Watford 3 - 0 Bolton Wanderers.
Watford kicked off the 2014/15 Championship season in style yesterday at Vicarage Road, with a comfortable 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers. Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra were re-united upfront and both scored a goal apiece to put the Hornets 2-0 up after 25 minutes. Substitute Fernando Forestieri who had only been on the field for 30 seconds, sealed the win late on with a cool finish when played through on goal.
It was a fantastic performance from Watford, with Troy Deeney, Matej Vydra, Almen Abdi and debutant Juan Carlos Paredes catching the eye in particular as the Golden Boys brushed aside Bolton who looked down and out after 25 minutes.
Some of the football played by the Golden Boys was spectacular and was reminiscent of the 2012/13 season, where the Hornets free flowing football caused teams no end of problems.
Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra pestered the Trotters defence throughout and Juan Carlos Paredes pace on the wing terrorised Bolton’s full back Dean Moxey.
Beppe Sannino gave new signings Heurelho Gomes, Gabriel Tamas and Juan Carlos Paredes their debuts on the opening day whilst Lloyd Dyer and Gianni Munari also came on for their first appearances in a Watford shirt in the second half.
The Golden Boys lined up in a 3-5-2 formation. Heurelho Gomes started in goal for his debut and his goal was guarded by a back three of Gabriel Tamas, Joel Ekstrand and Gabriele Angella. Ecuadorian international Juan Carlos Paredes started at full back on his debut with Daniel Pudil occupying the other wing back position. The midfield consisted of Daniel Tozser, Lewis Mcgugan and Almen Abdi whilst captain Troy Deeney was re-united with his old strike partner Matej Vydra up front who rejoined the Hornets on an initial season long loan from Udinese after spending last season at West Bromwich Albion.
Bolton’s manager Dougie Freedman gave debuts to Kevin McNaughton and Dean Moxey as the Trotter’s lined up in a 4-5-1.
The atmosphere in side Vicarage Road before kick off was electric and the home fans could have been celerbrating after 20 seconds. Bolton kicked off at Vicarage Road and Dean Moxey played a poor back pass to Bolton’s goalkeeper Andy Lonergan which Deeney raced on to immediately. Deeney was one on one with Lonergan but could only send the ball just wide.
It would have been a great start at Vicarage Road but the Hornets did not let up and continued to ramp up the pressure on Bolton. Watford were playing some great stuff and without the ball, the Golden Boys were working hard to win back possession. The Vicarage Road crowd could sense that it would only be a matter of time before the Hornets opened the deadlock and the goal came in the 17th minute and what a finish it was.
Some great one touch play meant Angella could run out of defence. Angella played a fantastic curling ball which took two Bolton defenders out of the game and allowed Deeney to run on to the ball. The Hornets captain was clearly aware of his surroundings and coolly lobbed the ball over Bolton’s on rushing keeper Lonergan to put Vicarage Road in to raptures. It was an outstanding finish and one that would not look out of place in the Premier League. Deeney ran straight to the fans who celebrated with the striker in style.
If Bolton thought Watford were going to sit back after taking the lead, they were wrong and the Hornets continued to put the Trotters under the cosh.
With their next meaningful attack, the Golden Boys were 2-0 up and it was the returning Matej Vydra who grabbed the Hornets second. Daniel Tozser played a fantastic ball from the Hornets own half to release Vydra down the wing. The Czech forward charged in to the area before cutting in and evading Ream’s challenge before sending a low shot in to the bottom corner. The Vic went wild and chants of ‘Super Matty Vydra’ ringed out around Vicarage Road, which was warmly received by the striker who applauded the Hornets fans.
The Deeney and Vydra partnership was causing the Bolton defence many problems and the duo didn’t look like that they had been apart.
After the goal, the Hornets continued to pressurise and midfield maestro Abdi sent a 20 yard effort narrowly over Lonergan’s bar.
Shortly after, it was nearly 3 when Lewis McGugan’s corner was headed narrowly over by Deeney.
Bolton’s first and only effort of the first half came in the 30th minute when Medo’s long range effort went well over the ball.
As the half went on, the Hornets seemed content with their 2-0 cushion meaning that there were not as many clear cut opportunities in a half where the Hornets were full of energy.
Four minutes before half time, good work from Lewis McGugan and Juan Carlos Paredes allowed Almen Abdi some time and space but his effort was straight at Andy Lonergan.
Half time – 2-0
Bolton manger Freedman was clearly unimpressed by his team’s first half showing as he brought on Liam Feeney for Darren Pratley at half time.
The Hornets started the second half in a similar way that they did in the first and the Golden Boys were nearly 3-0 up 30 seconds after half time. Almen Abdi found impressive debutant Juan Carlos Paredes 20 yards out and the Ecuadorian wing back’s effort cannoned back off the cross bar.
Bolton started to come back into it after the break and Trotter’s captain Jay Spearing saw his shot deflect wide of Gomes post.
In the 54th minute, Vydra nut megged Bolton’s Moxey after great play down the right before the Czech surged into the box and squared the ball to Abdi whose shot is deflected narrowly wide of Lonergan’s post.
Two minutes later and the Swiss international should have put the Golden Boys 3-0 up. Mcgugan received the ball and played a fantastic weighted ball into Abdi who was one on one with Lonergan but his shot was straight at the Bolton goalkeeper.
Bolton substitute Feeney received the ball 25 yards out and his powerful effort was deflected wide of Gomes goal by a hornets defender. Then a few minutes later, Bolton’s Davies saw an ambitious effort go over the bar.
The Deeney and Vydra partnership went from strength to strength and the front two never looked like they had been away. More good play from Vydra as he chipped the ball into Deeney’s path and the striker controlled it before firing a half volley straight at Lonergan in the 64th minute.
Heurelho Gomes was then forced in to his first meaningful save in the 66th minute, when Bolton’s Chung Yong Lee fired a powerful curling effort from 25 yards out which the former Tottenham keeper did well to tip over the bar.
Beppe Sannino then made his first substitution in the 70th minute, with impressive midfielder Lewis McGugan making way for new signing Gianni Munari to make his Watford debut.
Substitute Jermaine Beckford was in the action straight away after coming on in the 68th minute as the Bolton striker saw an effort hit the side netting.
Matej Vydra’s first appearance in a Watford shirt since May 2013 was brought to an end in the 79th minute and was replaced by Fernando Forestieri.
It was to be an inspired change by Sannino as 30 seconds later, Forestieri killed off the Trotters. A ball forward was misread by Bolton substitute Dervite and Forestieri was allowed to run though one on one. The Argentine made no mistake as he poked the ball past Lonergan and into the net before racing away to celebrate in front of the Rookery with Harry the Hornet.
A couple of minute’s later and Gomes pulled off a tremendous save to deny Bolton a consolation. Chung Yong Lee met Jermaine Beckford’s flick on and Gomes did extremely well to claw the Korean’s header away.
Sannino made his final change late on with former Leicester winger Lloyd Dyer coming on for Daniel Pudil to make his Watford debut.
All in all it was an excellent showing from Watford who could probably have had more than 3 if they wanted. An impressive performance from Juan Carlos Paredes at wing back was excellent to see, with the wing back not afraid to get stuck in. Defensively solid, the Ecuadorian showed that he could be a menace going forward as well. Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra never looked like they had been apart ,whilst Almen Abdi ran the show in midfield.
It was a fantastic showing from Watford and if the Hornets continue to perform like that every week, I’m certain the Golden Boys will be up there come the end of the season.
Full Time – 3-0
Team Line-ups and ratings.
Watford – Gomes (GK) 8, Tamas 8, Ekstrand 8, Angella 8, Paredes 9.5, Tozser 8, Abdi 8, Mcgugan 8 (Munari 70) Pudil 8 (Dyer 83) , Deeney (C) 9, Vydra 9 ( Forestieri 79)
Subs not used – Bond (GK), Hoban, Doyley, Ranegie.
Yellow cards – None.
Goals – Deeney (17), Vydra (23), Forestieri (80).
My man of the match – Juan Carlos Paredes – Could not fault any of the Watford players but the Ecuadorian made an excellent debut. Was not afraid to get stuck in and was defensively solid. Very much an attacking threat with his pace and made some excellent runs and crosses. Came oh so close to scoring as well.
Bolton – Lonergan (GK), McNaughton, Mills, Ream, Moxey (Dervite 60) , Lee, Spearing (C), Medo, Pratley (Feeney H/T), Danns (Beckford 68), Davies
Subs not used – Bogdan (GK), Wheater, Trotter, Wilkinson.
Yellow Cards – None
Goals – None.
Possession – Watford 52 %, Bolton 48 %
Attendance – 15,546 (1396 Bolton fans)
Referee – Carl Boyeson.