Away days, the common enemy to all Watford FC fans in the last 9 months – enduring the long and arduous journeys since our last win on the road which came back in November 2017.
With 3 points in the bag from the opening day win over Brighton, there was a feel-good factor around the club. With a much-improved performance from the end of last season and only one new, but also familiar face, in the starting line up in the form of Ben Foster. It was time for our form on the road to change.
Watford came out the blocks flying with an abundance of slick passes between attack and midfield. Troy Deeney playing a great one-two pass with Andre Gray to release himself down the right wing. Deeney then delivered in low cross the for his strike partner Gray who took his chance on the volley to give Watford an early 1-0 lead.
The roars of the away fans after seeing their teams score a first away goal for 7 months was short lived. Within 3 minutes of Gray’s opener, James Tarkowski had pegged back the Hornets with a towering header. Getting the better of Craig Cathcart and with Foster left in no man’s land as he came to collect the ball then tried to retreat to his goal line. The rest of the first half saw Burnley on top for the majority. Utilising wide areas and getting a lot of tantalising balls into the area but Watford managed to stand firm till half time.
The beginning of the second half saw Watford start as they did in the first, with Burnley pinned back in their own third. They failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to last season’s top goalscorer Abdoulaye Doucoure. With all the Watford fans shouting for him to shoot, added to his consistency last year at finding the net from outside the box, you wouldn’t have begrudged him for taking it on. Doucoure on the hand had other ideas. He was able to find Deeney through a crowded penalty box with a thunderbolt pass along the floor leaving all Burnley and Watford players bemused as to how he managed to fire the ball through and find his target. Deeney took a brilliant touch to stop the ball dead in its tracks and knock it around Joe Hart to make it 2-1 in the 48th minute.
They say all good things come in three’s and that was certainly the case for Watford. 3 minutes into the first half – goal. 3 minutes into the second half – goal. 3 minutes after their second goal, was goal number three.
Will Hughes managed to latch onto Matthew Lowton’s wayward crossfield ball in the middle of the park. With only one defender in front of him, he drove towards the goal with power and pace. Gray made an unselfish run to draw off the last defender giving Hughes space and time to compose himself, shooting from just outside the area with a thunderous strike which left Hart no chance to make the game 3-1. Burnley were unable to mount a comeback with long searching balls to try to break down the Hornets defence to no avail. The full-time whistle went and you could see the relief on the Watford players faces to finally get an away day win.
Two wins from two for the Hornets and up next is Crystal Palace. Can Watford make it a hat-trick of wins to start their campaign? Roy Hodgson and his men will hope not as they seek to get back on track from a 2-0 loss to Liverpool.
Writer: Michael Drury