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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Watford 1 - Burnley 2

Vicarage Road

27th November 2007 @ 7:45 pm

Attendance: 15,021

Watford Given 'Wat-for'!

The Clarets played probably their most convincing and rewarding game of the Season last night (and for some time!)beating top of the league Watford 2-1 on their home patch. Andy Gray scored first to notch up his 11th goal of the season after 58 minutes of play and then Joey Gudjonsson scored a sensational goal with 10 minutes to go.

Watford of course had to pull one back to make it a nervy last few minutes for the 602 Clarets fans at Vicarage Road but we need not have worried. Three points in the bag and an awesome victory giving new gaffer his first win in only his second match. Four points out of six is not a bad start.

The victory keeps us well within the hunt for a play-offs place; we are now in 11th position on 25 points only two points now off sixth place with a crucial game in hand over many of the top clubs. Can we now do the double and get another away victory against third-placed club Charlton on Saturday? It looks like we are playing these top clubs at the right time at the moment as they seem to be hitting a slump in form. Charlton lost 3-0 at home to the Blades last night so we could capitalise on their misfortune and our new found sense of confidence.

The truth is the Clarets attacked throughout the match at Vicarage Road and looked convincing against the lacklustre Hornets. Chris McCann struck the woodwork in the first half and Robbie Blake had a clear penalty turned away by referee, Mr 'Not A` Friend just before half time.

The team line up was as predicted with no major changes, John Spicer did not feature due to injury and even the bench had a familiar feel to it, with Joey Gudjonsson again being awarded with a chance to feature, and boy did he do that in the second half

Kiraly, Alexander, Carlisle, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott, Mahon, McCann, Lafferty, Gray, Blake Subs: Jensen, J O'Connor, Gudjonsson, Akinbiyi, Jones

It was therefore the same 16 for the Clarets, with the same starting 11 that started against Stoke City last Saturday.

Burnley started confidently and in the 11th minute Gray had half a chance to put the lads 1-0 up when Wade Elliott found the hungry striker. Shittu however was aware of the danger and deflected the ball for a corner
The Hornets first attack of the game came in the 15th minute when Gabor Kiraly made a great save to deny Marlon King.

McCann was close to scoring midway through the first half following a whipped in cross from Blake but he could only watch as the ball danced on the wet turf and found the inside of the post.

10 minutes before half time, Watford nearly got an undeserved lead following a bad clearance by Kiraly. The ball found King but the Hungarian keeper made amends by saving well.

It was then Kyle Lafferty`s turn to have a go after being released down the left. He was denied though by the keeper just getting his fingers to the ball and putting it round the post Referee Kevin Friend didn`t even spot the save and awarded a goal kick.

Two minutes before the break, the Clarets were denied what appeared to be a cast iron penalty Robbie Blake was clearly upended near the by-line by Jay DeMerit after a reckless tackle. The Ref awarded a corner instead believing the Yank had somehow touched the ball
That was it for the first half with the Clarets dominating play and creating better chances but with nothing to show for their effort.

Joey Gudjonsson replaced Lafferty after the break but it was Watford and Jordan Stewart out of the blocks first with Kiraly saving from distance.

A bit of Hornets pressure then continued with Steve Kabba's diving header inside the six yard box just wide
Gudjonsson then forced Mart Poom into a full length save after his thunderous shot seemed to have the bottom corner written all over it.

In the 58th minute though it was the Clarets that finally broke the stalemate.

Mahon found Elliott on the right touchline and his perfectly precise and accurate cross found the head of Gray and the ball found the back of the net to put the Clarets 1-0 up at long last.

The Vicarage Road fans were shocked and even started to boo their team and manager, giving the Clarets just the impetus they needed.

On 80 minutes the Clarets doubled their lead in sensational style.

Blake spotted Gudjonsson sprinting past him inside the Burnley half, spinning on a sixpence he found the Icelandic midfielder on a dash for goal.

Gud then raced half the length of the field, taking the ball wide past Hornets keeper, Poom and somehow found the top corner of the net despite the tight angle. What a night for the revitalised player!

Shittu had to spoil the Clarets fun with five minutes remaining after his low drive found the bottom corner of the net from 18 yards. Wobblies and nervy times now but we held out as the final whistle blew as we secured a fantastic three points.

A delighted Owen Coyle had this to say about the match:

'There's a few more grey hairs there tonight but I have to say that we merited all three points.

'I asked them to be brave and to keep passing the ball and in the end I thought we scored two very good goals.

'When Watford scored they threw everything at us including the kitchen sink but we stayed strong as a team.'

Bring on Charlton!
---------------------------------------------------------
Watford: Poom, Doyley, Shittu, DeMerit, Stewart (Francis 75), Smith, Mahon (Ellington 80), Williamson, Kabba, King, Darius Henderson (Priskin 74).
Subs Not Used: Lee, Jackson.
Goals: Shittu 86.

Burnley: Kiraly, Alexander, Carlisle, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott, McCann, Mahon, Lafferty (Gudjonsson 46), Gray (Akinbiyi 87), Blake (Jones 83).
Subs Not Used: Jensen, James O'Connor.
Booked: Akinbiyi.
Goals: Gray 58, Gudjonsson 80.

Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

Star Player

No contest really in terms of sheer delight for the player that is Joey Gudjonsson, may he continue to silence his critics and at long last show that those spectacular goals he scored for Leicester were no fluke! The midfielder we have been missing based on the last two cameo appearances. I hoped and prayed it would come Gud for the lad




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The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday November 28 2007

Time: 6:38PM

 

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