Watford 1 - 0 Middlesbrough Match Report.
Watford made it four games unbeaten yesterday and their third clean sheet in four as a Troy Deeney penalty in the 50th minute sealed a 1-0 victory for the Hornets at Vicarage Road yesterday in what was a frantic second half for both teams. The Hornets werent at their best and good defending in the final third was key to the Hornets victory with Troy Deeney, Tommie Hoban, Marco Cassetti, Gabirele Angella and Daniel Tozser all putting in eye catching performances. The result boosts the Hornets up to 12th position and a win on Tuesday night against Yeovil could boost them up to 9th in the table only three points outside the play offs. The first half was lacklustre with Middlesbrough dominating possesion in the first half hour with the Hornets barely having a touch in the first 20 minutes as Boro rolled it around. Boro thought they took the lead before half time through Jonathan Woodgate but his effort was chalked off for off side. However, the second half was a far more enthralling affair and a frantic 15 minutes after Half time set the tone for the second half. Within the first 5 minutes of the second half, the Hornets were awarded a penalty by referee Oliver Langford which Captain Troy Deeney converted. However, two minutes after the penalty, Samba Diakite seemed to blow the Hornets efforts away when he was foolishly sent off for a wreckless tackle on Dean Whitehead. However, after Boro looked to seize the advantage, the sides were level in the 57th minute, when Middlesbroughs Ben Gibson was sent off for a second bookable offence after kicking the ball from Jonathan Bonds grasp preventing him from clearing his lines.
Beppe Sannino made four changes to the side that beat Birmingham 1-0 in the week two of which were enforced. Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia (Thigh) and Joel Ekstrand missed out through injury meaning that Jonathan Bond and Lloyd Doyley came in to the side. Also, Cristian Battochio and Alex Merkel dropped to the bench with Sean Murray and Samba Diakite coming in with the latter making his full debut. For Middlesbrough, head coach Aitor Karanka opted to make just the one change with Albert Adomah replacing Mustapha Carayol. Former Hornets Danny Graham and Nathaniel Chalobah both started.
The match started slowly, with Middlesbrough dominating the possesion. The only effort of note in the first ten minutes came from Middlesbrough when Grant Leadbitter saw a 25 yard effort go well wide of Jonathan Bonds goal. Then in the 15th minue, Emmanuel Ledesmas effort went wide of Bonds near side post. The Hornets first shot came in the 19th minute when Daniel Pudil cut in from the flank nearest to the Rous and played the ball to Forestieri whose 20 yard effort was deflected away for a corner. Boro were appealing for a penalty when George Friend went down easily in the area but referee Oliver Langford who had a good view was unmoved. Danny Graham and his first effort on goal in the 28th minute but his chip went over. On the half hour mark, Watford had their next attempt of the match when Forestieri advanaced towards the penalty area before playing the ball across the area which was dummied by Troy Deeney to Daniel Pudil whose first time effort was always curling wide of the goal. Ben Gibson recieved the games first yellow card in the 35th minute which would be significent later on the game. Marco Cassetti was also booked moments later for a body check on Graham. From that resulting Middlesbrough free kick, Jonathan Woodgate thought he had put the visitors 1-0 up when his header beat Jonathan Bond but linesman Guy Strettons flag was already raised. Troy Deeney had the game when his header was easily saved by Shay Given. Watford did improve before the break but were still not at their best in what was a lacklustre first half which was summed up in the final minute when Fernando Forestieri fired well over from Daniel Tozsers free kick.
Half Time - 0 - 0
Both teams made substitutions at half time. Watfords seemed to be enforced when Lloyd Doyley went off for Tommie Hoban who made his return from injury after a year long lay off. For Middlesbrough, Mustapha Carayol came on for Emmanuel Ledesma. Within the first five minutes of the second half, Watford were awarded a penalty. Fernando Forestieri robbed the ball and then beat Ben Gibson and was charging in to the penalty area but was bought down by Gibson near the by line. It was a clear foul and referee Oliver Langford instantly pointed to the spot. Troy Deeney grabbed the ball and placed it on the spot and calmly beat experienced keeper Shay Given in the Middlesbrough goal to score his 14th goal of the season. This seemed to get the Hornets in gear but two minutes after scoring the penalty, it seemed that their hard work had been thrown away. Samba Diakite was the guilty party and the midfielder did not have a good day at the office. After a Watford attack broke down, Diakite foolishly went in two footed and with studs up on Boro midfielder Dean Whitehead. It was a wreckless and foolish tackle from the 25 year old on his full debut and the Hornets crowd knew exactley what was coming when referee Oliver Langford instantly produced the staright red card. This galvanised Middlesbrough and with the Hornets going defensive, Boro started to attack and nearly scored the equaliser when Danny Grahams deflected effort went just wide of the post with Jonathan Bond rooted. However, from the resulting corner, it became 10 V 10 on the pitch as Middlesbrough also went down to 10 men. Leadbitters cross from the resulting corner was easily caught by Jonathan Bond and as he tried to kick it up field to try and start a Hornets attack, Ben Gibson nicked in front of him as he was about to kick the ball preventing him from taking the goal kick. It was a silly thing to do from the 22 year old defender who was already on a yellow card and referee Oliver Langford instantly reached to his pocket for Gibsons second yellow card and then produced the red. It was a frantic first 15 minutes of the second half which would set a tone for the rest of the game. The frantic start continued when former Hornet Nathaniel Chalobah squared up to Fernando Forestieri resulting in both players being booked. Beppe Sannino then made his second change just after the hour mark when Davide Faraoni made way for Ikechi Anya. Five minutes later and the Hornets made their final change with Fernando Forestieri who was already on a yellow card being replaced by Cristian Battochio. Boro also made their second change and went more attacking bringing on striker Curtis Main on for right back Jozsef Varga. Moments after the double sub the Hornets then went close to going 2-0 up. With Middlesbrough going attacking, big gaps were left in the Boro defence for the Hornets to exploit and Albert Adomahs misplaced header sent Ikechi Anya through on goal and after beating Dean Whitehead for pace the Scotsmans effort went curling just wide of the post. It was a tense final 10 minutes, with Watford camped in their own half for large parts but when they got the opportunity to counter they did so. It was Anya again who so nearly provided the games next opportunity with his through ball running just away from Troy Deeney. Boro were attacking and the Hornets so very nearly conceded a penalty in the final five minutes when Anya clipped George Friend who stayed on his feet but then spurned the resulting opporunity with the Hornets clearing their lines. If Friend wasnt so honest and went down, he would have surely won a penalty. Moments beforehand, Danny Graham saw a weak header saved. Then moments before stoppage time, Troy Deeney sent Sean Murray one on one but his effort was saved by Shay Given. Even if the ball did go in, it wouldnt have counted as referee Langford blew his whistle for a foul. Then final five minutes was tense with the Hornets going defensive in order to protect their lead. Danny Graham sent a shot over in the final minutes but that was that in terms for Middlesbrough and the Hornets closed the game out for a narrow 1-0 win. It may not have looked preety but the Hornets got the job done in what was a enthralling and tense second half.
Full Time - 1-0.
Team Lineups and Ratings.
Watford - Bond (GK) 6, Doyley 6 (Hoban H/T 8) Cassetti 8, Angella 8, Pudil 6 , Tozser 7.5, Murray 7.5, Diakite 2, Faraoni 6 (Anya 65 7 ) Deeney (C) 9, Forestieri 7 (Battochio 73 6).
Subs Not Used - Woods (GK), Bellerin, Merkel, Park.
Goals - Deeney (Pen) 50
Bookings - Cassetti (37), Forestieri (59)
Red Cards - Diakite (52)
Middlesbrough - Given (GK), Varga ( Main 73), Woodgate (C) (Kamara 84), Gibson, Friend, Ledesman ( Carayol H/T), Chalobah, Whitehead, Leadbitter, Adomah, Graham.
Subs Not Used - Konstantopolous (GK), Butterfield, Hines, Omeruo.
Goals - None
Bookings - Gibson (35, 57) Chalobah (60), Varga.
Red Cards - Gibson ( 57)
Possesion - 37 % Watford, 63 % Middlesbrough.
Attendance - 15,391 ( 1258 Middlesbrough Fans).
Referee - Oliver Langford (West Midlands)