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
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.