Finally a good day for the Y’Army faithful as the ten-man Hornets are put in the sword in a clinical mannerSun 17 Aug 14 by Gary Gowers
Yesterday was a good day, and when was the last time we were able to say that?
Of course it came with a caveat that City played against ten men for 87 minutes, but there are plenty of occasions in the not too recent past when they’ve failed miserably to make a man advantage count.
That Watford were put to the sword in such clinical fashion is to be applauded (and was applauded…) and the ease with which they were swept aside displayed a hitherto unseen ruthless streak.
How many of us turned to our Carrow Road neighbours yesterday to question their ability to overcome ten men? I did.
And on the subject of confessions, in conversation with fellow MFW columnist Kevin Baldwin at half-time, we agreed that forty-five minutes was ample time for City to concede an equaliser, probably from the boot of Troy Deeney.
Fortunately we were were both gloriously wrong.
As ever, the trick when playing with an extra man is to shift the ball at pace and to make the pitch as big as possible. City did both well, and at the heart of it was the unlikely figure of Bradley Johnson.
In truth, the bearded one has been in my sights for some time with his wayward passing often a cause of extreme frustration, but afforded the extra half-second that the Championship offers and with Watford a man down he made superb use of that time.
His passing, both short and long, was bang on the money and to cap it with such a beautifully crafted opener was a perfect way to mark one of his best performances in the canary yellow. More of the same and everyone wins.
Lewis Grabban’s first goal in City colours – a deflected but exquisitely executed chip – was equally as welcome and it was interesting to hear afterwards the ex-Bournemouth man remark that Heurelho Gomes’ penchant for straying off his line had been noted pre-match. With Johnson’s goal being of a similar ilk Team Adams can claim a couple of assists.
The third goal – an Alex Tettey howitzer – was less subtle in its execution but just as glorious. The Norwegian had a good one yesterday and looked like someone comfortable and happy in his surroundings. Which is just as well.
With Leroy Fer seemingly, and finally, bound for Shepherd’s Bush the need for a settled and ‘firing on all cylinders’ Tettey increases. He looked the part again and, as some have remarked, potentially looks more suited to the challenge of the Championship than Fer.
In reality, the second the Dutchman’s header hit the net in Brazil he was off. And therefore it’s better for everyone, if it is to be the case, that it’s concluded sooner rather than later. The last thing Adams wants is £8million burning a hole in his pocket on September 1 with no chance of spending it.
With Gary O’Neil doing the very thing we all expected – calm, collected, neat and tidy in possession – and Jonny Howson yet to enter the fray we are reasonably well equipped in the central area, even minus the power and athleticism of Fer.
But while I’m sure we’ll all wish him well on his journey west, I can’t help but wonder if his agent couldn’t have set his sights a little higher than QPR. Or, maybe it’s just my less that wholesome view of the individuals at the helm of said outfit.
Either way, I’m sure he’ll be a success and hopefully Arry and co will be nothing more than a stepping stone for him on his way to the next level.
Among several other good performances yesterday – including the return of Wes’ dancing feet – the standout one came from Kyle Lafferty. While his starting position on the left caught most of us by surprise, in fairness to Adams it worked.
It seems, despite his height, his strength is on the floor and he showed fleet of foot aplenty throughout. Couple that decent technique with a desire and willingness to work his socks off and it all added up to an impressive home debut for the Irishman.
Something tells me he’s going to revel in the white hot atmosphere of Portman Road next Saturday lunchtime and will add some ‘Grant Holt’ to the occasion. I think they’re going to hate him – and I can’t wait.
But before all roads leads to Ipswich we have the small matter of Blackburn at home on Tuesday night. And I’m expecting a more raucous atmosphere.
Whether it’s the remnants of the relegation hangover or if it was Watford being reduced to ten so early on, but Carrow Road was hardly jumping yesterday – even in the face of a 3-0 win and new goal music that presumably attempted to turn the old place into Ally Pally (Note: It didn’t).
Perhaps Tuesday night under the floodlights will be different.
But, either way, we’re finally up and running and so is the Adams era. Although I doubt he’d admit, that first win for the new City boss must have been a huge relief.
And hopefully it’ll be the first of many.
Thanks again for those who offered MFW their starting XI for the Watford game. In the virtual world of the Football Manager Parallel Championship City were also victorious – winning 4-0.
The team – based on the consensus of MFW readers – was as follows:
—————————————— Ruddy ———————————-
Martin—————-Turner————— R Bennett ————-Garrido
————————- Tettey ———– Johnson —————————-
——————– Grabban ———- Wes ———- Surman —————