2012/13 Season Review - February
February was a good month for Watford which saw them right in the mix for the second automatic promotion place by the end of it. There were four wins and a draw in the five matches played that month including another memorable away performance.
The month started with Watford returning to winning ways after defeat to Bristol City by beating Bolton Wanderes 2-1 at Vicarage Road.
The game saw the first return to Vicarage Road for former Hornet Marvin Sordell, who was making a rare start for Bolton after his move their the previous winter. It was Sordell who would open to the scoring after half an hour from the penalty spot after Daniel Pudil had fouled Sam Ricketts. However Matej Vydra equalised for Watford just four minutes later with a cool finish. In the second half Watford showed a great deal of patience, a skill key in those types of games, in order to win. The winner came from Almen Abdi with 20 minutes to go when he fired home from the edge of the box after a long period of possession.
The following Friday, Watford entertained Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road in front of the Sky cameras. It was an opportunity Palace manager Ian Holloway could not pass up to air his views on Watford's use of the loan system. The game itself finished 2-2 and was a cracker that in the end neither side deserved to lose. Watford took an early 2-0 lead when Almen Abdi scored from the edge of the box and Nathaniel Chalobah nodded in from a yard out after Palace had failed to clear a corner. However Palace always looked dangerous on the attack and mounted a second half comeback. Peter Ramage scrambled the ball over the line from a corner which resulted in a goalmouth scramble and Kevin Phillips equalised when he tapped in a cross four minutes later.
The following Saturday, Watford turned in one of their performances of the season beating Birmingham City 4-0 at St. Andrews. An impressive display was capped with a four goal winning margin and a clean sheet despite an increasing defensive injury crisis. Despite an even opening half an hour Watford stepped up the tempo before the break scoring twice through Troy Deeney and Ikechi Anya. The Hornets then picked off their hosts in the second with Deeney and Abdi scoring to make it 4-0.
Watford won again in style the following Tuesday beating Mick McCarthy's Ipswich Town 2-0 at Portman Road. A goal in each half from Anya and Chalobah saw the Hornets take all three points. It was the type of all round commanding performance that made it look increasingly likely that Watford would at the very least challenge for an automatic promotion place.
A challenge for the automatic promotion places looked even more likely as Watford continued their good run of form for the last game of the month defeating Derby County 2-1 at Vicarage Road. Despite a very physical approach from the Derby side, Watford coped well and took a 2-0 lead through a cracking goal from Vydra and a tap in from Joel Ekstrand. Although Derby pulled one back through a Jamie Ward penalty, Watford held on to record their third victory in a row.
An exciting end to the season looked very likely...