Hyde punishes divided Forest

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The Independent Football

Watford's unbeaten run stretches on and this win enabled them to close the gap on Fulham. The victory was impressively gained, even though it came against a Forest side too easily panicked and prone to argument among themselves when things went wrong, as they did throughout this match. Micah Hyde was the player who made the difference and before half an hour had passed he had settled the destination of the points with a brace of goals.

Watford's unbeaten run stretches on and this win enabled them to close the gap on Fulham. The victory was impressively gained, even though it came against a Forest side too easily panicked and prone to argument among themselves when things went wrong, as they did throughout this match. Micah Hyde was the player who made the difference and before half an hour had passed he had settled the destination of the points with a brace of goals.

Consistent gatherers of points on their travels, Forest continued to frustrate their easily-disgruntled followers by playing indifferently at home. They opened smartly enough, with Robbie Blake's effort being repelled by Alec Chamberlain's legs. But Watford's well-drilled and uncompromising defenders allowed little leeway after that and they soon took control and led after only nine minutes.

Tommy Smith, popping up on both flanks, sped after a long ball down the left, got to the byline and crossed low. Riccardo Scimeca's attempt to cut it off was foiled by Gifton Noel-Williams's push in the back, which escaped the referee's notice, and Micah Hyde moved in to bury the ball in the bottom right-hand corner of Dave Beasant's net.

Watford then went two ahead after 27 minutes on a piece of crass play by Forest. Beasant rolled the ball out to Scimeca who passed it straight to Allan Nielsen. The ball was promptly returned to Hyde, who scored easily into the same corner of Beasant's goal.

Only a last-ditch tackle by Doig's replacement, Mathieu Louis-Jean, and two fine Beasant saves prevented Forest sliding right out of contention before the first half was over.

The Forest debut of the on-loan American Olympics midfielder, Ben Olsen, did not last beyond half-time, with David Prutton replacing him. But there was no improvement in Forest's performance. Another Scimeca error, donating the ball to Smith, nearly brought a third Watford goal.

By the time an hour had been played Forest manager David Platt made his third and final substitution (Marlon Harewood for Lester) but the timing was unfortunate. At once Christian Edwards suffered a head cut and was off the field for five minutes receiving attention, leaving his team down to 10 men.

Chamberlain pulled off his only real save of the second half when Forest gained a free kick, diving to his right to turn away Keith Foy's drive. Harewood almost reached a poor Robert Page back-pass but Watford held control comfortably. It was a measure of Forest's growing desperation that all three bookings went against them.

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