Watford came away from the Riverside Stadium today with three highly unlikely pounts as every factor that could go against them did in the leadup to kick-off in Teeside.
Having lost the Iceman, Heidar Helguson the day before the game, Watford then lost another experienced campaigner in John Eustace in the leadup to kick off. Jon Harley came in for Eustace for a rare start whilst Richard Lee also injured his knee for the stiffs in midweek. With third-choice ‘keeper Jonathan North also out, it feel to youngster Jonathan Bond to take up the ‘keepers spot on the bench.
The home side were without a home win in two, and Gareth Southgate as unpopular as ever as Tom Cleverley did his bit to lower the rapidly increasing attendances at the Riverside.
The Manchester United loanee grabbed the games only goal on twenty six minutes finishing an impressive move by Malky’s young Hornets.
The moved ended with former ‘Boro man Golden Danny Graham supplying the pass for Tom Cleverley to sidefoot home past home stopper Brad Jones to hand the Hornet’s a shock three points.
This was the Hornets third away victory of the season and moves the Golden Boys up from the duldrums of fifteenth place to the more cheery relms of twelfth.
Proof that though experience does definitly count at this level, the young whippersnappers can quite easily cause an upset.
Loach; Hodson, Mariappa (c), Cathcart, Doyley; Cleverley (Ellington), Cowie, Jenkins, Harley; Lansbury and Graham
Subs not used: Bond (GK); Bennett, Severin, Bryan, Henderson and Hoskins.
Jones; McMahon, St Ledger, Wheater, Bennett(Hoyte); Yeates(Arca), O’Neil, Digard, Johnson; Lita and Aliadiere.
Subs not used: Coyne (GK), Pogatetz, Emnes, Williams and Grounds.
Referee: Mr Scott Mathieson.
Aidy Mariappa (c)
Nathan Ellington (On for Tom Cleverley ’64)
Malky Mackay – 8
Managed to inspire/guide his troops to a surprise victory at one of the tougher sides in the division despite bad run and lack of experienced heads in the depleted side.
Gareth Southgate – 4
No doubt there will be ‘Boro fans calling for his head because they ‘shouldn’t be losing to teams like Watford at home’. Obnoxious misconceptions. Struggling to put a run together.