Before Wednesday's match I'd been of the opinion that it would be better for us to consolidate ourselves in the Championship before pushing for promotion next season but the way we scored our goals, especially the fantastic third, has made me think again. With more strengthening during the transfer window, whenever that will be, I reckon we could give it a go in the Premiership next season.
Anyway, let's not get too carried away yet. Watford know a thing or two about yo-yoing between the top two leagues and will have a strong side today. They've drawn four of their nine matches so far and have only managed a goal a game. It sounds like Simms will be in contention again today and I hope he's involved of course but Wright's domestic situation will keep him out again. I was impressed with Alese the other night and he looks like another good signing. As things have turned out I'll have been in Sunderland while we've had two games in the London area so I'll have to depend on SAFSEE this afternoon. Match prediction: 1-1.
When I got the team-news, I saw that Simms was missing but Embleton was starting. After his great contribution on Wednesday he’s more than welcome. I tuned into SAFSEE and listened to an interview with Ray Mowbray before the commentary started. The National Anthem was played and I could hear many fans joining in with it, though they finished a good while before the music did.
It sounded like Watford were playing with four upfront. Pritchard and Neil combined well after a few minutes but the latter couldn’t quite connect and then Gooch conceded the first corner of the game. We took a while in trying to clear it and Patterson was forced into a good save but a foul had been committed and we cleared the danger. Patterson was soon called on to save at the feet of Asprilla and it sounded like our defence was going to have its hands full. Alese was playing well forward and we soon had a corner of our own but we wasted it. O’Nien had a bit of a talking to from referee Robert Madley after a second rough tackle and as he’s already on four yellows we don’t want to lose him. It was a lively-sounding match but it remained goalless after fifteen minutes. Watford had obviously had a good look at the video of the Reading game and they weren’t giving us an inch. As Watford won a few more corners we would clearly have to weather the storm and try to break quickly. We did just that and Gooch had a decent attempt that went not far wide. Alese was again having a good game and just as well.
Around the half-hour mark Roberts went down in their box to much booing from the home fans but the ref took no action. The play remained mostly in our half and Joao Pedro seemed to be everywhere so I wasn’t surprised when Watford took the lead in the thirty-fifth minute. After an attack down their left the ball eventually came to Davis and he shot home from the centre of the box. Commentator Benno reckoned we had a good shout for a penalty around five minutes before the break but we were having a decent attacking spell at any rate. Evans was our first player to force goalie Bachmann into a save. Just before the half-time whistle we equalised in a bizarre fashion. An Alese shot from three yards out appeared to have been cleared off the line and then we thought the ref had blown for a foul. He had in fact blown to indicate that Alese’s shot had crossed the line according to his magic watch. It remained 1-1 at the break and we’d battled back very well after a lot of Watford pressure.
There were no changes as we kicked off again but Watford did most of the early attacking, though we were defending well. My computer crashed for about ten minutes and as soon as I managed to restore everything we conceded a free-kick from which O’Nien headed over Patterson into his own net to put Watford ahead again. There was still the best part of half an hour left and I was sure we wouldn’t give up. Amad Diallo replaced Embo in our first switch and we battled on with Clarke getting the ball in the net only for the ref to immediately blow for offside. With just over fifteen minutes on the clock we made a double switch with Dajaku and Bennette coming on for Neil and Clarke. Not long afterwards Matete replaced Evans and Ba, Pritchard. Next thing O’Nien just failed to get a toe on a low cross as we pushed for the equaliser. Watford had brought on some defenders as we did all the pressing. Our pressure paid off when in the eighty-seventh minute Roberts set up Bennette and he coolly finished from twelve yards out to make it 2-2. I’ve never heard Benno and Barnes sound so excited and our fans were coming across very loud and clear. Five minutes of stoppage-time were announced and we were still going forward, this time for the winner. Matete was booked and that was the only drama before the final whistle was blown.
A speedy and physical Watford side didn’t give us the space Reading had but we showed great character in fighting back to equalise twice. Great credit to Mowbray too for throwing the kitchen sink in towards the end. What a great week.