Watford 1, Charlton Athletic 1: Boothroyd's thoughts turn from bleak home to abroad
Monday 21 January 2008
As rain sheeted down on humdrum fare in Hertfordshire, Danny Shittu seemed the lucky one. The Watford defender was already in Ghana, with Nigeria for the Nations Cup. Shittu's replacement, Calum Davenport – on loan from West Ham – was carried off on a stretcher. It was his first game this season.
Davenport was back after a hernia operation. He was doing well until the 42nd minute, when he collided with his team-mate Darius Henderson in the Charlton box. In the ensuing pile-up, Charlton's Madjid Bougherra trod on Davenport's chest.
Davenport left for hospital, having felt a crack in his neck. His bad luck reflects Watford's blighted home form. They have not won at Vicarage Road in the Championship since October. Watford looked somewhat goal-shy. Then, in the 59th minute, Nathan Ellington slotted home from 12 yards – his first goal in 19 Watford appearances.
The goal had come in the face of increasing Charlton fluidity. Matt Holland and Zheng Zhi were sharp in the centre of midfield while Chris Iwelumo was hard to handle up front. The defender Jay DeMerit was Watford's best player, rivalled by the winger Tommy Smith.
Ambrose attoned for his misses in the 78th minute, scoring from outside the area with his sixth attempt. But the goal was down to Watford goalkeeper Richard Lee. Diving too early, he directed the shot into his own net.
"I'd take a draw here any day," said Charlton's manager, Alan Pardew, while Watford's Aidy Boothroyd seemed equally happy with a point. As he left, Boothroyd's thoughts turned to Africa. "I'll be watching Nigeria on the telly," he said. "I want to see how [Shittu] does and I'll be looking for players for August."
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