Lloyd Doyley was the unlikeliest of heroes as Watford leapfrogged Queen's Park Rangers into the Championship play-off places last night. Doyley, who joined the Hornets at the age of 11 and made his debut more than eight years ago, marked his 269th appearance with his first senior goal.
The full-back's team-mates joke he has never even scored in training, but he cancelled out Patrick Agyemang's opener for Rangers like an accomplished striker with a flying header.
Doyley, who turned 27 last week, was celebrating further when he helped fashion a goal for Don Cowie, before Tom Cleverley wrapped up proceedings in stoppage time.
"I always knew it was going to happen but it took a bit longer than I thought," Doyley admitted. "I've gone close over the last few games so I thought a goal was coming; it was a good moment and a great feeling."
Watford went behind in the 34th minute, against the run of play, when Alejandro Faurlin found Patrick Agyemang, who rifled a low shot past Scott Loach from the edge of the area.
Rangers were desperate for a pick-me-up after Saturday's demoralising 5-1 defeat by Middlesbrough, but their lead lasted just 10 minutes before Doyley leapt through the air to get on the end of Cowie's cross and bullet home a header to spark wild celebrations around the ground.
"I played with the guy and it was the closest I've ever seen him get to the penalty box," smiled the Hornets' manager Malky Mackay.
Doyle then created a first goal of the season for Cowie before Cleverley broke away to condemn Rangers to a third defeat in four games.
Watford (4-4-2): Loach; Hodson, Mariappa, Cathcart (DeMerit 46), Doyley; Cowie, Harley (Severin, 82), Eustace, Cleverley; Graham, Ellington (Henderson, 57). Substitutes not used: Lee (gk), Bennett, Sadler, Bryan.
QPR (4-4-2): Cerny; Ramage, Stewart, Hall, Borrowdale; Leigertwood (Buzsaky, 76), Routledge (Simpson 72), Watson, Faurlin; Vine (Taarabt, 59), Agyemang. Substitutes not used: Taylor (gk), Pellicori, Gorkss, Williams.
Referee: A Penn (W Midlands).