Three points for the Golden Boys who overcame every adversity thrown at them to collect a crucial three points towards promotion. Leicester City on the other hand will be fretting more than before after an abject display which left them closer to relegation.
Watford set out with the clear intention to out-muscle Leicester who themselves had plenty of power in the form of Steven Howard up top and duo McAuley and Kisnorbo at the back. McAuley it was who nearly handed Watford an early lead as he headed a trademark Leigh Bromby throw dangerously toward ‘keeper Ben Alnwick.
Aidy Mariappa looked positive early on and made a couple of surging runs early on, beating former Hornet James Chambers all ends up, unfortuantly though, the full back was unable to get a telling cross in.
Lionel Ainsworth forced the first real save from Alnwick as he charged down a clearance from a Foxes defender before racing on to see his shot well-stopped by a spread-eagled Alnwick. The on-loan Tottenham ‘keeper denied both Henderson and O`Toole in a period of domination, the Henderson miss something to behold as when 1v1 the big striker shot at Alnwick from six yards.
Five minutes before half-time, disasters struck as John-Joe O`Toole was controversially sent-off by the referee`s assistant after referee Mr Penn failed to spot a minor shirt-tug on Stephen Clemence. A standing ovation ensued for the young Irishman and an appeal is on the cards for the Golden Boys.
However, out of adversity, the Golden Boys snatched what could turn out to be a priceless lead in the long term. Leigh Bromby crashed a half-volley goalwards in a crowded area which Darius Henderson turned past Alnwick at the far post.
With Watford down to ten men, they were the epitomy of the side with just ten men, strangley (!).
Though breaking infrequently, the Golden Boys offered about as much as Leicester going forward, which was nothing. Despite possessing several intelligent passers in midfield in Matt Oakley and Stephen Clemence, the Foxes thumped hopeful balls toward muscular duo Hayles and Howard.
Consequently, Watford defended these aimless balls valiantly and Darius Henderson summed up his superb season by throwing his considerable frame in the way of one goal-bound attempt.
There was one heart-in-the-mouth moment as somebody headed goalwards for the Foxes. Richard Lee was allegedly well over his goalline, accompanied by the ball. Seated in the Rookery, I couldn`t see anything, but sources in the Vicarage Road End confirm it should have been an undeserved leveller.
Perhaps our luck is returning at the crucial time?
Alnwick, James Chambers (Laczko 46), Stearman, McAuley (Hayles 81), Kisnorbo, Clapham, Oakley, Clemence, Campbell, Bori (Hume 67), Howard.
Subs Not Used: Wesolowski, N’Gotty.
Referee: Mr A Penn
Lee (c) – 7
Did little, but had little to do. Kicking was improved from last weekend and lucky linesman was ‘blind’ for second-half.
Got forward well, but stuck to Jamie Clapham and dealt with him with ease.
Back and imperious as ever.
Made a few key headers to keep a clean sheet.
A tidy performance down the left.
Faded after bright start and rightly sacrificed in order to shore up midfield.
Wrongly red-carded but solid until then.
Proving to be a real shrewd signing.
Ran himself into the ground and defended strongly too.
Much like McAnuff, despite being knackered after an hour, went to centre back and was inpenetrable.
Sacrificed for Stewart and was largely a playmaker apposed to a striker.
‘From what I can gather from my staff there was a covering defender in Leigh Bromby. The referee was in a great position and didn’t give anything.
‘Then the bloke waving aeroplanes in on the far side decided he should go for some reason.
‘Until the sending-off we were the stronger team but when you go down to 10 it’s about digging in and putting your body on the line.
‘We limited them to a few long-range efforts and corners so credit to my players.
‘It’s one of those results that gets everyone back on track. It’s an emotional night which keeps the crowd behind us and we have to build on that.’
‘The chairman will not be happy, I know. We’ve lost our last three games, I’m a manager and I’m paid to win games but I accept that.
‘It’s a big, tough club to play for and for people who have come down from the Premier League it’s hard to be playing for a club playing near the bottom.
‘I don’t think they envisaged it but if you’re a victim, your luck won’t turn.’
Source: BBC Sport