Football: Confident Watford take a grip on proceedings

Watford 2 Wycombe Wanderers 1

Watford's chairman, Elton John, made his first appearance of the season at Vicarage Road yesterday and was greeted with warm applause. The performance of his beloved Hornets will have lifted his spirits, if only for a moment.

For a game between the first and third-placed teams in the Second Division, this was a surprisingly one-sided contest. The leaders Watford took an early hold of the game that they never looked like giving up.

The home side's confident start brought an almost immediate reward. On six minutes the enterprising Peter Kennedy crossed from the left towards Ronny Rosenthal, who made partial contact with his left foot, and Micah Hyde was on hand to side-foot the ball past goalkeeper Martin Taylor. The home side were desperately unfortunate not to extend their lead on 31 minutes, when a strong run by Kennedy created a chance for Hyde to again display his goal-scoring instincts. His shot beat Taylor but cannoned off the bar.

The woodwork came to Wycombe's aid again five minutes later. This time the unlucky player was Jason Lee, his effort hitting the underside of the bar and bouncing down on the line.

Only remarkable defending from Steve Brown prevented Gifton Noel-Williams from extending Watford's lead early in the second half. Noel-Williams, put through by Rosenthal, shot directly at Taylor but looked to have scored with the rebound, only for Brown to athletically head the shot on to the crossbar.

Watford's football richly deserved a goal and when it finally came, in the 61st minute, it was a beauty. Rosenthal carefully laid the ball back to Lee on the edge of the area and the once maligned striker drove the ball left-footed into the top right-hand corner. Lee may well have cut a comic figure in the Premiership but at this level he is a very serious proposition.

A 2-0 lead nearly became 3-0 when the defender Tommy Mooney headed a Kennedy corner on to the bar, and Watford appeared to be coasting towards a comfortable three points.

However, a goal conjured out of nothing brought the visitors right back into the contest. On 69 minutes superb work by Mark Stallard gave Paul Read an unmissable opportunity to score in front of the Wycombe fans, and the game became a contest for the first time.

Read then struck the goal's frame on 82 minutes, but with that went Wycombe's hopes of an improbable comeback.

Goals: Hyde (6) 1-0; Lee (61) 2-0; Read (69) 2-1.

Watford (3-4-3): Chamberlain; Melvang (Gibbs, 58), Kennedy, Page; Palmer, Mooney, Noel-Williams, Hyde; Lee, Johnson, Rosenthal (Easton, 85). Substitute not used: Andrews.

Wycombe Wanderers (5-3-2): Taylor; Cavanagh, Beeton, Mohan, McCarthy, Forsyth (Simpson, 3); Cornforth, Read, Stallard; McGavin, Brown (Harkin, 78). Substitutes not used: Carroll.

Referee: P Rejer (Tipton). Booking: Wycombe: Cornforth.

Man of the match: Kennedy. Attendance: 12,100.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Account Payable Assistant - SW London

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Account Payable Assistant - SW Londo...

Recruitment Genius: Bathroom Showroom Customer Service / Sales Assistant

£14560 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Even though their premises have...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Manager

£44000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Marketing company based in cent...

Recruitment Genius: IT Installation / Commissioning Engineer - North West

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Installation / Commission...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence