Watford v Sheff Utd - farcical
I don't usually report on midweek Premiership matches as they are few and far between, but don't get me wrong when I say 'farcical'. I am referring to the single goal that was given. There was no need for replays for it was so blatant even Malcolm Christie would have condemned it. The match progressed well for the home side where Darius Henderson had a chance with a volley and Tommy Smith almost went close, and then Sheff Utd started to spring to life through newbie Christian Nade who had some chances to go through but fluffed them. Both he and Rob Hulse struck the bar but Sheff Utd had the second half in control and it was not surprising for Chris Powell to upend Keith Gillespie as the Irishman made his way past the left-back. Powell then looked with his usual smirk at the decision and the subsequent booking, as if Gillespie had feigned the contact. Replays showed it could have easily been a broken leg for Gillespie.
Thing is Nade was getting himself into superb spaces to collect the pass or make progress only to fluff it at the end. It was similar to his appearance at Upton Park on Saturday and he may have had Neil Warnock tearing his hair out on the touchline but at least he is working well to be where he should, only needing to sharpen up his control and focus. Yet with minutes remaining of normal time a cross from the Utd right was headed goalwards by Chris Morgan and keeper Richard Lee palmed the ball up off the underside of the crossbar. The ball bounced up and down along the goalline and Utd's Danny Webber was the first to react to head the ball in. Replays showed he was offside when Morgan headed but not interfering with play until he went to head himself, coming from the same offside position.
Warnock was delighted of course and this should balance his argument of having decisions going against Utd. From Aidy Boothroyd's view the indecision stunk and being so late in the game brought defeat to Vicarage Road all the more. I wouldn't say because Utd were better in the second half they deserve it, many teams have played the better and have lost. But Watford shouldnt have lost to an indecision like that. To compound the night for the hosts Powell was caught out again by either Alan Quinn or Hulse and pulled the player back to collect a second booking. Again Powell looked with a smirk as if it was another injustice but both bookings were right, the referee Martin Atkinson indicated that he had no other alternative in the circumstances, Powell was left to sheepishly face the embarassment of trudging towards and past the manager on the touchline.