There is nothing Aidy Boothroyd likes more than a little bit of adversity. Twice in four days his Watford team have overcome testing circumstances to emerge with wins. This victory, only their second at home in the League since October, also maintained their position at the top of the table.
It was not pretty – it never is with the Hornets – although there were mitigating circumstances here, as the hosts were down to 10 men shortly before half-time. Last Saturday they went to Ipswich, who had not lost at Portman Road all season, and won, and this was savoured just as much.
A tedious game suddenly came to life as Watford were exposed to a counter-attack when Stephen Clemence broke through the middle. The former Birmingham player has never been known for his pace but it kept him far enough in front of John-Joe O'Toole, who was chasing back, five minutes before the interval.
Clemence slowed up when he felt a shirt tug, although the referee Andy Penn saw no infringement. However, on seeing an assistant's flag raised, there was a consultation between the officials which resulted in O'Toole being sent off, as he was the last man with Clemence 20 yards out.
Curiously, the referee had been far closer to the incident but chose to ignore it, while his assistant was on the far side of the pitch. Boothroyd will appeal if he sees on the video there was a covering defender.
However the Hornets' riposte was swift. From a free-kick, Ben Alnwick got a feeble punch on the ball which went to Leigh Bromby and his pass was converted by Darius Henderson on the stroke of half-time. It was the striker's 11th goal of the season and Boothroyd said of him: "He's been a big player for us. He does ugly things for us that help us to win."
Boothroyd's side rarely looked flustered after that. The Foxes have lost three consecutive games and did not force a save from Richard Lee.
Watford (4-4-2): Lee; Mariappa, Bromby, Shittu, Sadler; Ainsworth (Bangura, h-t), O'Toole, Eustace, McAnuff (Kabba, 90); Henderson, Ellington (Stewart, 61). Substitutes not used: Doyley, Williamson.
Leicester City (4-4-2): Alnwick; Stearman, Kisnorbo, McAuley (Hayles, 81), Chambers (Laczko, h-t); Bori (Hume, 67), Oakley, Clemence, Clapham; Campbell, Howard. Substitutes not used: Wesolowski, N'Gotty.
Referee: A Penn (W Midlands).Reuse content