Saturday, 30 November 2013

Watford - 30/11/13

Having not made a game since Middlesbrough due to being on holiday for Leeds and unable to get the day off for Doncaster, I was really looking forward to the game at Middlesbrough. Recent results didn't fill me with much optimism, but the chance to see a ground I'd never been to against a side Yeovil had never played before was a good one.

I set off at 10:30 with this being a "home" game for me - barely an hour down the road on the M25 for me from Aldershot. The main thing I noticed coming in to Watford was that there wasn't a single road sign for Vicarage Road, I ended up on the road purely by chance as I drove around. A friend told me that due to a lack of parking, they didn't want to encourage people to drive to the stadium. I worked my way back from the ground finding some free street parking around a half mile away, and there were lots of signs for pedestrians for me to follow to find my way easily back.

Having initially got into football as a young teenager following Chelsea obsessively from my armchair, I was really excited at the prospect of playing against a Gianfranco Zola side. I wanted to get to the stadium really early to bolster my chances of meeting him. As it happens, the Watford players and management all arrive at the same time, by coach, around 1:20pm. I thought this was a nice touch - they all arrive together, and all leave together, which I think really shows unity. Having waited over an hour... I was extremely excited to be able to have my photo with Zola and found myself reverting to that young teenager again!

Me and Gianfranco Zola! I have never looked so pale...

We grabbed a (very lovely) bacon cheeseburger from a van next to the ground (we were pushed for time... don't judge!) and entered the ground. The ground... well. Ramshackle barely covers it for the most part! They only have 3 stands at the moment as one has been demolished to build a whole new one, and the building site does leave a little to be desired...

The rest of the stadium seemed a little run down but the stands themselves were fairly decent, especially the home ends.

I was feeling strangely optimistic come kick off - no idea why. Perhaps the new signings we'd made in midweek - two strikers and a midfielder. We've seriously been lacking strike power this season and had been crying out for new some blood in that regard so I was looking forward to getting a good look at them at Watford. More on them later.

The game itself... well let's start from the beginning. In the first five minutes, we seemed a little panicked at the back at Watford repeatedly ran at us. We managed to get into our stride quickly however, with a great last ditch tackle from Davis in the box and some great clearances from Duffy. Watford then had a shot at the near post which pinged around the box and finally hit Davis on the back (which he seemed to know little about) which was then hurridly collected by Dunn. While Watford had a lot of space in our half, lots of chances and a few decent shots on goal, there were no efforts where I genuinely thought "this is going in". We meanwhile were playing some lovely passing football on the deck, with a few chances here and there but no killer breakthrough. And then it came, in the one minute of added time, when Byron Webster rose like the cliched salmon to head in corner. Absolute elation from the amazing travelling Yeovil support. 945 of us were going absolutely mental as we were trying to remember how one actually celebrates a goal!

Going in to half time a goal ahead is always a dodgy position to be in, especially when you're Yeovil. In the past we've always come out a different side in the second half, and it's hard to really pinpoint why - sitting back, complacency? Who knows. But at Watford, that wasn't the case. we came out stronger, faster, better. For all their possession, corners and flair, Watford's finishing was absolutely woeful and the onslaught from Yeovil going forward was relentless. We soaked up the pressure with relative ease, with Byron Webster and Duffy absolutely class. We made it 2-0 on 53 minutes when -  shockingly -  A STRIKER SCORED!!!! Brand new signing Ishmael Miller, on loan from Forest, headed in from a few yards out. It was well taken as it looked like he was going to miss by a mile. Absolute mayhem in the away end as people fell from rows above onto the fans below them and down onto the terrace between the seats! How was this happening? We weren't only winning 2-0, but deservedly so, and we were playing really WELL. Watford threw everything at us, with corner after corner after corner. They had more possession, sure, but we were always going forward whenever we got hold of the ball and in my opinion, always looked dangerous. And right at the death, after the board went up for injury time, Joe Edwards slotted home a really decent finish to make it 3-0 and to cement what had been a brilliant performance, pretty much from start to finish.

Thew new players -  Morgan ran his socks off and while he didn't get on the end of anything, he looked lively. Miller really put himself about and bothered the Watford defence at all times and his finish was well taken, cooly and calmly. Great to see him get on the score sheet early and hopefully bolster his confidence. And Lundstram in midfield was absolutely class  - where he gets his energy from I don't know but he closed everything down and ensured everything was kept tight in midfield.

Overall performances were fantastic. There was the usual slicing from Ayling and the usual giving-the-ball-away from Upson but generally, we were class. And I don't just mean that as a Yeovil fan - we were objectively a million times better than we have been for months, we looked confident and assured. My man of the match was Lundstram -  I think he will be a serious asset for us during his loan.

I picked up a few cans of cider (sorry, purists!) on the way home and celebrated a wonderful day all round, and an epic victory for the Town! Onwards an upwards, with my next game at Barnsley. This is a real winnable game, with us now off the bottom of the Championship and Barnsley taking our place.

Enjoy your weekend Yeovil fans.... I know I will!

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