Watford 1-0 Millwall ~ Match Report

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Watford away. Its not quite London, not quite up north but is nestled somewhere in between in its own little shit tip of a place that is about as nondescript as you can get.

The locals are like a cross between characters from ‘the office’ and Whipsnade zoo. An almost ’stig of the dump’ type of people that should extract pity but invariably make you want to vomit. No redeeming features whatsoever. A faint echoing of banjo music is definitely resonating around Vicarage road at any given time…

It is only a short journey to make hence why this fixture was completely sold out for the travelling contingent, just over 2,200 Lions fans turned up to cheer the lads on against a team that basically pulled our trousers down and smacked our collective arses when we met earlier in the season at the Den.

MrsB and me got there early and parked up and made our way into the ground. It is a strange stadium. Three sides are perfectly adequate but the fourth side that runs along side the pitch must be a constant embarrassment for the club. Why they have never demolished this and built a new stand is about as confusing as Elton and David having a baby.

Surely dear old Reg could stump some dosh to have a stand built for his ‘beloved’ club instead of spending untold millions on bloody flowers for his numerous houses around the world?

I know there are a couple of executive areas with Elton’s name on but anyone actively wanting to be seen in Elton’s box really should get all the stick they rightly deserve…

And what of the game? Well naturally a big deal is made out of Mr Jackett’s ties with Watford but it is a true mark of Mr Jackett’s professionalism that he played a straight bat in regards to Watford’s disgraceful attempt at getting him to be part of their “ old boys” day and he resolutely stuck to being our manager with no hint of any past allegiances. The team he chose to take on the Hornets did look a little lop-sided but nevertheless, they looked capable.

Forde in goal, of course, the back four was made up with Dunne, Purse, Robbo and Craig, the midfield foursome being Henry, Mkandawire, Eastmond and Schofield which left Trotter to partner Morison up front in a sort of 4-4-1-1 formation.

Referee Salisbury got things going as the Millwall faithful completely drowned out the home support…to be honest, my 5 year old Grandson would have drowned them out if he was singing on his own, such was the flat atmosphere from the home support.

We looked in a positive mood, quickly taking command and putting them on the back foot, clearly the drubbing from earlier in the season at the forefront of the player’s minds. We gave no quarter and got stuck into them from the word go.

The pitch was in a God awful state as we tried to play our way through their defences but it was tough going as the ball was bobbling all over the place. Spirit and commitment was the order of the day and we had plenty of both.

The first real chance of the game came our way as Morison picked the ball up in his now familiar right side of the pitch and did his cutting inside bit to perfection. He left Hodson for dead as he pushed into the area and then slipped the ball to Trotter, who had his back to goal. He did his best to turn and shoot in one fluid moment but he skewed he shot just the wrong side of the post and the chance had gone.

Another golden chance went begging soon after. This time Trotter was the provider as he beat a poor off side trap he fired at goal. ‘Keeper Loach parried the ball straight into Schofield’s path and he really should have buried it but he lofted it high over the bar with the gaping goal at his mercy.

We were clearly on top by now and Watford’s defence had their work cut out for them, Taylor, a big galoot of a number 5 was holding us off like Crockett at the Alamo but he could do nothing on the half hour mark when we got the ball into their box his header went back onto the bar and the ball dropped a yard out right at the feet of Trotter but the gifted midfielder cum striker took an air shot and missed the ball completely as a grateful Watford defence cleared the danger.

We kept up the pressure but as has been the story of this campaign, we just lacked that final touch to open the scoring. Just before half time we won a corner and for once we actually created something from one. Henry picked out Purse who rose quite well for a burly centre back, and guided his header goal wards but again the impressive Loach went down to his right and pulled off a seriously good save.

Forde, as much a spectator as the rest of us, was only called into action in injury time, diving backwards to palm over a looping speculative effort from a desperate Watford front line.

The half ended soon after and we were left wondering what might have been. If we were three up it would not have been too unkind on the home side.

We commenced the second half in the same vein as the first, totally dominating and failing to change our profligacy in front of goal. To be fair though the first chance, which fell to Henry, was a sweetly struck shot that brought off a really classy save from Loach but the second chance saw Schofield put through by Trotter have the ball simply plucked off hid foot before he could take a swing at it.

And of course, and in the time-honoured fashion of these proceedings, disaster invariably struck.

A quickly taken free kick saw the ball run alongside Graham inside our box and his first time snap shot caught Forde cold and the ball went past him on his near post and into the back of our net. 1-0 and totally undeserved.

The wind was knocked out of our sails and Mr Jackett wasted no time in trying to salvage something from the game. He took off the notable Eastmond and brought on Lisbie thus moving Trotter back into his more familiar midfield role and dispensed with Craig’s services in favout of Barron.

Lisbie was soon in the thick of it and he set up another clear-cut goal scoring chance for the Lions when he found Morison unmarked after intercepting a pass from the Watford defence. Morison did everything right but yet again a superb blocking save from Loach prevented the equaliser we clearly deserved.

Minutes later we again got in behind them and I am afraid to say that this time the fault must be laid at Morison’s feet. The usually reliable front man is finding it tough at the moment and when he was again picked out by a perfect Lisbie ball he controlled it but fired into the side netting from close range when for all the world it looked like a simple tap in opportunity.

It would have been no more than the Lions deserved for their dominance of clear-cut chances but still the Hornets stood firm.

Harris came on with twenty minutes to go in favour of Henry but he was never going to replicate that most famous of goals this time.

The lads kept going until the final whistle but the home side defended for all they were worth and as the final whistle rang out we were left wondering two things. The first was how on earth did we lose this match and secondly, how on earth did we ever lose 1-6 to this team?

The lads were clapped off the pitch by the knowledgeable Lions fans and all we can do now is lick our proverbial wounds and re group in anticipation of the Tuesday night visit of league leaders QPR.

See you all there (and no darts please…)
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