Date: 2nd February 2013 at 6:04pm
Written by:

GIANFRANCO Zola made another six changes to his starting XI against Bolton but Watford returned to winning ways nonetheless.

Former Hornet Marvin Sordell had the Trotters ahead from the spot before goals from Matej Vydra and Almen Abdi wrapped up another three points for the ‘Orns.

Lloyd Doyley, Marco Cassetti, Nathaniel Chalobah, Cristian Battocchio, Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra all returned with Nyron Nosworthy, Sean Murray, John Eustace, Jonathan Hogg, Alex Geijo and Fernando Forestieri dropping out.

Watford were shaky at the back from the off, and Joel Ekstrand was far from his best, giving the ball away on more than one occasion.

Manuel Almunia’s distribution was fair from ideal too, often kicking the ball straight through to his opposite number, Adam Bodgan.

In spite of their slow start, it was still the Hornets who had the game’s first chance when Vydra’s incisive pass off the outside of his right boot picked out Deeney who was denied by Bogdan.

Shortly after Chung-Yong Lee’s right-wing cross aimed at Sordell fell at the feet of former Hornet Chris Eagles who immediately turned and fired over from inside the penalty area.

Almunia made amends for his earlier tardiness on the ball in the 21st minute when he raced off his line to meet a long ball over the top and clear with his head with Sordell lurking.

Watford responded with Deeney whipping in a deep right-wing cross with Daniel Pudil instantly controlled with his instep before pulling back for Chalobah to deftly chip narrowly over.

Battocchio was next to try his luck, lining up an 18-yard pot-shot which flew narrowly wide of Bogdan’s left-hand post.

In the 32nd minute the visitors were awarded a spot-kick when Pudil appeared to barge the adventurous Sam Ricketts to the floor inside the penalty area.

Up stepped former ‘Orn Sordell to stroke the penalty past Almunia with minimum fuss.

The lead was short-lasted, and just four minutes after the re-start Vydra was released with an inch-perfect through ball, racing on and finishing with the inevitable aplomb that’s become his trademark.

Half-time: 1-1

Wanderers began the second-half with left-footed drive from Liverpool loanee Jay Spearing who saw his effort pushed away by Almunia at full-stretch.

Just a minute later Vydra and Abdi combined to great effect with the latter testing Bogdan with a low effort.

Pudil came close 10 minutes into the second period when he fired in a low cross from the left-hand flank which unexpectedly crashed against the base of Bodgan’s near-post.

Bolton retain a threat and that was evident when Sordell and Lee worked their way out of a tight space in the left-hand corner of the pitch before the South Korean smashed a shot against the apex of crossbar and post.

With 20 minutes left Watford completed the turnaround as Vydra used his surprising amount of strength to hold the ball up inside the 18-yard box before rolling it into the feet of Abdi who took a touch before pinging home on his left foot.

The Udinese duo came together once more in injury time when Abdi picked up a loose ball and fizzed it in towards Vydra who controlled and returned the ball for Abdi to slash narrowly over.

Full-time: 2-1

This was not the glossiest showing ever from Zola’s side, but there was buckets of endeavour, commitment and combative spirit from all.

Watford didn’t press as high up the field as they should have, allowing Bolton plenty of room to play and for long periods, nulify any threat from the ‘Orns.

Watford: Almunia (c); Doyley, Hall, Ekstrand (Nosworthy); Cassetti, Abdi, Chalobah (Hogg), Battocchio (Battocchio), Pudil; Vydra & Deeney.

Subs not used: Bond (GK); Murray, Geijo & Forestieri.

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan; Ricketts, Knight (c), Ream, Alonso; Spearing, Pratley; Lee, Vela (C.Davies), Eagles (de Ridder); Sordell (K.Davies).

Subs not used: Lonergan (GK); Dawson, Wylde & N’Gog.

Attendance: 12 223

Referee: Mr Adcock