Date: 12th January 2008 at 5:36pm
Written by:

Watford haven`t won at Deepdale in 10 attempts now (in fact you have to go back to `79 for our last 3 points vs. the Lancastrian outfit), but on occasions like these it`s frustrating. Of course, we don`t have a god-given right to beat anyone, but, with the best away record in the league and the opposition bottom of the league, you`d be expecting three points in your heart-of-hearts.

It`s even more frustrating that the reply to going one-nil down with fifteen minutes to play is to replace a midfielder with another midfielder, and then, with even less time remaining, swap a defender for a defender. In the even, Mariappa on for Jackson meant Jordan Stewart pushing into midfield, but would you be scared of his attacking ‘prowess` as a fullback? No – didn`t think so!

Watford were wasteful for the large part of the game and failed to make their first-half chances count before North End claimed second-half superiority.

McAnuff was greedy just ten minutes in as he could have slipped Marlon King in for a relatively easy chance, however the former Palace winger lost the ball as he attempted to beat his man.

Darius Henderson wasted Watford`s best chance of the ninety as his shot was well stopped from close range by Andrew Lonergan between the sticks.

Preston came back into the game as the half wore on with a string of corners, started by Lewis Neal`s shot which looked to have beaten Richard Lee albeit a Jordan Stewart deflection. Youl Mawene came close from the resulting corner, but Watford survived.

Karl Hawley looked dangerous as he beat Matt Jackson for pace but was hauled over by the veteran centre back who was lucky to receive just a yellow for what was denial of a goalscoring opportunity.

The first period came to close with a superb strike from Lewis Neal, every inch a goal, until Lee palmed away, the move was manufactured by debut boy, Richard Chaplow.

Half-time: 0-0

Preston appeared to have the second half very much their own way, a string of early chances could`ve been, but resolute defending from fullbacks Doyley and Stewart denied PNE who looked dangerous from wide positions.

It was a lack of quality from the widemen who failed to deliver a killer ball, those culprits representing both sides.

After 75 minutes of what had become a none-too-exciting tie, the home side took the lead. A deep cross from Hawley was kept in and Mellor`s second attempt at a close range effort went into the roof of the net. When you`re playing badly, even men with three goals for a club score, Mellor the epitomy today.

After that, the Watford challenge was dead and the Hornets managed to hold out for a defeat, only there third away from home – come on, we`ve got to give teams a chance!

Full-time: 1-0

Let`s be optimistic, we`ve sorted out our home form apparently, our away form is excellent anyway, and Preston need the points more than us, besides, they`re bottom of the league, we were bound to loose?

Preston XI
Lonergan; Chilvers, Mawene, St Ledger, Davidson; Whaley, McKenna, Chaplow (Carter), Neal; Hawley and Brown (Mellor).

Watford XI
Lee; Doyley, Jackson (Mariappa), DeMerit, Stewart; Smith, Williamson, Francis (O`Toole), McAnuff; King and Henderson.

Manager Rating
Aidy Boothroyd-5
What has Ellington done to warrant being benched? He needs games to get goals! He must be dissillusioned with life here, we go behind, stick O’Toole and Mariappa on and ignore our strikers!

Opponent Rating
Alan Irvine-7
Still cutting his teeth as a number one, but has made some decent signings, has good players and if they continue to claim ‘scalps’ will see his side avoid the drop.