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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Watford Beat QPR

Three first half goals gave Watford a 3-0 win. Fitz Hall was sent off for QPR. QPR drop to 12th

QPR Official Site: Watfor 3 QPR 0

QPR began their London derby trilogy with a disappointing 3-0 defeat at the hands of a resurgent Watford side.

In a match in which Rangers never got going, goals from Tommy Smith, Darren Ward and Lee Williamson meant the R's went home pointless.

The home side created the lion's share of the chances, with only Hogan Ephraim testing Watford keeper Scott Loach with two efforts comfortably saved by the lanky custodian.

To make matters worse, Fitz Hall was shown a straight red for a foul on Will Hoskins, meaning the visitors ended the match with ten man.

Gareth Ainsworth took charge of the R's at Vicarage Road, as Paulo Sousa looked on from the stands at Vicarage Road.

Having overseen just a couple of training sessions since his appointment on Wednesday lunchtime, the former Portugal number two opted to leave the managerial duties to the R's Player / Coach.

With injury ruling out skipper Martin Rowlands, former Hornet Lee Cook and defender Matthew Connolly, Ainsworth was forced to shuffle his pack for the short trip to Hertfordshire. Radek Cerny started in goal, while Republic of Ireland defender Damien Delaney came in at left back, in a back four which also included Peter Ramage, Hall and Damion Stewart.

The midfield quartet consisted of Emmanuel Ledesma, skipper Gavin Mahon, Mikele Leigertwood and Ephraim, while Patrick Agyemang partnered Dexter Blackstock in attack.

A blistering cold wind swirled around Vicarage Road as Jobi McAnuff had the match's opening attempt on goal. A well rehearsed corner routine involving Tommy Smith allowed the ex-Crystal Palace winger a half chance as he volleyed inches over.

The same two conspired again to tee up Jon Harley but the left winger could only head down into Cerny's arms.

McAnuff had started the match in determined fashion and he fed Williamson after a mazy run. Williamson, who has enjoyed a mini-goal spree in recent weeks, only succeeded in dragging his edge-of-the-box shot wide.

Rangers had found the going tough so far but Agyemang wriggled free down the right and powered in a cross that bounced around the box before striking Blackstock and going wide.

Watford were firmly in the driver's seat and Williamson was found in the box but his left-foot shot was well smothered by Cerny.

However it was Rangers to threaten seconds later as Ephraim tried the spectacular with a stinging 25-yard volley on the turn, after Leigertwood had found him with a lofted pass.

Watford made their pressure tell on 26 minutes as Leigertwood was penalised for a push on Smith in the area. The Watford striker took the resultant spot-kick himself, sending Cerny the wrong way.

Buoyed by the goal, another well-worked corner saw Williamson deliver a fine cross for Ward to head tamely at Cerny.

Ward made no mistake however, from his next chance. When Williamson's free-kick was brilliantly saved by Cerny, the ball was played back into a packed box and the on-loan defender smashed home to hand his side a two-goal lead.

Watford were reminded that the R's still posed a threat seconds later when Blackstock missed a glaring opportunity. Ephraim's decent free-kick sailed over everyone and found the striker lurking at the back post. But, caught between two minds, the R's top scorer could only weakly tap wide from five yards out.

Ephraim sent another set-piece curling over for ex-hornet Mahon to get up well and attack but the midfielder could only nod it wide.

Watford were flying, however, and Williamson added a third on the stroke of halftime. Smith robbed the usually reliable Leigertwood in the left back area and pulled the ball back for the ex-Rotherham man to fire a shot under Cerny.

With that, a shell-shocked Rangers retreated to the changing room for halftime.

The second half opened with the impressive Rangers following in full voice, urging a better performance from their team.

They didn't get it, as Watford picked up where they left off. Williamson's inswinging free-kick was punched clear by Cerny only for the ball to be hooked back goalward. Delaney tried to flick the ball over the bar but his header, however, required a full stretch save from Cerny to keep out.

Wave after wave of Watford pressure was beginning to tell. Tamas Priskin was the latest player to have a crack at extending the score. Lloyd Doyley's long pass forward was chested into the Hungarian's path by Smith, and he lashed a fine swerving effort that whistled over Cerny's crossbar.

Ainsworth had, by this time, introduced Damiano Tommasi, Samuel Di Carmine and Daniel Parejo by this time, but none of the three could swing the tide back in the R's favour.

In a rare foray forward, Ephraim shot straight at home keeper Loach. It was only the R's second shot on target.

To add insult to injury, the R's were reduced to ten man six minutes before full time, as Hall's high tackle on Watford substitute Will Hoskins saw him receive a straight red card.

The Hornets ran out the remaining minutes and recorded a result few would've expected but one that condemns the R's to two straight defeats.

Watford: Loach, DeMerit, Priskin, McAnuff (Hoskins 82), Doyley, Williamson (O'Toole 84), Harley, Smith, Mariappa, Ward, Jenkins.

Subs: Lee, Bromby, Robinson, O'Toole.

Scorers: Smith (pen 26), Ward (34), Willaimson (45)

Bookings: Harley (36)

Red Cards:

QPR: Cerny, Delaney, Stewart, Mahon (Tommasi 46), Hall, Leigertwood, Blackstock (Di Carmine 63), Agyemang, Ramage, Ledesma (Parejo 53), Ephraim.

Subs: Cole, Gorkss.


Bookings: Mahon (33), Ledesma (51), Stewart (56)

Red Cards: Hall (81)

Referee: Mr A M Penn

Attendance: 16,201 (2,314) QPR

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