup and their managers, armed with squads of less than twenty were able to rely on them for league and cup games alike.
Yesterday`s team selection was poor, there were several first team regulars out there granted, but there were also several players who fitted into the 'fringe player` bracket and would have been short of fitness and confidence in a team equally short of confidence at home.
Malky Mackay fitted into that bracket as he made a shock first appearance of the season. Yes, we have a crisis at centre back, but really, Mackay is not the right option. It is obvious he will have to be replaced at some point, so why waste a place on the bench for an unfit player to have a replacement when you can start Mariappa right back, and Doyley centre back?
Mackay`s error led to the first goal, just FIVE minutes in, a hopeful punt over the top from Wayne Hennessey lead to Jay Bothroyd`s flick on having out-tussled Mackay; Keogh still had a lot to do as he ran onto it and lobbed speculatively over Lee who was stranded a yard off his line.
Watford were laboured in their approach play and Steve Kabba [not a winger, Aidy] was a huge improvement on earlier in the season, but still needs to be given a runout up top if he is ever to break his goal duck. He could`ve levelled but McAnuff failed to pick him out when loitering on the edge of the penalty area.
Nathan Ellington ,now everyone`s favourite striker [in the absence of Henderson] came close to a goal worthy of a Duke as he curled a twenty yard free kick against the crossbar. For what it`s worth, Hennessey was scrambling…
Two quick fire second half goals were conclusive in determining Watford would be heading out the competition and Stephen Elliot tucked home a neat goal after 13 second half minutes before Jay Bothroyd tapped into an empty net with Richard Lee stranded ten later.
Both a fantastic example of how keeping the ball on the deck and purposely passing it to a member of your own team pays dividends. Elliott`s goal the end product to a wonderful Wolves breakaway which saw Jarvis beat Doyley before picking out the simple pass 10 yards square to his right; it`s not hard boys in Yellow…
Perhaps Watford`s only piece of attacking play which ended with a flourish, saw O`Toole net his third for Watford as he had to guile and composure to roll past Hennessey having taken down Ellington`s knock-on from Kabba`s cross. The signs are there…
But, the 'good work` for the afternoon was torn up into tiny shreds 20 minutes later as Andy Keogh showed all the ingredients of an actual Premiership striker, controlling a PASS, holding off Lloyd Doyley before pinging into the bottom left-hand corner.
Maybe Aidy enjoys being made a mug of, as Ian Holloway once said, 'Im like a teabug, I don`t stay long in the cup [or mug for this irony…!]
Hennessey, Darren Ward, Collins, Henry (Kightly 90), Foley, Rob Edwards, Potter, Jarvis (Gray 84), Elliott, Bothroyd (Gibson 90), Keogh.
Subs Not Used: Stack, Breen.
Referee: Mr Keith Stroud
Date:Sunday January 27 2008
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