Watford got back to winning ways last night in front of the Sky cameras at the expense at Jim Magilton’s hapless Queens Park Ranger’s side.
There were three surprises in Magilton’s starting XI as Jay Simpson, Akos Buszaky and Adel Taraabt, three dangermen for the R’s missed with a place on the bench their starting place. Watford were able to bring in Jon Harley for Henri Lansbury whilst Nathan Ellington replaced the ineligable Hoops striker, Heidar Helguson.
For a side that had been floating around the play off places for much of the season thus far and even looked quite impressive on television, QPR did not live up to their own hype despite taking the lead. Aygemang and Vine offered little and the long ball favoured by the R’s was easily mopped up by Cathcart and Mariappa. The Hornet’s did however shoot themselves in the foot, failing to close down Aygemang who blasted low past Loach to hand the travelling side the lead. A simple ball over the top was not dealt with by Doyley and Mariappa allowing the Ghanian striker to bag his third of the season. A large dollop of blame must be laid at the door of Craig Cathcart who had gone walkies leaving Doyley to mop up for him at the last.
The Hoops had earlier gone close, their one cohesive move of the match resulting in Alejandro Faurlin squeezing a shot past Loach and the goal out for a throw on.
Watford levelled just before half time through Lloyd Doyley [in case you’ve been on another planet for the last 24 hours!]. A textbook diving header planted past the stranded Radek Cerny, highly impressive for a man whose never even scored in training and even fluffed his penalty in a mock shoot out at the Vic’ in 2007!
Half Time: 1-1
Watford threatened to not only knock the QPR door down early in the second half but obliterate it as chances came and went.
Nathan Ellington saw his perfectly placed header beaten into the path of Danny Graham by Cerny, before the Czech international clawed Graham’s goalbound effort off the line. Jon Harley was the next to test the former Spurs stopper as his superb acrobatic volley was clawed away from close range.
Eventually however the door did open up for Don Cowie. The diminutive Scot grabbed his first of the campaign racing onto Tom Cleverley’s perfect slide rule pass to drill the ball low and hard past Cerny into the bottom right-hand corner.
Inevitably QPR pressure followed the Hornet’s second but with just seconds left on the clock, Cleverley turned scorer as he latched onto Liam Henderson’s sublime sweeping cross field ball to rattle past Cerny from inside the area.
Full Time: 3-1
QPR: Cerny: Ramage, Stewart, Hall, Borrowdale; Routledge (Simpson 71), Watson, Leigertwood (c) (Buzasky 76), Faurlin; Vine (Taarabt 58), Agyemang. Subs not used: Taylor (gk), Williams, Gorkss, Pelligori.
Referee: Mr Penn
Scott Loach – 6
Nothing really to do. Made one decent stop from Taraabt.
Lee Hodson – 8
Got forward really well, great reading and anticipation and really, really astute use of ball.
Aidy Mariappa – 6
Tidied up for Cathcart.
Craig Cathcart – 5
At fault for the goal, can’t see him playing much with Jay now fit.
Lloyd Doyley – 7
Textbook diving header marked 269th game in style!
Don Cowie – 8
At the centre of everything good for the ‘Orns, tireless display capped by great goal.
John Eustace – 8
Same as Hodson really, lost the ball sloppily a couple of times but brings balance and steel to midfield. Always one step ahead in his mind allowing great usage of ball to create openings.
Jon Harley – 7
Worked very hard, provided good crosses and unlucky not to score.
Nathan Ellington – 5
One head of note, other than that offered nothing.
Danny Graham – 7
Worked tirelessly and great vision/execution of pass for Cleverley’s goal.
Tom Cleverley – 8
Great goal and assist. Looked handy in centre despite not being his natural position.