MOTM Nicky Shorey
26/12/09 15:00 Category: Championship
We managed to preserve our unbeaten record but only just as Watford provided one of our tougher challenges this season. On a difficult surface, we played some decent football in the first half in contrast to the direct approach of the hosts. However, lacking a clinical strike force, we didn’t make the most of our possession. After the break they improved, caused us a lot more problems and we escaped with a point.
With one eye on the Coventry home game, Majewski, Tyson, Earnshaw and Blackstock were all on the bench. As a general rule, draw the aways, win the homes and we won’t be too far away from the top six. It would have been nice to have challenged their defence a bit more, but this approach has served us well so far this season so no real complaints.
Blackstock’s looping header required a finger tip save whilst McGugan and Shorey saw curling efforts narrowly wide. Anderson hit another effort straight at the keeper.
At the other end, we needed three goal line clearances, including one dubious one via Shorey’s arm/chest to keep us level. Another effort curled narrowly wide whilst another bounced off the post to safety.
Camp had one of his busiest afternoons this season with Watford’s direct style of play and had to produce a number of smart interventions to keep us in the game. On the few occasions he was beaten, there was always a defender on the line providing that all important clearance. Gunter, Wilson and finally Shorey all made critical interceptions to keep us level.
With Watford resorting to launching balls from deep areas, Gunter and MOTM Shorey were able to contribute plenty going forward. Shorey, in particular, was responsible for many of our attacks with a series of accurate balls to feet and was never afraid to follow that up with another positive run forward. To round off an impressive performance, he very nearly scored with a long range curling effort narrowly wide and then kept us level via chest/arm in injury time with a goal line clearance.
He’s made such a big difference since his arrival and either his or another left back’s signing will be key during January. He’s probably too good for this division but the benefits of having a genuine left back have been obvious. Having to revert to Cohen or Lynch there again would be a disappointing step backwards.
Wilson and Chambers looked comfortable in the first half as we enjoyed the majority of possession and passed the ball around patiently. Not quite as dominant after the break but neither let the side down as they favoured the aerial approach.
Cohen couldn’t be faulted for effort but struggled to find much quality on the tricky surface. Too often, a simple pass failed to find the target or he just didn’t anticipate the ball coming his way. On the other side, Anderson was pretty ineffective on the bobbling pitch and could only hit a tame shot straight at their keeper from one nice passing move.
McGugan deserved his chance and contributed in parts but we struggled to get the ball to him often enough. He caused them plenty of problems with neat footwork around the area and was only just off target with one curling effort. McKenna did what was required, as always. He was loving every minute of the midfield scrap, organising, arguing our case with the officials, all good stuff.
McGoldrick should really have been replaced earlier in the game as the partnership with Adebola wasn’t really working. Too often he didn’t get close enough to take advantage of Adebola’s strength to hold the ball up. It was another slightly disappointing performance in terms of work rate especially considering the energy expended by his strike partner. He only really started playing in the latter stages when moved back into midfield and then onto the left hand side.
Adebola did his bit for the team, hassling the Watford defence and competing for everything that came his way. We just didn’t make the most of his efforts.
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