Watford 4 Coventry City 0: DeMerit earns top marks for Watford

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The Independent Online

Adrian Boothroyd's stock as a manager of Watford continues to rise, as much as he would love to deny it. His side waltzed past a helpless Coventry City yesterday and though Watford continue to hunt down stuttering Sheffield United for the second automatic promotion spot, the young manager is eager to ensure no complacency creeps within his ranks. Talk of promotion, he insisted, would remain premature until his side were mathematically assured of a return to the Premiership.

"We have a lot of games to go and we have to learn from this one and put it to bed," said Boothroyd, who has won rave reviews after transforming Watford into genuine promotion contenders since his appointment last year.

"I will not let anybody get excited. We have done OK up until now - we are getting better at a good time."

Alarmingly for the visitors, the home side had yet to drop a point in the League since the start of the year, and came into this match having scored 11 goals in their last three games.

Just as a sold-out Vicarage Road was growing restless Watford punctured Coventry's resistance. Matthew Spring found himself behind Coventry's defence, crossing well from the right wing to an unmarked Ashley Young who fired the home side into the lead on 32 minutes.

Watford started the second half brightly, with Young purposeful on the wing, and Marlon King, the Championship player of the month, a menace in and around the penalty area. The two combined on 59 minutes to put Watford further in front. A corner from Young found his team-mate, who stole past his marker to head the home side further ahead with his 16th League goal of the season.

On 77 minutes, Coventry were presented with an opportunity to force their way, albeit undeservedly, into the game through Kevin Thornton. The substitute striker broke the offside trap but Foster came out of his goal well to smother the danger.

With four minutes remaining another three points for Watford were secured when the striker Darius Henderson headed home Young's free-kick. To make sure, though, a fourth was added through the American defender Jay DeMerit on 86 minutes after the French forward Hameur Bouazza's shot was saved by Marton Fulop.