A look back at last season month by month…
April was a month of what could have been for Watford as they attempted to chase down Hull in the second automatic promotion place. There were some victories in which Watford had turned the corner, but equally, disappointing defeats when it looked like second place was well beyond them. But, thanks to Hull City’s end-of-season form Watford ended the month still with a chance of automatic promotion.
And it was Hull where Watford started the month of April in a win or bust match at the KC Stadium. And win was exactly what they did putting in a very disciplined performance to win the game 1-0. The winner, scored just before half time, was a goal of real quality from Troy Deeney who curled the ball into the top corner from 20 yards after picking the ball up. Watford’s defence stood up to the second half onslaught from the Tigers with Jonathan Bond putting in his best performance between the sticks.
The win put Watford right back in the automatic promotion race.
Watford faced another top side the following match as table toppers Cardiff City came to Vicarage Road. The 0-0 draw, whilst respectable, did little to boost Watford’s promotions hopes despite having the better chances throughout the game. Deeney volleyed just over, Cristian Battocchio struck just wide and the final 20 minutes were played out in the Cardiff half as the visitors settled for the point which went a long way to guaranteeing their own promotion. However, Watford could not make the breakthrough and went into back to back away games against struggling sides needing maximum points.
The Hornets came unstuck the following weekend at London Road against Peterborough United losing the game 3-2, a scoreline made to look prettier by a late Watford fightback.
Peterborough’s quick and tricky frontline caused Watford problems throughout the game with Danny Swanson and Dwight Gayle giving the Posh a 2-0 lead. Midway through the second half Marco Cassetti was dismissed for denying a goal scoring opportunity with Lee Tomlin scoring the resulting free kick. The Hornets did make a fight back with goals from Mark Yeates and Fernando Forestieri but it was not enough to claim any vital points.
Watford suffered a second defeat just three days later as they travelled to The Den to face Millwall fresh from their F.A Cup Semi Final defeat. Watford played some excellent football and created a number of good opportunities but failed to take them. Deeney, Vydra and Yeates were all guilty of missing guilt-edged chances and as the Hornets pushed for the winner they got caught on the break. Shaun Batt provided the finish to a Millwall counter-attack which saw them take the game 1-0 and consign Watford to back-to-back defeats at the most crucial stage of the season.
Although automatic promotion looked out of Watford’s reach they did at least make Hull work for second place by completing a comfortable victory over Blackburn Rovers 4-0 at Vicarage Road. After a tight first half Deeney’s two goals early in the second half set Watford on their way. Further goals from Almen Abdi and Matthew Briggs saw Watford put further pressure on Hull who continued to slip up.
The following Friday Watford faced the difficult trip to Leicester knowing a win for them and defeat for Hull the following day would take the race for second place to the final day. Leicester were desperate for the points themselves but it was Watford who took the game 2-1. The Hornets were beginning to show some real form again and two goals in three minutes from Deeney and a goal of the season contender from Nathaniel Chalobah saw Watford go in 2-0 up at half time. Harry Kane pulled a goal back for Leicester in the second half but Watford held on to win the game 2-1.
The following day Hull City did lose at Barnsley meaning if Watford could better the Tigers result on the final day they would take the second automatic promotion place…