Watford 1 -1 Nottingham Forest Match Report.
A fantastic free kick from Lewis McGugan secured a draw for the Hornets against Nottingham Forest on Sunday in what was a thrilling game which was televised on Sky Sports. Andy Reid had given Forest an early lead after a poor clearance from Marco Cassetti but former Red Lewis McGugan equalised in the second half in what was his first goal against his former employers after joining the Hornets from Forest this summer. The result means both sides keep their unbeatean records in tact. Gianfranco Zola made three changes to the side that drew 3-3 with Reading last weekend. Marco Cassetti, Daniel Pudil and Diego Fabbrini all came in with Joel Ekstrand (Injury) and Marco Davide Faraoni and Fernando Forestieri dropping to the bench. For Nottingham Forest, Billy Davies named an unchanged side to the one that beat Bolton Wanderers 3-0. The Hornets were on the back foot early on and were behind in the 6th Minute. Daniel Pudil played the ball back to Marco Cassetti but instead on rolling the ball back to Manuel Almunia, he tried an ambitious cross field ball to Lloyd Doyley which fell straight to Forests Andy Reid who drove forward before passsing to Jamie Mackie who cut into the box before passing the ball back to Reid who hit a powerful first time effort in to the top corner giving Manuel Almunia no chance. Watford then started to grow into the game with Diego Fabbrini and Ikechi Anya being the Hornets main threats. Forest were happy for the Hornets to have the ball as they werent really causing Forest any problems. Almen Abdi went close for the Hornets as his deflected effort went just wide of Karl Darlows post. Diego Fabbrini then dummied the ball before driving into the box but his effort was two central and was easily saved by Darlow. The Hornets were camped inside Forests half for most of the first period but they didnt cause any problems. Forest nearly doubled their lead in the 41st Minute. Again, Cassetti was at fault being caught in possesion when he could have just passed to a fellow Watford player to get a counter attack going. But no, he hung on to the ball before Henri Lansbury took it off him and after clever play allowing him to get away from two watford players, his shot hit the post and the Hornets cleared. Watford then went on the counter and had the best chance of the half and maybe should have been level. Daniel Pudil played the ball to Diego Fabbrini out wide who skipped past Eric Lichaj before crossing the ball into the box which was met by Troy Deeney but he could only header his effort wide. Ikechi Anya then had a half volley blocked.
Half Time - 0-1
Watford came out for the second half and did imporove. However, Maneul Almunia was by far the busiest keeper early on in the second half. Jamie Mackies ball across goal was met by Andy Reid but his effort went high and wide. A few minutes later, Almunia had to palm away a Eric Lichaj cross which looked like it was creeping in. A minute later and Almunia had to save from Radoslaw Majewski but his effort was easily saved. Then moments later, Almunia had to come out and save as Greg Halford ran through on goal. But in the 54th minute, the Hornets equalised and what a goal it was. Diego Fabbrini was bundled over 25 yards from goal and referee Oliver Langford awarded a free kick. Lewis McGugan stepped up to take the free kick and he curled the ball around the wall and into the top corner to put the Hornets back on level terms. This was McGugans second goal for the Hornets after joining from Nottingham Forest and he didnt celebrate as a mark of respect to his former employees. A few minutes later and McGugan nearly had a second. After coming in, McGugan played a one-two with Fabbrini before a first time angled effort was finger tipped around the post by Darlow. McGugan was then replaced with 25 minutes left with Sean Murray coming on. Murray was certainly impressive when he came on and nearly scored with his first touch of the ball. Daniel Pudil crossed the ball into the box and Troy Deeney left the ball for Murray who side footed shot was straigh at Darlow. If it had been a little more to the left or right, the Hornets would have been level. During the final quarter of an hour, the game opened up with both keepers making important saves to keep their sides on level terms. Almunia had to parry Jamie Mackie's effort after Doyley failed to clear the danger for Watford. In the 78th minute, Zola made a double save with Iriney and Pudil coming off and Fernando Forestieri and Marco Davide Faraoni coming on. Ikechi Anya then cut in from the left and struck a curling effort with his right foot which Karl Darlow finger tipped around the post. Substitute Ishmael Miller thought he had won it for Forest when he robbed Marco Cassetti and powered down on goal. After cutting in he curled an effort towards goal which Manuel Almunia somehow finger tipped onto the post when he looked certain to score. Fernando Forestieri then saw a curling effort go just wide. But after a frantic finish and five minutes of added time, the match finished level. A draw was probably a fair result but both teams could feel that they could have won it in the second half.
Full Time - 1-1
Watford - Almunia (GK)(C) 8, Doyley 7, Angella 7, Cassetti 5, Anya 8, Iriney 6 (Forestieri 78 6), McGugan 6.5 (Murray 65 7), Abdi 6, Pudil 6 (Faraoni 79 N/A) Deeney 6, Fabbrini 8.
Subs Not Used - Bond (GK), Brown, Battochio, Acuna.
Goals - McGugan (54)
Bookings - Fabbrini
My Man Of The Match - Manuel Almunia and Ikechi Anya - Hard to pick between them really. Almunia made numerous saves including a fabulous finger tipped effort at the end to ensure that we came away with a point. Anya was a real menance to the Forest defence and seems to improve every time i see him.
Nottingham Forest - Darlow, Lichaj, Hobbs, Wilson, Cohen (C), Guedioura, Lansbury, Reid, Majewski ( Paterson 72), Halford (Derbyshire 61), Mackie ( Miller 79)
Subs Not Used- De Vries (GK), Harding, Collings, Cox.
Goals - Reid (6)
Bookings - Lichaj, Wilson, Cohen, Lansbury, Miller.
Possesion - 52% Watford. 48% Forest
Attendance - 16,242 (Forest 1,538)
Referee - Oliver Langford.