watford

23.01.2016… Watford (a)…

Watford 2 Newcastle United 1

Vicarage Road… Saturday January 23rd… 3pm

Attendance: 20,611

Ticket: £25 – Programme: £3.50

A second trip to Watford in a fortnight, and a very similar outcome…

According to Steve McClaren, ‘Apart from the two goals, the performance was terrific’. Comments like that are deeply patronising to the fans that travelled, as well as clearly not being true.

The good performances continue to be the exception, the poor performances continue to be the norm…

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Fantastic Voyage: Not Today…

We played reasonably well for fifteen minutes without ever really troubling Watford’s goal, a half chance from Aarons excepted. The remainder of the first-half was massively forgettable, it was very easy to see why it is that we continue to flap about aimlessly in the relegation zone and why Watford had lost four of their previous five league games…

The second half had barely started before Watford went a goal up, it was barely fifteen minutes old before they had put the game to bed. We did pull one back through a Lascelles header from a corner but we were never going to score two…

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Second Half Action: Time Ebbs Away…

There were some small consolations,  no rain on the walk back to Watford Junction, a reasonably short trip back to the Midlands, the new Suede album… but they were about it…

It’s getting increasingly boring to labour the point, I know, but we need a centre forward and we need one now…

Watford; Gomes, Paredes (Nyom 89), Cathcart, Britos (YC), Aké, Behrami (YC), Capoue, Watson, Jurado (Abdi 77), Deeney (Amrabat 93), Ighalo

Not Used; Prödl, Guédioura, Pantilimon, Anya

Goals; Ighalo (46), Cathcart (58)

Newcastle United; Elliot, Lascelles, Coloccini (Riviere 88), Mbemba (YC), Janmaat, Shelvey, Saivet (Pérez 59), Aarons (Gouffran 59), Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic

Not Used; Thauvin, Darlow, Taylor, Marveaux

Goals; Lascelles (71)

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

09.01.2016… Watford (a)…

Watford 1 Newcastle United 0

Vicarage Road… Saturday January 9th… 3pm

Attendance: 18,259

Ticket: £18 – Programme: £3

So that’s it then… Yet again, our season is over in January, it’s going to be at least a 62 year wait for a domestic trophy. All we have to look forward to over the second half of the season is the very real prospect of relegation…

Was it ten games that McClaren wanted or twelve? And after we beat Liverpool and Spurs unconvincingly weren’t we supposed to have turned the corner? Well now it’s another four defeats on the trot but not to worry, apparently we’re playing really well, we’re just not getting the breaks in front of goal…

We’ve all got stick together through this? Well I didn’t see Steve and the lads on the walk back to Watford Junction Station in the torrential rain. I don’t imagine that they had to negotiate three trains home in a considerably damp state, and I was lucky, I only had to travel as far as Leicester…

We mustn’t show our disaffection though, it’s not fair, we mustn’t boo, we’ve got to get behind the team…

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Pre-Match: Outside Vicarage Road…

Well I didn’t boo, I’m too old for that, I’ve seen it all before. But what does McClaren expect…?

The general booing ‘was harsh’…? Really? We could have played till midnight and we wouldn’t have scored a goal, that’s what happens when you play in slow motion…

‘We’ve had 25 crosses’… So what, exactly how many goals resulted from those crosses…?

Then there was the booing and chanting specifically directed at Florian Thauvin. A little unnecessary but my feeling is that it was aimed more at our current transfer policy than the Frenchman, although it certainly wasn’t a coincidence that the abuse started following a ridiculous bout of play acting on his part. Anyway, through no fault of his own, he symbolises the typical current Newcastle signing. He wasn’t bought out of necessity or as part of any over arching plan (unless it’s the  plan that results in Mike Ashley making a tidy profit), he pretty much epitomises  the ‘under 26 with a resale value’ model. In fact, I’m sure that Thauvin (or more likely his agent) was told as much during the transfer, we’re very much intended to be his stepping stone. The money which brought him to the club could have been used to buy the centre forward that we’ve needed for at least two seasons or the left back that we’ve been crying out for since Jose Enrique left the club in 2011, on Saturday he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time…

What McClaren should also realise is that we haven’t got past the third round of the FA Cup for four consecutive seasons. Brighton, Cardiff, Leicester and now Watford, is that really acceptable for a club of our size? Or is that just our ‘unrealistic expectations’ coming to the fore again…?

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Second Half: Watford Take a Throw In…

Anyway, somewhere in the middle of all of this there was a football match, a bloody awful one but a football match nonetheless. I’ll keep it brief. We had a lot of possession without creating that many chances.  The chances we did get, we didn’t take because we don’t have a centre forward because we didn’t buy one in the summer. Watford got one chance, it fell to Troy Deeney, a centre forward, who buried it because he’s a centre forward…

So that’s it, no trophies to play for so let’s all look forward to the relegation battle instead. Safe in the knowledge that, even if we do stay up, we’ll just have to endure the same joyless experience again next season…

Watford; Gomes,  Nyom, Prödl, Cathcart, Holebas, Jurado (Ighalo 73), Guédioura (YC), Watson, Berghuis (Abdi 63), Deeney, Oularé (Anya 45)

Not Used; Britos, Ibarbo, Capoue, Arlauskis

Goals; Deeney (44)

Newcastle United; Elliot, Mbemba, Coloccini (Lascelles 45), Dummett, Janmaat, Sissoko, Tioté (YC) (de Jong 82), Wijnaldum, Mbabu (Thauvin 52), Pérez, Mitrovic

Not Used; Gouffran, Darlow, Toney, Sterry

Goals; None

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

08.11.2014… Ipswich v Watford…

Ipswich Town 1 Watford 0

Portman Road… Saturday November 8th… 3pm

Attendance: 22,490

Ticket: £31 – Programme: £3

Well it’s not very far from Hinckley to Ipswich but it’s certainly a disjointed train journey; trains may be pretty good North to South but they’re not so good East to West…

Reasonably early start and uneventful, albeit slow, progress; the Waitrose at Peterborough station was very handy, decent lunch at non-station prices, result…

I arrived in Ipswich about an hour before the match and there was an early bonus; I always like it when you can see the ground from the station, five minutes later I was there…

This was my first trip to Ipswich since 1993, our first season in the Premier League.  I’d been a couple of times before that too when we were having one of our regular spells in the old Second Division, I seem to remember Gavin Peacock scoring a cracker in a 3-2 defeat during the season when we nearly ended up in Division Three.

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Portman Road: Outside…

Ipswich has always struck me as being a decent football club with decent supporters, similar to Fulham in that respect, the kind of place where Sir Bobby was always likely to thrive. He got them, they got him, Ipswich never let him down in the way that we did…

I’m happy to report that Portman Road is still a great ground, it has a real 70s / 80s feel about it up the flanks with a twist of Premier League expansion behind the goals. History wins out though, I could almost see the blue shirt with white pinstripes, ‘Pioneer’ emblazoned across the chest. Fortunately I couldn’t see Eric Gates, unfortunately an Adidas Tango was nowhere to be seen either…

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Portman Road: Inside…

The match; two sides near the top of the league but uneventful really. Watford started reasonably well but Ipswich deserved all three points for their second half performance alone and they got them when Tommy Smith fired home from close range in the 83rd minute …

Nostalgia sated for another week…

Train back involved a change at Ely and a very impressive firework display while I waited for my connection…

A two game weekend; next stop, The Hawthorns tomorrow…

Ipswich Town; Bialkowski, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Mings, Bru, Tabb, Williams (Bishop 61), Murphy, McGoldrick (YC) (Sammon 94), Hunt  Not Used; Parr, Anderson, Bajner, Ambrose, Crowe

Goals; Smith (83)

Watford; Gomes, Paredes (YC), Ekstrand (YC), Bassong Nguena, Pudil, Munari (YC), Tozser, Andrews (Murray 86), Vydra, Deeney, Forestieri (Ighalo 74) Not Used; McGugan, Doyley, Cathcart, Dyer, Bond

Goals; None

As usual, More pictures on flickr…