Team: Cerny, Ramage, Hall, Stewart, Borrowdale, Routledge (Simpson), Watson, Faurlin, Leigertwood (Buzsaky), Vine (Taarabt), Agyemang
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Williams, Gorkss, Pellicori
If you missed the match then consider yourself lucky ! The first thing to comment on would be the obvious changes from Saturday – Agyemang, Vine, Ramage and Stewart coming in for Simpson, Taarabt, Buzsaky and Gorkss. Prsonally, I was quite pleased to see Agyemang and Vine starting and the inclusion of Ramage allowed Leigertwood to be put into the heart of midfield (although Faurlin, our best player at present, was then pushed over to the left wing and often drifted in). This still hasn’t solved the problem of Borrowdale having two attackers on him. Also, I was pleased to see Taarabt dropped, for me, he has become even more selfish in the past couple of weeks than he was before. But Buzsaky and Gorkss left out ?
Anyway, the match began and the Rangers fans were singing their hearts out in the library otherwise known as Vicarage Road. “You Only Sing When You’re Winning” is quite apt there and even then they’re not exactly loud ! A relatively even and eventless half hour passed before Agyemang received the ball on the edge of the area and drilled it into the bottom left corner before nonchalantly celebrating. From where we were sitting, it was hard to tell what was going on at the other end, so we thought that there might have been a foul or an offside, such was the lack of enthusiasm after the goal ? Perhaps they knew what was to come.
Towards the end of the half, Watford started to get on top of us and this pressure paid off for them. As the ball came in from the left-hand side, it floated over everyone’s head. However, it fell to a free yellow shirt who crossed it back for the unmarked Lloyd Doyley to head into an open net (do not believe the regular Press in their description of the goal – “What a goal it was”), cue wild celebrations for his first goal ever (he has played over 250 games in a Watford shirt). I’ll admit that I’m not entirely sure, but I’d imagine that Faurlin had pulled in centrally, leaving the extra player free on their right wing and Doyley seemed to constantly have a bit of space when pushing forward from left back. The half-time whistle blew with us not feeling at all out of the game and with many fewer frustrations than were to be felt in the coming 49 minutes !
At the start of the second-half, the definite change in the momentum towards the home side continued and they pressed on, looking for a second goal. Shortly after the re-start, Ellington hit the post from about 10 yards and I thought Cerny had saved it at first. Then on 56 minutes, following some more poor defending, the ball was passed out to the right where Don Cowie was waiting to drill it into the bottom left corner. Immediately, Watford pulled the ever unimpressive Ellington off to boos from the home fans and brought on Henderson and then Taarabt replaced the disappointing Vine.
On about 70 minutes, we made our second change, bringing on Simpson for Routledge, who could have felt hard done by. This decision was greeted by boos and chants of, “You Don’t Know What You’re Doing.” Why Routledge was taken off over Leigertwood, Watson or Faurlin is beyond me and seemingly the travelling R’s fans. When Leigertwood was eventually taken off 5 minutes later and replaced by Buzsaky, there were cheers from the Rangers faithful who had been chanting his name since 25 minutes in, when the subs first came out to warm up.
Following a badly taken throw-in, which left us short of options and stuck in near the corner, Stewart lost the ball and lunged in two-footed on Jon Harley. He received a yellow but I wouldn’t have complained had he been sent off. Seemingly unconnected, Harley was withdrawn at this point for Scott Severin. Towards the end of the 90 minutes with Rangers lacking ideas and R’s fans growing ever more frustrated, Hall conceded a foul which was greeted by chants of, “Off Off Off Off” by our own fans !!! Whilst I won’t defend his performance from recent matches, I wouldn’t quite go as far as hoping for him to be sent off. For the record, Hall was booked.
About half a dozen times in the last 10 minutes (including added time), the ball was given to Taarabt for him to perform his magic. Unfortunately he didn’t deliver. He didn’t even come close, not even once. Seemingly forgetting that he had ten team mates and that Watford had eleven who want to get the ball off of him, he tried to dribble past them all, almost waiting for one of them to approach him before advancing onto goal and hanging onto the ball for a second (or ten) too long before losing it to the groans of the fans. They stopped short of booing him though. Buzsaky was handed a golden chance in the 2nd minute of added time to draw things level. On the one occasion I remember Taarabt passing it (eventually), Buzsaky skied his shot way over the bar. Cue the banging of seats as hundreds of R’s fans left. Those that stayed on saw Watford break away and Tom Cleverly, one-on-one with the only defender back, Ramage, went past him and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner. Cue further banging of seats. The whistle blew a minute later to more booing.
The performance today, whilst the score-line wouldn’t suggest it, was worse than that on Saturday. Against a better team, I fear quite how many more they’d have scored. If it were Middlesbrough again, it could quite easily have been eight or nine ! I‘ve just remembered that we have West Brom away next Monday !!!
Cerny: 6 – Pulled off a few good saves and not at fault for the goals. He still fills me with absolutely no confidence dealing with back passes or his distribution.
Ramage: 5 – Someone needs to teach him to cross once he’s looked up. Several times he put the ball in at the back post when everyone was at the front but fairly solid defensively
Hall: 4 – Drop him
Stewart: 6 – Quite rightly recalled, albeit at the expense of the wrong defender and considerably better than Hall
Borrowdale: 6 – The best of the defenders again, he’s really growing on me. He still had two attackers on him but still managed to join our attacks as well
Routledge: 5/6 – Put back on the right wing but didn’t receive the ball enough. He looked fairly dangerous at times and wrongly taken off
Leigertwood: 5/6 – He was better in the middle of the park than at right back but still not an inspiring performance
Watson: 5 – Will Magilton still want to sign him on recent showings ? I hope not. We certainly miss Martin Rowlands
Faurlin: 6 – Doing well at the moment but he got dragged in-field a bit too much for someone who was meant to be on the left-wing, but he was out of position and should not receive as much stick as everyone else
Agyemang: 6/7 – Rangers MOTM for me. He ran his socks off and you could not fault his effort. On one occasion he followed their right back all the way back to our bye-line. He took his goal well
Vine: 5 – Given a chance to start and didn’t really do very much
Simpson: 5 – Again, I don’t remember him doing very much
Taarabt: 4 – Teach this boy to pass and when to do it or send him back
Buzsaky: – He missed a great chance to level it up in added time. Far better than Taarabt but only got 10-15 minutes on the pitch
Magilton: 4/5 – As I said above, I agreed with some of the changes to the starting line-up, but didn’t understand some of them. Also, I didn’t understand why he took Routledge off ? Nor why Buzsaky came on so late ? He has the fans on his back now and needs to sort things out before we embarrass ourselves on Sky again next Monday
Referee: 5 – (Andy Penn) He did nothing about Watford’s continuous blatant time wasting and gave an awful lot of 50-50’s to the home side. No real major decisions except perhaps the possible sending off of Stewart
Well I agree with one thing that Magilton said in his post-match comments when he remarked that we didn’t have a leader out there. The team is unbalanced and to play Faurlin out-wide was ridiculous. For me, he’s been one of our best players recently and must surely play centre-mid. Just when you thought our defending couldn’t get any worse, it was x-certificate stuff tonight. I agree with Sam that Routledge wasn’t given enough of the ball and for me Gorkss must start. Well done to Patrick Agyemang. He scored an excellent goal against the run of play and on one occasion he tracked one of their players all the way back to our bye-line. I would have started him up-front with Jay Simpson.
Great support from the Rangers contingent, I thought that there were more than the 1,442 stated in the Official website match report ? Many turned on Hall and even chanted, “Off Off Off” after he committed a foul in the 2nd half ! Stewart was very lucky to stay on the pitch with that two-footed lunge. Some R’s fans also turned on Magilton with a few verses of, “You Don’t Know What You’re Doing.” Low on confidence, the team lost its shape at times and Watford on occasions looked like they had 2/3 extra players on the field. Watford were very ordinary but have now leap-frogged over us in the table and next up of course, are a side who I think have scored 40 goals so far this season !