Watford 2-1 Millwall

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Watford finally recorded a home win under the helm of Sean Dyche as they narrowly beat fellow Championship strugglers, Millwall.

Well at the start of the game, Dyche threw us all a curved ball by putting Rene Gilmartin in goal and relegating Scott Loach to the subs bench. Dyche later revealed that the reason for this change was that Scott Loach needed some time out.

There was a very early scare when Martin Taylor blocked James Henry’s goalbound shot. However, that was the only real scare that Millwall gave Watford in the first-half as Watford began to take control of the game. Though, some bits of the game have to be discussed such as why we whipped in looping crosses when we had Marvin Sordell and Joe Garner up who are both under 6ft tall. This obviously meant that defenders like Paul Robinson could easily clear without breaking a sweat.

Things still looked bright after the break with Watford looking really good. But things looked grim as a rare attack from Millwall ended with Liam Feeney’s looping cross-cum- shot looping over Rene Gilmartin and in to the far corner of the net to send the 841 Millwall fans in to raptures.

Watford got their deserved equaliser when Watford increased the pressure and new-boy Carl Dickinson drove the ball home from 20 yards to get his first goal for Watford. Things got even better when Millwall failed to clear a corner and Craig Forsyth drilled the ball home from 6 yards to the delight of myself and my fellow Watford fans.

I’m glad and relieved we got our first home win of the season but this was a relatively poor Millwall side and I just wonder what will happen when we face the likes of Southampton, Cardiff City and Southampton.

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Watford August Summary

So, the first month of a new season of the Football League has just passed. Watford are in the relegation zone with 3 points. These have come from three draws, not a win. So as you can probably guess by now, Watford haven’t picked up their first win of the season and this is home and away.

I do appreciate that players need time to gel and with a new manager in charge, this will take time but I feel that all fans should get behind Sean Dyche and the team no matter what. After picking up a 2-2 draw after being 2-0 up, I could see that some of the problems, mostly defending, have not disappeared. It still boggles me why our defending is not up to scratch when we’ve had two former defenders in charge of the club. I am of course, talking about Mackay and Dyche.

You can have your own opinions, but I honestly feel that it might be a long, hard season for the Golden Boys. Unfortunately unless things dramatically change, we will not be competing for a playoff place but Watford are working within a tight budget so I don’t many fans will be disappointed if we don’t end up in the play-offs.

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Watford 0-2 QPR

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Watford’s last home game of the season ended in defeat and this victory for QPR confirms them as champions – for now at least.

QPR had the first effort on goal when Adel Taarabt’s delicious cross was headed in to the side netting by Heidar Helguson.

Helguson had another chance to break the deadlock after Matthew Connolly somehow managed to keep the ball in play and his cross was powerfully headed by Helguson but Loach did well to save at the near post.

Scott Loach nearly made a howler when he spilled Adel Taarabt’s freekick but luckily for Loach, Lloyd Doyley saw the danger and cleared the ball for a corner. Watford then could’ve broke the deadlock themselves when Danny Graham’s header went just wide after Troy Deeney did well to get in a cross.

QPR finally got the goal they needed after a centre by Tommy Smith was poked in by Adel Taarabt. They then sealed the points when Tommy Smith went past Dale Bennett too easily and fired past Scott Loach to seal the points and confirm QPR as champions of the Npower Championship. Congratulations to QPR.

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Watford 1-0 Barnsley

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A goal from John Eustace was enough to keep Watford’s slim playoff dreams flickering in a mediocre game at Vicarage Road. 

Watford put Barnsley under immense pressure in the early stages of the opening half and got off to a great start with John Eustace scoring with only 70 seconds on the clock. This goal came about after Troy Deeney headed Don Cowie’s corner against the bar, but John Eustace was there to lash it home from two yards.

Things looked really good from then on with Watford having 5 more corners but could not score from them. The best chance was when John Eustace’s header was tipped over the bar by Luke Steele. This was before Matt Hill nodded wide at the other end.

Barnsley managed to keep Danny Graham quiet for long periods of the game and when he did find space to have a shot on goal, Barnsley’s defending was heroic. Danny Graham then chipped in a cross for Marvin Sordell but his header was only just off target.

Reuben Noble-Lazarus’s powerful shot was probably the closest Barnsley came to a goal but Scott Loach did extremely well to save it as the ball was hit with real pace and venom. Then Bobby Hassell slashed the ball over the bar as Barnsley searched for an equalising but to no avail.

This win puts Watford 11th and 5 points of the playoffs with 9 points to play for. So Watford have to win all their remaining games to have a sniff of finishing 6th. Just think where Watford would be if we managed to hold on to the leads against Norwich City, Burnley, Portsmouth, Leeds United and Crystal Palace.

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Watford 2-2 Norwich City

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Watford and Norwich City shared the spoils in an action-packed evening at Vicarage Road on Tuesday.

Watford got off to the worst start imaginable when Sam Vokes ran on to a Grant Holt pass and fired past Scott Loach. Only 77 seconds of the match had been played.

Though to Watford’s credit, they did put the Norwich City defence under huge amounts of pressure and carved out many opportunities to score. The pressure got to Norwich City as their defending seemed quite desperate at times.

Watford eventually equalised on the 26th minute when Danny Graham took advantage of a very lucky bounce of Elliott Ward and score his 27th goal of the season by firing the ball low past Norwich City keeper, John Ruddy.

Then ten minutes later, Watford took the lead when Danny Graham beat Zak Whitbread on the wing and whipped in a cross that found Don Cowie who took a touch before unleashing a powerful shot in off the underside of the crossbar.

It looked like that Norwich City was going to have back to back defeats for the first time under Paul Lambert and it should have been 3-1 to Watford. A great cross from Marvin Sordell found its way to Danny Graham but he managed to let the ball run over his foot and the chance was wasted.

 This wasted opportunity proved to be a big turning point as David Fox whipped in a freekick and Grant Holt, who was being fouled by Adrian Mariappa, headed across goal and Simeon Jackson tapped the ball home from about two yards.

It finished 2-2 and this draw puts Watford up to 11th place and their playoff hopes are vanishing as they’re not picking up wins and the teams in the playoffs and around the playoffs are all putting vital points on the board. Watford must now look to Saturday’s crunch match with Leeds United as a ‘make or break’ game. Win and there is a chance. Draw or loss and their playoff dreams are over.

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Watford 1-2 Hull City

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Watford lost for the third consecutive game as Hull City’s impressive 14 away matches unbeaten run continued with a smash and grab win.

Hull City got their noses infront with only three minutes on the clock after a neat build up ended with Liam Rosenior’s cross being poked in by Corry Evans at the near post.

Though, Watford were in control for most of the half with Andreas Weimann having his low effort wide of goal before the Austrian crashed his volley just wide of the post. 

But, it was Watford’s top scorer, Danny Graham, who was the closest to getting a leveler after his turn and shot looked destined for the top corner but Brad Guzan did remarkably well to tip the ball over the bar.

After the break, Watford were still in firm control and would’ve equalised but John Eustace’s header managed to hit Andreas Weimann and bounce away to safety. Then Marvin Sordell got behind the Hull City’s defence and found Danny Graham in the box but Brad Guzan was there to make a vital save and keep Hull City’s lead in tact. Will Buckley also had a good effort on goal but his effort hit the post and Jack Hobbs cleared to safety.

Scott Loach nearly made a goalkeeping howler when he dallied on the ball and gave Matty Fryatt the chance to score one of the easiest goals of his footballing career. But, lucky for Loach, the ball crept just wide of the left hand post.

Hull City then sealed the points when Watford gave the ball away and Hull City’s promising youngster, Tom Cairney raced down the flank and crossed it for an unmarked Robert Koren to head home past Scott Loach to make sure that Hull City took all three points back to Humberside.

Watford did managed to score through a Martin Taylor header but this proved just to be a consolation goal and the game ended in a defeat for Watford and a win for a very resilient Hull City side.

All eyes will be on Tuesday’s home game against Norwich City in what must be a ‘make or break’ game. If Watford fail to pick up any points then I personally think that Watford’s playoffs hopes will vanish.

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Coventry City 2-0 Watford

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Watford’s play-off dreams suffered a further setback as they lost 2-0 to Championship strugglers, Coventry City

Watford started brightly and would’ve took the lead but Andreas Weimann’s shot went wide. Watford nearly went ahead after a Danny Graham cross was headed by Andreas Weimann but Keiren Westwood did well to tip the ball behind the post for a corner. 

But for all Watford’s early pressure, they fell behind when some sloppy defending allowed Gary McSheffrey to fire home after collecting a pass from David Bell. Watford would’ve scored minutes after the goal but Martin Taylor’s header only just went over the crossbar.

Coventry City would’ve gone 3-0 up as both Gary McSheffrey and Aron Gunnarsson had efforts on goal but were denied heroically by Scott Loach and Lee Hodson. Watford then made a double substitution at the start of the second half with Will Buckley and Daniel Drinkwater coming on for Matt Whichelow and Ross Jenkins.

Watford then had three good chances to equalise with Danny Graham and Andreas Weimann both guilty of missing guilt-edged chances. Watford were then made to pay for these misses as Coventry City substitute, Lukasz Jutkiewicz, scored after being set-up by ex-Watford striker, Marlon King.

Watford then ended the match with a flat performance and I have to question why Matt Whichelow was in the starting XI instead of Will Buckley. The pitch was perfect for a player like Will Buckley to take on people with pace.

So, if Watford do want to make the play-offs then this result must make Watford’s two next games against Hull City and Norwich City vital games. Both games are at home so Watford have a great chance in both but they have to play well to get the three points.

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Watford 3-0 Sheffield United

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Watford’s push for the playoffs increased as Watford scored three goals to pile more misery and despair on nine man Sheffield United.

The two teams were evenly matched in the opening stages.

Watford then took the lead with only ten minutes on the clock when Neill Collins miskicked after trying to clear a Don Cowie’s cross. Steve Simonsen made a reflex save to deny an own goal but Danny Graham was there to head in the rebound.

Then, Sheffield United’s task of getting a goal back was becoming more and more difficult as two former Watford players were shown red cards in a mad five minutes. Darius Henderson had already been booked when he clashed with Lee Hodson and the referee showed him his marching orders. Then Lee Williamson was shown a straight red after after a foul on Lloyd Doyley.

After the break, Watford showed good discipline as Sheffield United put everybody behind the ball which suggested to me that they would take a 1-0 defeat. However, this went out the window when Adam Thompson’s header hit the crossbar after a Don Cowie corner but Martin Taylor was there to hammer home after a rebound.

Watford then grabbed a third when Ross Jenkins scored his second goal for the club when he powered his header past Steve Simonsen after a John Eustace cross.

Watford now how have three away games on the trot which starts with Tuesday’s trip to Ipswich Town which is the game that got called off on Boxing Day. Then, Watford must play Middlesbrough and Coventry City before their next home game against Hull City.

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Watford 1-0 Millwall

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Danny Graham’s 21st goal of the season was enough as Watford edged out a narrow win against Millwall.

Watford boss Malky Mackay signed a new three-and-a-half year deal this week and celebrated in the best possible fashion.

Liam Trotter’s early low shot went just wide and Don Cowie’s 25-yard effort dipped over the crossbar, but Millwall looked dangerous on the counter-attack and Danny Schofield should have tested Watford keeper Scott Loach on the quarter-hour mark but he fired the ball over. Don Cowie went close for Watford with a drive, and Troy Deeney should’ve done better with a header.

Watford finally tested Millwall goalkeeper David Forde in the final minute of the half when he had to tip an absolute belter from centre-half Adrian Mariappa over the top as it looked like that it would creep into the top corner.

Scott Loach was then called into action at the start of the second half when he got down well to keep out a stinging shot from James Henry, before the hosts scored the only goal in the 51st minute.

Don Cowie’s ball from the left found Graham and he pulled off a fantastic turn and shot which beat David Forde at his near post and found the bottom corner of the goal. But although the win edged Watford ahead of Millwall in the table, both sides do look destined to end the season in mid-table.

Watford will travel to Swansea on Tuesday night who will be looking to bounce back after a shock 1-0 defeat away at Scunthorpe United. Then, it’s a home game against Sheffield United who have not won under fairly new manager Micky Adams.

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Arsenal 5-0 Leyton Orient

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Nicklas Bendtner’s classy hat-trick booked an enticing FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester United as Arsenal swatted aside Leyton Orient in simple fashion.

League One Orient were routinely swept aside in this fifth-round replay, but Arsenal’s crushing disappointment from Sunday’s failure to collect their first trophy since 2005 – after losing the Carling Cup final to Birmingham – was hard to hide at a muted Emirates Stadium.

 The hosts initially looked like they lacked a spring in their step, but fears of further agony evaporated in the seventh minute with a goal of typical Arsenal quality.

With Irish debutant Conor Henderson – another ball-playing midfielder – probing for a gap through the back-line, the 19-year-old’s deflected pass was pounced on by Rosicky who swiftly sped to the bye-line to clip a square ball through the legs of Charlie Daniels across the box.

Moroccan striker Chamakh held his position to coolly side-foot the through the legs of Terrell Forbes from eight yards out, right into the corner of the net, for his first goal since the end of November.

Orient hit back soon after as Ignasi Miquel’s poor headed clearance fell for Ben Chorley. But his full-blooded volley was blocked a team-mate who had crouched in front of Manuel Almunia, who nevertheless had it covered.

Bendtner had appeared marginally disinterested, but that illusion was shattered over the course of an illuminating 20-minute spell from the Danish forward before half-time. His first goal, in the 27th-minute, was a superb effort as he leapt high to outmuscle Daniels before guiding a looping header past the reach of O’s keeper Jamie Jones from a floated Gibbs cross. With that, Arsene Wenger’s team took complete control.

The second from Bendtner, who insists he has the talent to eventually become one of the world’s best strikers, was even better that the first. Pouncing on a loose ball, he stalked into the area while teasing the ball just in front of Andrew Whing to find a gap before curling a low shot perfectly past Jones into the far corner.

The hosts remained in second gear after the break although Orient, with impressive Daniels a constant outlet down the right, did at least try to conjure a sense of adventure. Abou Diaby should have added Arsenal’s fourth in the 50th minute after he danced round host of defenders on a charge towards goal. But, after a fine on-two with Chamakh set him free inside the box, he dragged his low shot just wide.

It finally came in the 62nd minute when Gibbs shimmied his way into the area only to be felled by Revell, who looked uncomfortable defending.

Bendtner’s penalty finish was true and unerring as he completed his hat-trick before being taken off, though not before nearly gifting a goal to the east Londoners as he dallied while covering at right-back.

Emmanuel Eboue’s testing ball across the box evaded O’s defenders, was dummied by Chamakh, and just eluded substitute Jack Wilshere. But French left-back Clichy ran onto it like a stream train to propel a powerful low finish just inside the far post past over-worked Jones.

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