After an early season ‘crisis`, Watford got back to winning ways today with a two-nil victory over Jim Magilton`s Ipswich Town.
In a very unlike Watford way, Boothroyd`s men began a patient assault on Neil Alexander`s goal and were even spotted passing the ball amongst one another. Bar one small error from Dan Shittu, the first five minutes saw few touches of the ball for Ipswich. With the Hornets dominant in possession, it came as less of a surprise when Darius Henderson half volleyed home the opener. The build-up play was good as Jordan Stewart floated a crafty ball toward Lee Williamson who found Henderson with his header. Eight yards out, Henderson buried the ball and duly received chants of ‘Hen-da-son` from the supporters.
Watford continued to pass the ball around and Mart Poom even got in on the act by rolling the ball out to his full backs-a shame neither are really that confident on the ball! The game was nearly all Watford`s as Lee Williamson floated in a teasing cross that head the Rookery scrambling to see a second goal-it didn`t come as Ipswich cleared and began a counter attack.
Ipswich were gifted a chance after twenty minutes when Danny Shittu slipped allowing Pablo Counago to collect the ball, only a timely intervention from Poom prevented a Town goal. Watford`s reply saw Darius Henderson, once again the darling of the ‘Vic, head narrowly over from Lloyd Doyley`s cross. The home side continued to make chances and Tommy Smith should have scored after beating two defenders in a crowded penalty area.
Boothroyd`s men ended the half in positive fashion and Henderson nearly doubled his goal account for the season when he swiped his right foot at a free kick which had made it to the far post unchallenged.
Minutes before half-time, Ipswich rallied and Owen Garvan struck a sweet left-footed effort narrowly wide from twenty yards. For all Ipswich`s slick passing and crowd-pleasing football, they had been unable to seriously test Mart Poom.
The second half saw Ipswich gain more control and possession of the ball. Alan Lee was to be denied a goal by Jordan Stewart (or ‘Jordinho`-raised on the streets of Brazil, according to the blokes behind me) as he stewarded the former Cardiff striker wide.
Watford`s reply came from Marlon King, who, once again, had been given little service down the middle and came searching for the ball wide. This time the Jamaican walloped a powerful effort from the corner of the penalty area which Alexander was able to palm away.
The chances kept on coming as Alex Bruce, son of Steve was denied a headed goal by Gavin Mahon who got across and beat the centre half in the air from a corner. Stewart then cleared when Watford were in danger as Dan Harding saw his cross beat Mart Poom on the near post. Once again Alan Lee found himself frustrated by a Watford full back as Lloyd Doyley blocked off his direct route to goal with a superb piece of defending.
Ipswich were looking more and more dangerous, yet in the final third were unable to severely trouble the Watford backline who were practically water-tight.
Jobi McAnuff who had been enjoying a quiet afternoon finally came into the game with twenty minutes to go as he first had a shot deflected over and then fired an effort that Neil Alexander palmed away from the bottom corner.
With thirteen minutes to go Watford snatched the second as Tommy Smith cut inside from the right and curled one into the far corner with his left foot. With Watford now in the driving seat, new record-signing Nathan Ellington stepped off the bench and nearly scored number three when he curled one against the base of the post from the edge of the area. He then managed to stab just over after a clearance fell to him from four yards.
Job done, a two-nil victory, back to winning ways and the promotion challenge back up and running.
Ipswich Town: Alexander; Wright, Bruce, De Vos, Harding; Roberts (Peters), Miller, Garvan, Walters; Counago and Lee (Clarke).
Referee: Mr M Jones
Much more confident when making decisions and coming for crosses.
Made one slip but still dealt with it.
‘Super Dan’ made a number of great clearances and would not have missed DeMerit, such was his dominance.
Did what was needed, but rarely required with Shittu’s performance.
As lax as ever, but still defended quite well.
Played his heart out. Switched flanks well with McAnuff and had the beating of Dan Harding.
Back to his best? I hope so. Passed well and didn’t dive in once.
Great engine. Kept going for ninety minutes and complemented Mahon well.
Got a couple of balls in, nothing special.
Sulky, greedy and subdued.
Worked hard as ever, a great goal, well taken, could have had three though.
His side appeared to play much improved football, the midfield was much better and had faith in Henderson after transfer request. However, SUB MARLON IF HE’S PLAYING BADLY, IT IS ALLOWED!
His brutish defence defended well, his midfield pass well and his strike force look good, they’re just missing the glue in between.