Q.P.R – occasionally known as ‘Quarter pound of rubbish`. Off the field it probably should be more than ‘Quarter Pound` as the roof leaked, the food ran out and the stewards objected to fans standing in the back row. On the field though, John Gregory`s men impressive but crucially, failed to convert their chances.
As usual of late, Watford raced out of the blocks and frankly made the Hoops look like League One certs next season. Gavin Mahon was even spotted trying to crash the ball home after the first of Watford`s many first-half corners. Midfield partner in crime Lee Williamson nearly had his second of the season when Tommy Smith`s cross picked him out perfectly but he blazed wide.
The Hoops reply was spectacular as youngster Dexter Blackstock mugged Jay DeMerit by flicking the throw-on over the shoulder of the American centre back. With space in front of him, Blackstock lashed a half-volley out for a throw-on when inside the 6 yard box. The home side then preceded to take control and were left rueing their poor finishing when Ainsworth tapped over the bar when well placed at the far post after good work from Nardiello. The Rangers onslaught continued and Dexter Blackstock launched the ball over, again, this time with his head, when it was easier to score. Lloyd Doyley then managed to block off Martin Rowland`s route to goal with some superb man-to-man marking. Doyley was the hero again with eight minutes later his defensive heroics prevented a simple goal for Dexter Blackstock.
Watford bowed out at the end of the half by forcing virtual spectator, Lee Camp, into a double save, firstly from Marlon King who saw his run and shot rendered frustrating before Darius Henderson forced Camp into a quick save at his near-post.
Within three minutes of returning for the second half, Watford were in the lead. Tommy Smith`s workrate was to thank for the goal as the former Derby winger clipped the ball back across after it looked to have gone dead. With Camp stranded on his near post, Adam Johnson stooped to nod Watford ahead at the far post by squeezing the ball between post and defender.
The lead was not to last as long as the travelling army may have hoped as Stefan Moore equalised from close-range. From a looping far-post header, Poom found himself beaten only for the crossbar to intervene. Floored by his own athleticism, Poom was unable to block Moore`s thunderous close-range shot.
With Henderson absent from the game, Boothroyd introduced Nathan Ellington and the Bristolian nearly put Watford ahead minutes later when he curled a free kick toward the bottom corner. A fortunate save from Camp kept the score line level however.
In what would best be described as a ‘typical local derby`, Mikele Leigertwood undid his good work at Leicester by chopping down Lloyd Doyley mid-gallop forward from defence.
Nathan Ellington could`ve won it again not long after when he thrashed a left footed volley straight at Camp who reacted with a one-handed save. Piling men into the box, Watford were millimetres away from three points when Damion Stewart cleared the ball off the line after Camp`s fumble had seen King`s effort creep goalwards. With time nearly up, there was still time for a penalty shout which I have to admit I didn`t manage to clock – I await a replay!
If truth be told the half time scoreline could have been 4-4, the full time scoreline could have been 16-8 to the home side, but as ever, there is a fine line between success and failure – a white line that measures approximately 2 inches wide?
Q.P.R: Camp; Timoska, Cullip, Stewart, Barker; Ainsworth, Bolder (c), Leigertwood, Rowlands; Nardiello and Blackstock.
Referee: Mr K D Hill
Did everything required. No blame for goal.
Defended well against the trickery of Rowlands.
Coped well on Loftus Road return.
Sound until half-time replacement.
As casual and lax as ever.
A real pest for nintey minutes – made the goal.
Much improved from last few weeks – still time for one shocking tackle.
The quietest he’s been of late.
Gambled well to score the winner and make life difficult for Timoska.
Subdued after recent hot streak.
Not at his best. Why was he recalled?
Should be worried about his sides failure to mark Blackstock.
Will wonder how his side could not score the crucial winner.