Football: Beech ruffles Taylor's cool

Watford 1 Huddersfield Town 1
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WHEN Graham Taylor withdrew from the front line in November with a serious throat and chest complaint, he missed eight games before returning to the dug-out to rally his First Division play-off contenders. Last night, less than a week after having his tonsils extracted, the Watford manager felt obliged to dash from the stands to the touchline to urge his team to greater efforts.

It worked, to a degree, though Chris Beech, an FA Cup goalscorer against Derby County last Saturday, equalised within a minute of Tommy Mooney heading the home side ahead. Watford remain sixth, but Huddersfield were glad of their first away point since Christmas.

Taylor managed to stay up in the stands for only 41 minutes before his patience snapped and he reverted to the pitch side.

Perhaps his charges were rusty after their 10-day break, but the record of Huddersfield, Cup men of the moment but with an appalling away record, suggested they should have been there for the taking.

With Wayne Allison still out on compassionate leave, following the death of his father, 20-goal Marcus Stewart was left to forage on his own up front and chances for the team which twice breached the Premiership defences of Derby County last Saturday were rare in the extreme early on.

Watford, themselves, have only won once this year - albeit a mighty scalp in Sunderland - and were in need of inspiration. Tony Daley, who has earned a short-term contract with his former Aston Villa, England and Wolves manager, cut inside on the half hour to fire dramatically over the crossbar while seven minutes later Micah Hyde really should have put the home side ahead.

Grant Johnson's sloppy back pass from the centre circle was intercepted by Peter Kennedy who, after exchanging a purposeful one-two with Tommy Mooney, crossed intelligently to the near post. There Nick Wright collected the ball well and teed up the shooting chance for Hyde, but from 10 yards out the midfielder bundled his shot wide.

After 70 painful minutes with barely a sniff of a goal, Vicarage Road was then treated to two within 60 seconds. Huddersfield became officially the leakiest League travellers at this level when Richard Johnson's free- kick from just outside the centre circle was headed home by Mooney, the versatile forward claiming his first conversion of the season.

But, almost straight from the kick-off, Huddersfield retaliated with a 72nd-minute equaliser as Beech headed in Simon Baldry's centre from the right wing.

Watford: (4-4-2) Chamberlain; Bazeley, Page, Palmer, Iroha (Smith, 86); Daley (Ngonge, h-t), Hyde, Johnson, Kennedy; Wright, Mooney. Substitutes not used: Easton.

Huddersfield Town: (4-5-1) Vaesen; Phillips, Dyson, Gray, Edwards; Baldry, Beech, Hamilton, Johnson, Thornley (Facey 73); Stewart. Substitutes not used: Barnes, Edmondson.

Referee: L Cable (Woking).