Watford 1 Wigan Athletic 1: 'Monsoon' waters wash out Watford and Wigan's best efforts

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The Independent Online

Maybe Watford's honorary life president Elton John predicted it with his 2006 track "Just Like Noah's Ark". On Saturday, sustained heavy rain led to the match between Watford and Wigan Athletic being abandoned after 55 minutes, with the score at 1-1. As the Watford manager, Aidy Boothroyd, observed, a "monsoon of biblical proportions" meant the game had to be stopped.

The referee Steve Tanner initially called for a 10-minute halt while conditions were examined. Boothroyd and Wigan's manager, Paul Jewell, then took balls on to the pitch to demonstrate the waterlogged field's unplayability. Boothroyd blasted his ball into the goal from 25 yards.

"That's all the practice he had in Huddersfield reserves," said Jewell of his rival's impressive cameo.

The game's abandonment was frustrating for Watford's Hungarian striker Tamas Priskin, whose 44th-minute header was his first goal for the team. Emile Heskey had scored for Wigan after 23 minutes.

The match will be discounted and the fixture rescheduled. "The game had to end," Boothroyd said. "We have all the players off the pitch safe, no injuries and 40 minutes extra time to prepare for Fulham."

Watford play Fulham tonight, while Wigan face Blackburn. Wigan have already made two transfer-window acquisitions - the Norwegian international midfielder Kristofer Haestad from IK Start and Swedish central defender Andreas Granqvist from Helsingborgs, both on loan. This was on-loan Svetoslav Todorov's last for Wigan - he now returns to Portsmouth.

Boothroyd did not name any Watford targets, but he was encouraged by the way his young winger Anthony McNamee dealt with both the Wigan defence and the rain. "He needed a snorkel at times because he's so small, but he has talent."

Goals: Heskey (23) 0-1; Priskin (44) 1-1.

Watford (4-4-2): Foster; Mariappa, DeMerit, Shittu, Stewart; Smith, Mahon, Bangura, McNamee; Young, Priskin. Substitutes not used: Lee (gk), Francis, Henderson, Doyley, Jarrett.

Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Kirkland; Wright, Boyce, De Zeeuw, Baines; Cotterill, Skoko, Landzaat, Kilbane; Todorov, Heskey. Substitutes not used: Pollitt (gk), Jackson, Hall, Teale, Johansson.

Referee: S Tanner (Somerset).

Booked: Wigan Todorov.

Attendance: 18,146.

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