I was really looking forward to this game & it didn’t disappoint. I had a bit of an epiphany actually. It’s been tough watching Derby this season & I’ve managed to combine this with a few ropey Hornets games that I’ve not felt motivated to blog about. This was different though. It was a richly satisfying experience & it reminded me of why I’ve loved going to football matches these last 33 years.
It was was just me & The Witch for this one, hunkering down in the depths of the lower Graham Taylor Stand, slightly dissatisfied that the “bars” behind us weren’t serving beer (a bit like the away end actually..).
Anyway.. Here are a few musings..
The flags (little & large) – this is something that Watford are obviously way ahead of Derby in. Organised & presumably purchased by the 1881 Movement, the Rookery was full of yellow & black flags & boy was it a sight to behold. The display as the teams came out was awe inspiring. A bit better than waving a few black & white scarves around eh? As well as that there were at least 3 giant flags being pulled around the Rookery, Graham Taylor & Elton John stands. Brilliant stuff & it really added to the atmosphere (which was pretty good for a crowd just short of 20,000).
Brum – they came to defend & no more than that. I don’t really blame them to be honest, they made it difficult for Watford, but I was a bit disappointed in them (& Mr Rowett). On their occasional sorties forward, Cotterill was his usual intelligent, skillful self but other than that, they had nothing to offer. Demarai Gray, subject of a £5 million bid by Bournemouth in January, was completely ineffectual.
Deeney – this guy is a god as far as I’m concerned. Could’ve had a couple of goals & certainly deserved one after yet another barnstorming display of pace, power, skill & sheer physicality. Above all he is leader &, as I’ve said before, the beating heart of this team. 20+ goals in each of the last 3 seasons too. I’d love to see how he copes with the Premier League next season.
That goal – We had an amazing view of it, the celebrations from the players & the Rookery end exploding. It was amazing. Was it a scissor or an overhead kick from Cathcart? Doesn’t really matter does it? Can you imagine Bucko, Keogh, Whitbread or Shotton doing that? Nope. That goal steadied the nerves somewhat & meant that Brum’s game plan was shot, basically.
Game management – I didn’t really think it was THAT necessary but the way Watford saw this game out was pretty impressive. They didn’t pile forward with gay abandon & spent the last 5 minutes near the corner flag in front of me & The Witch, forcing Brum to concede throw ins & corners & basically wasting time. It worked.
Top, top, top – the roar that greeted the final whistle felt pretty good. Bournemouth looked like they’d won, so that meant Watford had moved up to 2nd. Not bad at all. As we walked down Vicarage Road my mind was, quite rightly, on whether or not the Wetherspoons had a decent stout or porter on tap. But then we all realised the Bournemouth game hadn’t finished & Sheffield Wednesday (bless ’em) had equalised in the last minute of injury time. Splendid. The atmosphere walking back into town was exultant. Watford were top. Bloody hell.
And that pint of Station Porter was great, by the way. Rounded the day off quite nicely, actually.