Middlesbrough 1 - 2 Watford Match Report.
Another double from Czech striker Matej Vydra secured another away win for the Hornets and now means that they are the top scorers away from home in all of the four divsions. He could and possibly should have had a hat - trick when he was played through by John Eustace in the final few minutes but the young striker bent the ball over the crossbar to the relief of Boro keeper Jason Steele. Scott McDonald scored a consolation 15 seconds from the end meaning that Watford still have not kept a clean sheet away from home this season. But who cares as long as we win I say. Watford had their defence to thank for the win after some superb tackles and they pressurised the Boro strike force to waste their opportunities when they had them. Gianfranco Zola made three changes to the side that lost 3-0 to Man City in the FA Cup. Manuel Almunia replaced Jonathan Bond in goal whilst Fit again Almen Abdi and Cristian Battochio replaced Fernando Forestieri and Captain John Eustace. Tony Mowbary made many changes for Middlesboro as key men came back from injury to line up in a 3-5-2 formation similar to the Hornets. Watford were on the back foot for all of the first half and the Hornets had their defence to thank. However, the Boro players were wasteful at times and never really tested Manuel Almunia from long range. Firstly Lucas Jutkiewicz saw a 10th minute header go behind. Then in the 12th minute Scott McDonal let fly from 30 yards with his shot not troubling Almunia. Then in the 27th minute Watford went close to opening the deadlock but a Watford player would not have scored if the ball went in. Marco Cassetti curled in a fantastic cross which Boro Captain Rhys Williams inerdvirtidly sliced against his own bar when attempting to clear. Soon after Lloyd Doyley block a Scott McDonal shot. Then 9 minutes before half time Jutkiewicsz was wastefull after shooting wide from a teasing free kick from Grant Leadbitter. Almunia then had to get down low to save Emmanuel Ledesma's curling effort in the 42nd minute. But then Watford went straight down the other end and scorered with their first shot of the match. Troy Deeney crossed the ball in and Rhys Williams chested the ball down. He was trying to chest the ball back to keeper Jason Steele, but the contact was weak meaning Vydra skipped in and tucked the ball home to the delight of the 305 Watford fans. This was the Czech strikers 13th goal of the season.
Half Time - 0-1
Watford were much improved in the second half. Boro keeper Jason Steele made the first save of the second half when he tipped over Vydra's effort after some great play including Battochio and Abdi. Then Adam Reach came on as a substitue on the hour and he saw a dipping 30 yard effort go just wide. This was his first contribution. Emmanuel Ledesma then shot well wide soon after. Then in the 76th minute, Middlesbrough keeper Jason Steele made a triple save. Firstly, He saved Vydra's effort before getting up to save Battochio's curling effort and then Deeney could only slide the ball straight at the Boro keeper. But to be fair, Deeney was stretching. Seb Hines then wasted a glorious chance for Boro when he had a free header but the ball went over. Then, in the 83rd minute, the Hornets put the game to bed. Almen Abdi picked up the ball and slid the ball into Vydra who made no mistake practically passing the ball in to the bottom corner of Jason Steeles goal. The Watford fans arupted and Vydra showed his delight grabbing hold of the Watford badge infront of the travelling Hornets Fans. This confirmed Vydras top scorer status at the top of Watfords scoring charts with this being his 14th goal of the season and his 6th in 3 championship games that he has started in. John Eustace then came on for Nathaniel Chalobah in the 84th minute. Eustace had an immeadiate impact when he won the ball and strode forward with it before playing a ball across for Vydra. It looked like Vydra was going to score a Hat- Trick being the first Watford player since Michael Chopra. But instead of rolling the ball in to the net, Vydra bent his shot wide of the post. Vydra was not pleased and he was seen kicking a bottle in frustration soon after. Vydra was subbed off in the 87th minute and was replaced by Mark Yeates. Middlesbrough got one back in the final 15 seconds when Reach crossed a deligtful ball into the peantly area and Scott McDonald got free of his marker and headered the ball into the net. As soon as the ball went into the net, Referee Mark Brown blew his Whistle to make it another away win for the Hornets in a succesful season so far. Lets hope this play continues for the rest of the season.
Full Time- 1-2
Middlesbrough- Steele (GK), Williams (C), Hines, Friend, Bailey, Leadbitter, McEachren (Reach 60), Ledesma (Zemmama 71), Haroun, Jutkiewicz (Miller 69), McDonald.
Subs Not Used - Leutwiler (GK), Parnaby, Thomson, Smallwood.
Goals - McDonald (90 +4).
Yellow Cards - McDonald
Watford - Almunia (GK)(C), Doyley, Nosworthy, Ekstrand, Cassetti, Chalobah (Eustace 84), Battochio, Abdi, Pudil, Deeney, Vydra (Yeates 87).
Subs Not Used - Bond (GK), Forsyth, Anya, Forestieri.
Goals - Vydra (43 + 83)
Yellows - None.
Possesion - Middlesbrough 52 %. Watford 48%
Attendance - 17,499 (305 Watford Fans).
Referee - Mark Brown.