Hornets shine to beat Blues

The Vicarage Road revolution has centred around a handful of

loan signings from Serie A side Udinese, who are also owned by the

Hornets’ owners the Pozzo family, and two of those borrowed players

were on target inside the opening 20 minutes.

Almen Abdi stroked home the opening goal from the penalty spot

in the fourth minute after Matej Vydra had been shoved in the

goalmouth by Birmingham skipper Steven Caldwell.

Vydra added the second himself by springing the offside trap

before coolly slotting past Jack Butland.

Birmingham took too long to get going and rarely threatened

Manuel Almunia’s goal.

The defeat means new boss Lee Clark is without a league win

since he replaced Chris Hughton at the helm.

The hosts made the perfect start when their first attack

culminated in a penalty.

Highly-rated stopper Butland made a smart save to turn away

Daniel Pudil’s effort but, as the ball looped into the air, Vydra

was clearly shoved by Caldwell under the crossbar.

Referee Keith Stroud took his time to award the penalty, with

Caldwell subsequently fortunate not to be dismissed, and Abdi

squeezed the spot-kick past Butland’s dive into the left

corner.

The hosts poured on the pressure as ex-Birmingham defender

Martin Taylor beat Curtis Davies in the air only to nod straight at

Butland from inside the six-yard box before Abdi lashed wide.

It was all one-way traffic and came as no surprise when Vydra

added a second after 17 minutes.

The Czech Under-21 international darted along the line and beat

the offside trap to latch onto Mark Yeates’ fine through ball. He

then showed composure which belied his age; waiting for Butland to

make his move before lifting the ball into the net.

The busy Vydra showed he can provide a threat in the air too, as

he arched his back to nod just wide from Lloyd Doyley’s centre.

Birmingham’s defence kept playing with fire by persisting with a

high back-line, and they were indebted to Butland when he came out

to avert the danger with Chris Iwelumo bearing down.

The hosts continued to threaten in the second half with Abdi

directing a header just wide.

At the other end Nikola Zigic, who had been promoted to the

starting line-up by Clark, could only fire straight at Almunia.

Clark made a double change, introducing Peter Lovenkrands and

Morgaro Gomis – a move which galvanised his troops – but their best

chance fell to midfielder Hayden Mullins and he dallied long enough

to allow Watford to clear.

The Blues were finally growing into the game and Chris Burke

went close with an effort which went over the bar.

Ex-Watford striker Marlon King then headed a free-kick just wide

and Clark threw on Ravel Morrison, but the Hornets held on to make

it two wins from their first three league encounters.