So another interesting day of growing pains in the OS yesterday tapped off with a poor performance.
Payet was back, and Antonio was placed back in his rightful position in midfield. Zaza started up top, and with the exception of Byram being played in front of Arbeloa we probably had our strongest team in my opinion. That opinion has now changed, but lets get onto that later.
Yet another freezing cold evening took mrben09 to the fortress of Upton Park, for a semi local derby with Watford. A team that used to have such luminaries as John Barnes, Luther Blissett, and Elton John, are now a confirmed championship side, but should of provided no competition to a Hammers team that so convincingly beat Cardiff the previous Sunday.
Collinson and Vaz Te were dropped from the starting line up for Matt Taylor and Julien Faubert, a move that i saw as positive and that nearly reaped rewards, as MT hit the bar after about 50 seconds from a 35 yrd shot. I’m afraid after that we huffed and puffed, and apart from a sitter missed (a recuring theme this season, Sam, get these guys practicing ) from Faubert following a MT cross, we stumbled towards half time. The front line appeared to be not engaging with the rest of the team, apart from flashes of co-ordination from CC.
The second half proved a different proposition with WHU pummelling the Watford penalty box but with no end result. I say penalty box, as shots were thin on the ground. With about 20 to go, i pointed out to Angry John, that Watford seemed to be getting on top. At that very minute, Watford scored a goal out of nothing, with a long range grasscutter, hitting the inside of the post and its one nil Watford.
Then it became charge of the light brigade stuff, with long balls to CC, and follow ons. To be fair CC played really well for all of the second half, winning about 80% of balls in the air, and laying off well. With about 8 to go of nomal time, Vaz Te managed to get on the end of a cleared corner to shoot through several players and equalise. Good news, but still we ploughed on. Due to a serious injury to a Watford player early in the secong half, there was 12 mins of extra time. More bluster from WHU, but no goals.
So in short, a disappointment for WHU fans, but a point at at the end of the day, that we needed to dig out. This is good practice for next year (assuming promotion). MOTM James Tomkins, who pretty much collected everything aimed near him all night, and made some crucial interceptions, and appears to be learning well from Faye.