Three unbeaten after a rocky September, but in truth it really shouldn’t of been, depending on which side of the fence you were seated. At two nil-up, few would have been anxious, but the pivotal moment in the game came with the sending off of Tamas Priskin, for lashing out at Darren Purse.
With Watford down to ten men, it was Cardiff’s game for the taking, and take it they nearly did.
Pulling one back through Jay Bothroyd who hammered a shot toward the top corner which looped over Richard Lee to give the Bluebirds with a lifeline. Bothroyd then went on to grab his second just a few minutes later, a corner not cleared and Bothroyd swivelling to lash home his third of the season from close-range.
It could quite easily have been Cardiff’s third, having seen Ross McCormack step up and miss a penalty. Awarded in slightly strange terms, the referee only awarded the spot-kick after the initial ‘foul’ had seen the ball break for a shot on goal. Obviously not that stone-wall a penalty, but justice was [perhaps] done when Richard Lee threw himself to his right and palmed away the Scot’s effort before saving the rebound.
But, with two goals following the penalty miss by McCormack, Cardiff were bouyant and keenly chasing the winner. McCormack missed an absolute sitter, from literally the line, before Darren Ward superbly blocked off a flying far-post header from an impossible angle. Sub Eddie Johnson saw a good chance wasted with a low near-post shot, saved by Lee at the near post.
The first half, unsurprisingly had been a totally different kettle of fish with Watford taking the lead through John-Joe O’Toole. Tommy Smith’s driven cross-cum-shot directed home by the stretching sinew of John-Joe O’Toole’s neck to give Watford the lead.
The second came albeit some poor keeping from Tom Heaton, Manchester United loanee, who had an appalling evening between the sticks. Leigh Bromby, capping an excellent display, lobbed a terrific ball towards Will Hoskins who somehow got the better of Kevin McNaughton and then lash a half-volley under Heaton from an acute angle. His 4th goal of the season, a just reward for what was, once again, an excellent performance from the willing Rotherham runner.
Watford did owe yet more grattitude to Richard Lee after he clawed an effort out the top corner of his net and behind from a corner, somehow defying the laws of gravity to hang suspended in the air and pluck the well-struck effort round the post.
Full Time 2-2
With the chances Cardiff enjoyed, particuarly in the second-half, it was always likely they would go on and score, and that they did, in the end, we should count ourselves lucky to walk away with what would’ve been a good point at the beginning of the night.
Heaton; McNaughton, Purse (c), R. Johnson, Kennedy; Parry, Rae, McPhail, Whittingham; Bothroyd and McCormack.
Richard Lee – 8
Several great saves, plus a third penalty stop. AND, before we go through the record books, Peter Brezovan [I think] of Swindon Town, saved three, in one match, on his debut!
Aidy Mariappa – 3
Bring back Lloydy, is all forgiven.
Leigh Bromby – 8
Immense at the back, capped night with assist.
Darren Ward – 7
Only just under Bromby in performance terms.
Mat Sadler – 6
Nothing to shout about.
Lee Williamson – 6 (c)
Why was he subbed? Competent.
John-Joe-O’Toole – 6
Packed with energy as usual.
Jon Harley – 7
Worked hard down the left as per.
Tommy Smith – 7
Dilligent, rewarded with captaincy in the second half.
Tamas Priskin – 3
Did nothing before stupid sending off.
Will Hoskins – 7
Worked his socks off as ever, a neat, slightly lucky goal.