Watford into third thanks to loan star King

Cardiff City 1 Watford 3
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The Independent Football

Watford's front pairing of Marlon King and Darius Henderson ran amok and scored the goals which gave the visitors a maximum return. King scored in each half with Henderson netting the other, while all Cardiff had to show in front of one of their lowest crowds for several seasons was a late strike by Cameron Jerome.

Jones had made one change from the side which beat Leeds in midweek, with Phil Mulryne in for Willie Boland, but he was at a loss to explain why it was such a poor performance from the Bluebirds.

"The better team on the night got the result and nothing went right for us. But sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say the best team won," said Jones.

"We didn't get going from the start and never got into the game throughout the 90 minutes.

"It is one extreme to another, as no-one played well and that is frustrating so soon after the Leeds game.

"I have never seen so much go wrong in a match as it did for us tonight.

"Credit to Watford. They played well and deserved to win and I will look at the video and see why we were so poor.

"We will feel sorry for ourselves for a few days but we will be back in next week to start again and I will be looking for a positive response from my players as I want to see how determined they are.

"I could come up with a million excuses but at the end of the day we have been well beaten."

Cardiff were up against it from the seventh minute when King wrong-footed City skipper Darren Purse before firing across Neil Alexander into the corner of the goal.

They could have doubled their lead midway through the half when Dominic Blizzard brushed aside a challenge from Mulryne before crossing to the waiting Henderson.

The former Gillingham striker's first-time shot was parried away by Alexander and Jermaine Darlington hacked the loose ball off the line.

Cardiff began the second half with a little more purpose and they mounted a couple of attacks but it was Watford who had the first goal attempt in the 51st minute when Henderson headed tamely at Alexander.

He made no mistake one minute later however when rising above Purse to head a Paul Devlin cross in off the City skipper to increase the advantage.

Jason Koumas and Alan Lee came off the bench but the changes made little difference to the Hornets who put the game out of Cardiff's reach with a second strike from King in the 66th minute.

Gavin Mahon strike was deflected into the path of the waiting King who rifled it into the net.

With 10 minutes remaining Jerome chased a long ball down the middle, rounded Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster and stroked the ball into the empty net for a small consolation.

Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd was delighted with his side's performance.

"We started brightly and scored at the right times," said Boothroyd.

"I'm very happy with my front players and feel that we don't rely on just one man as we did last season but all of my players did well tonight.

"Cardiff will be a good side this season but that makes tonight's performance all the better for us.

"I have some hungry players at this club and it looks good for the future as there are definitely goals in my side."