Date: 14th April 2009 at 10:14am
Written by: Dr Watford

An under strength Watford were put to the sword by a Norwich side digging themselves an escape route from the relegation mire with a ‘massive’ 2-0 victory at Carrow Road.

Without the firepower of Priskin, and the midfield influences of both Cowie and Cork the Hornets sank to a defeat that was, for most of the 90, all too comfortable for a bunch of Canaries with a bit of fire, fight and passion in their bellies.

A quite exquisite own goal from debut boy Danny Rose [15] and a header by Grandfather Doherty [83] was enough to leave the Hornets with a rather wishy-washy Easter to look back on – just 1 point from 6 isn`t a great return? so much for GOOD Friday?

In truth, Watford were more than lucky to still be in this game until Doherty added the all important second 7 minutes from time to ease the Carrow Road tension. Long periods of Norwich pressure saw wave after wave in attack and they really should have been in front in the 1st minute – Mooney shooting harmlessly at Loach after he made a right mug out of Captain America inside the box.

Mooney made an ass of Demerit for most of the afternoon in fact and had referee Tanner given either of the 2 penalty appeals for handball Watford could have had little complaint.

Elsewhere and the Hornets looked scrappy and unbalanced. If dropping Cork and starting Rose in the central midfield berth was done with one eye on next season then there`s clearly work to be done. Rose alongside Jenkins simply didn`t work – 39% possession of the ball says it all really (we`ve been up in the 60%s for much of Rodgers` reign).

If ol` Danny boy reckons his favourite position is central midfield then it must be something to do with Spurs` riches down each flank more than his ability. Ok, so he certainly ain`t no Lennon or Bentley but he isn`t a Cork either for that matter!!!

Mind you, his 20 yard lob of Loach (an end product to a sliding tackle on Otsemobor) to put Norwich 1 up after 15 with a peach of an own goal would have been a strike that Defoe, Bent or Pavylencho would have been proud of – such was it`s quality, curl and pace as it flew into the top corner of the WRONG net.

We admit that Hoskins almost repeated it at the RIGHT end with a 25 yard belter that crashed off the Norwich bar and flew to safety with Marshall well and truly beaten but that`s as good as it got for Watford really.

Yes, there was a shout for a penalty when McAnuff`s shot-come-cross hit a Norwich arm and Hoskins really should have equalized with 20 minutes left on the clock – it looked a tap in for Will from 6 yards after a lovely ball by Smith – it wasn`t!!!

‘Superman` Smith also tried his luck with a couple of efforts, Demerit sent a header wide from a corner – none of which really put at risk the Canary keeper`s clean sheet bonus – bar a classy tip over from a Tommy drive towards the end.

As for Norwich, well they fought for their lives, closed down possession well, put in some daunting set-pieces and had chances a plenty. Alan Lee, always a thorn in Watford`s side down the years, was no different this time round – he had a barnstorming 20 yard drive fly back off an upright and gave Williamson a real headache all game.

Alan Gow lashed a shot wide of Loach – and thankfully the far post – whilst lil` Jon Harley defied his size and stature to clear a Shackell header off the line following another havoc-wrecking Clingan corner.

And it was the Hornets inability to deal with the Shackell threat 7 minutes from time that saw them finally buckle under the weight of pressure. The centre half saw his header cannon back off the bar and land on the aging bonce of Gary Doherty [83] who nodded home to seal the win.

Even the Watford camp admitted Norwich “deserved their victory” and we`re not gonna argue with that.

But they say every cloud has a silver lining and the Carrow Road clash was one of those clouds. Whilst Watford ponder mid table mediocrity from a season that suggested so much potential woe, somewhere up the M1 the glare from the Blue Square became all too encompassing and Luton finally gave in.

It`s such a shame. No, really it is.