Malky Mackay’s hornets were held at home by Reading in a game of two halves.
Watford lined up with a surpise starting eleven, Mackay choosing Marvin Sordell to replace the suspended John Eustace with Troy Deeney starting out of position on the right of midfield.
However, the hornets did not get off to a great start falling behind after just 15 minutes. As a Watford attack broke down Reading attacked quickly releasing Shane Long down the left who crossed for Noel Hunt to turn in at the near post.
The hornets struggled to get going throughout the first half as did Reading who had a Jobi McAnuff shot deflected wide. Watford equalised just before half time when Troy Deeney silenced his doubters with a thumping header from a Jordan Mutch corner.
The hornets started quickly after the break and had Reading on the back foot with a succession of corners and balls into the box, with Martin Taylor inches away from turning in Don Cowie’s cross. Taylor came close again just minutes later when he started an attack in the Reading half and would have finished it had Alex Pearce not stuck out a leg.
The Royals too had chances to win it on the break. First Shane Long found himself away in the Watford half but Andrew Taylor slid in to make a goal-saving challenge just as Long pulled the trigger. Aidy Mariappa then had a lapse in concentration to let in Long again but Loach stood up and made the save with Karacan smashing the rebound over the bar with the goal gaping.
It was the hornets who turned it on again in the closing moments with crosses from Don Cowie and Troy Deeney just evading all the players in the penalty area.
In the end both sides had to settle for a point with the hornets requiring another 29 points to get to the magic 52 which will represent an excellent season!
Loach – 7
Eratic kicking and poor decision making but kept us in it with some important saves.
Doyley – 7
Solid as ever.
Mariappa – 6
Poor concentration nearly cost a goal. Decent in the main.
M Taylor – 8
A Taylor – 7
Did ok. Saved a goal with an oustanding tackle.
McGinn – 6
Lightweight and slow but creates things on the ball and always finds a yellow shirt.
Mutch – 6
Not really involved. Assist for Deeney’s goal.
Cowie – 7
Watford missed his industry while he was injured. Crossed well all afternoon.
Sordell – 5
Off the pace. Outthought and Outmuscled by Mills. Didn’t use his pace effectively against an slow back 4.
Graham – 7
Laboured first half but back to the Graham of old after half time.
Deeney – 7
Playing out of position silenced the critics with a well taken goal and good allround display.
Malky – 7. Lacked urgency in the first half. Team talk worked a treat with the improved second half display. Could have replaced Sordell with Buckley/Bryan and put Deeney up front in the second half.