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Football League

Watford vs Bolton Wanderers match report: Deadly Troy Deeney quick to enhance his reputation

Watford make solid start to the Championship season as Deeny reunites with former strike-partner Matej Vydra

Not much should be read into opening games of the season but, on this showing, the Hornets look to have far more about them than their opponents for the long campaign ahead, although  only one place separated them in May.

Watford’s immediate priority will surely be to hold on to Troy Deeney for whom a cluster of Premier League clubs are understood to have already shown considerable interest. Deeney, with 25 goals last season, carried on where he left off with the first of three.

He struck the side netting from a tight angle after just 15 seconds and proved a constant handful. His goal on 17 minutes was a case in point as he latched on to Gabriele Angella’s pass to finish adroitly.

It helps, of course, if you have a second proven goalscorer. Matej Vydra notched 24 here a couple of years ago in Watford’s play-off season before Udinese loaned him to West Bromwich. Now the Czech is back for a second spell and he showed wonderful composure as he turned his marker before shooting under Andy Lonergan’s body.

Heurelho Gomes, a £10million buy for Tottenham some six years ago, was a virtual bystander in Watford’s goal for the opening 45 minutes. The tall Brazilian made too many errors in the Premier League but he is a terrific investment for a Championship club and made three smart stops after the break, one of them world-class.

Bolton continued to show a lack of cohesion at the back. Almen Abdi almost got on the scoresheet on three occasions and Juan Carlos Paredes, who played for Ecuador at the  World Cup, rattled the crossbar before  the coup de grâce was supplied by substitute Fernando Forestieri with what was virtually his first touch.

“We think and hope Troy will stay with us for the whole season,” said Watford’s Italian coach Beppe Sannino . “Both the strikers are big players and we need them. As for Gomes, it’s just as important for me to have him. He’s a big man in every sense.”

“Two uncharacteristic lapses of concentration gave opportunities to two of the best strikers in the division,” was how the Bolton manager, Dougie Freedman, ever-so-briefly summed it up. Just about spot-on.


Watford (3-5-2): Gomes; Angella, Ekstrand, Tamas; Parades, Tozser, Abdi, McGugan (Munari, 69), Pudil (Dyer, 82); Vydra (Forestieri, 78), Deeney.

Bolton (4-2-3-1): Lonergan; McNaughton, Mills, Ream, Moxey; Spearing, Medo; Danns (Beckford, 67), Pratley (Feeney, 46), Lee; Davies.

Referee: Carl Boyeson.

Man of the match: Deeney (Watford).

Match rating: 7/10.