Away from Home: Defensive woes continue
University of Portsmouth journalism undergraduate Billy Hawkins returns with his latest column, discussing the Hornet`s point against high-flying Nottingham Forest and the Golden Boys` continued defensive errors...The anticipation that preludes a football match broadcast live on TV sets the game up as an almost transcendent event - one that will be better than all others. Ultimately this can prove too much, as evidenced on Sky Sport`s Monday Night Football with the 0-0 draw between Manchester United and Chelsea, although certain matches live up to the billing - a notable playoff semi-final comes to mind.
Thankfully, Sunday`s match against Nottingham Forest certainly belongs to the latter...
After another slow start, and more defensive errors - a trend that is becoming all too evident - Andy Reid scored with a powerful finish to give Forest the lead.
Ultimately culpable for the goal was Marco Cassetti, who lingered on the ball and ended up losing it; for someone who proved his reliability through the majority of last season, it is sad to see his game drastically collapse as it has done. The first half amounted to mistake after mistake - especially throughout the defence - which meant a one-goal deficit seemed thoroughly promising.
Once again, as in the Reading game, a desire from the players became apparent in the second period - certainly aided by Billy Davies` belief in his team`s ability to hold onto a one-goal lead against a rather free scoring side.
The majority of the second half was spent inside the Forest half, with all three central defenders camped on the halfway line.
Whilst possession may have been dominated, it is not hard to see why Forest had not conceded a goal until this game; the rigidness of their defensive structure was impeccable, and, whilst the physicality may have been over the top, the players closed down men all over the pitch.
Troy Deeney hardly had a touch of the ball, and Diego Fabbrini - Watford`s most creative force on the day - kept running into a solid wall of defenders. It is no surprise then that the goal came from a direct free-kick - especially one as perfectly hit as Forest old boy Lewis McGugan.
There have been some complaints regarding McGugan`s attitude towards the Forest fans - with conflicting reports of both clapping and booing from them - with people saying that he was too respectful by not celebrating his goal - even when jeers emanated from the certain sections of the crowd.
Admittedly, I was not aware of any jeering during the game, and, having moved into my new house in Portsmouth - currently without an internet connection - I cannot see the updated situation as I write this.
Personally, I find it admirable that he would not celebrate, especially against the club that brought him up, and it makes me respect him as a player knowing that he chooses the moral high ground over veiled insults towards a club that undoubtedly means much to him.
If you have been reading attentively - as I am sure you have - you will be aware that I am now back in Portsmouth. A few weeks of work until the term begins will help me settle back into what is now my final year.
In terms of Watford, that means I cannot get to the Capital One Cup game on Wednesday - a hopeful repeat of the previous Bournemouth score line - nor will I be at the majority of games until the Christmas break. Thankfully - at least when I get the internet installed - it is easy enough to follow goings on in the football world.
Considering the high number of games I miss, is it too much to ask that the defensive problems are sorted out before I go to Vicarage Road again?!Remember to follow Billy on Twitter - @bhawkinsss