Date: 10th January 2009 at 9:54am
Written by: Dr Watford

Forgot THAT ‘phantom goal`, Watford scared themselves silly last night with a second second half defensive horror show as they took a Friday night 4-0 beating at Reading.

Ok, so both managers reckoned the scoreline “flattered” the Royals but the way Watford failed to notice 3 of the 4 goalscorers ‘ghost` into the box was simply frightful – let alone the fact that for all their pretty footie and possession the Hornets only managed 2 shots on target all game.

Even the return of Williamson to midfield couldn`t spark the Hornets into life and had it not have been for Loach (how many times have we said that of late), Watford could well have been dead and buried by half time.

The rookie stopper made some smart stops, most notably from a crackerjack of a Doyle drive, Stephen Hunt (who was far and away the best player on show), Kalifa Cisse and a late late stinger for Ingimarsson. Loach has come of age of late but he has had to – the defensive (marshaled by the bang out of form Captain America) are simply woeful.

Yes Watford had their chances – a McAnuff effort that flew over the bar, a barnstorming long ranger from Cork that sailed just wide and Williamson was up to his old tricks with a few drives from distance.

But in truth, amongst the 18,000+ inside the Madjeski no-one`s hands would have been colder than those of the Reading keeper`s Adam Federici – and he was wearing gloves – as he had such little to do bar a few corner catches and retrieving the odd header.

Sure, there could have been a penalty as early as the 5th minute had Andy D`Urso been just that little bit braver as McAnuff was sent tumbling in the box. He wasn`t and Watford, for all their nice passing football and heavy possession didn`t create anything of real note.

s for the goals, well Armstong opened the scoring after 38 minutes (with a little help from a post), following a bit of ping pong and aerial tennis in the Watford boss and a clever pull back by the shaggy haired Hunt.

And any thoughts of a comeback went out of the window with 2 goals in a minute as Noel Hunt (67) stabbed home (after a Cisse flicked on header found him with the freedom of Berkshire inside the box) and Doyle (68) helped himself to a goal with a cute finish on the end of a Rosenior cross.

Leroy Lita`s return to the Reading scene was rewarded with an 89th minute strike as the wantaway striker ran clear onto a deflected Harper throughball to make it 4.

Watford boss Brendan Rodgers should by now know that playing ‘total football` in the Championship has to have a clinical edge and Coppell`s Royals proved just that point.