A look back at last season month by month
October was a month which did much to warm the hearts of the Watford fans and encourage them that this team was well capable of competing at the top end of the table. Whilst results remained a mixed bag with two wins and three defeats in the five games, performances began to show consistency and continuity. And, whilst results may not have been what everyone wanted, two defeats in particular saw Watford cursing their luck over officials decisions.
The month started with one of the wins of the season, a 2-1 win at The Valley against newly-promoted Charlton Athletic. Whilst on the face of it the result may not seem like a major triumph, the circumstances surrounding the victory showed the Hornets had every ingredient necessary to challenge during the season.
Fernando Forestieri was sent off for two bookable offences just before half time leaving the Hornets to play the whole second half with 10 men with the game tied at 1-1. And with their backs against the wall away from home on a Tuesday night, to a man, every player stood up and went the extra mile to ensure the victory, given to them by Almen Abdi’s superb second-half free kick.
The following game at home to Middlesbrough was the first occasion when Watford could point towards the officials for influencing the result against them as they came up short going down 2-1. After a fast start which saw Troy Deeney give Watford the lead inside a minute – the second time Watford have done that to Middlesbrough at Vicarage Road in three years – Watford produced some of their best football of the season, playing at a high tempo and pinning Middlesbrough into their own half. Middlesbrough did however equalise in the first half when Marvin Emnes scored from a corner after being poorly marked but controversy was to strike on the stroke of half time.
For the second game running Watford would have to play the second half with ten men, this time after Matej Vydra was shown a straight red for apparently stamping on a Borough player. It was a decision with bemused and bewildered but ultimately sealed Watford’s fate as a second half goal from Scott McDonald saw Middlesbrough take the points.
After another two week international break following the Middlesbrough game, Watford left it late to bounce back from defeat with a last minute victory over Peterborough Utd at Vicarage Road. Vydra, who had had his red card against Middlesbrough overturned on appeal, scored the winner from the penalty spot in the final moments to seal a 1-0 victory.
The game against the Posh was the first but not last time the Hornets were presented with a team content to sit back with 11 men behind the ball and try to restrict Watford opportunities. As the season wore on he Hornets had mixed success against teams employing these tactics.
The following midweek trip to Cardiff was another occasion where Watford were on the wrong end of officials decisions as they went down 2-1. Despite Cardiff holding a 100% record at home until that point, Watford led well into the second half thanks to Tommie Hoban`s goal. However, indiscipline would strike as first Daniel Pudil was sent off for violent conduct for an off the ball incident. Cardiff then equalised from the penalty spot after a harsh handball decision went against Jonathan Hogg. Nathaniel Chalobah was then dismissed too, shown a second booking for kicking the ball away. Despite player 20 minutes with 9 men Watford manfully held on to the point they had until conceding a last minute winner which left them leaving empty handed.
That heroic midweek effort looked to have taken its toll on Watford the following Saturday at Blackburn Rovers as they lost 1-0 and in all honesty never looked like winning. That said it took a stoppage time winner from Jordan Rhodes to break the deadlock and condemn Watford to back-to-back defeats. Despite that though, Watford had shown in glimpses what they could achieve, it was just a matter of time before the season took off in style…