From our pre-match get together reminiscing good times through to the impeccably observed one minute applause on 55 minutes from all sides of the ground, both home & away, through to the inclusion as part of the MOTD highlights, all very moving.
The game itself proved a frustrating affair for the Cherries as the first half domination was undone by Artur’s error on the cusp of half time that was then followed by Glenn Murray’s penalty miss in the second half that would have delivered maximum points, which the performance on balance ultimately deserved.
Initial exchanges were in the Cherries favour with Watford offering little in attacking threat. Matt Ritchie was busy from the start linking well as always with Francis. A surprise inclusion from the start, Joshua King playing in the pocket behind Murray, created the game’s first excitement when he spirited away from his markers down the right only to see his whipped in cross collected easily by Gomes. Soon after Ritchie teed up Murray at the far post but could only watch in vain as his header landed on the roof of the net. Ritchie forced Gomes to make a save from his free kick not long after whilst King had an effort charged down by Cathcart.
The momentum was all Bournemouth albeit Distin was called upon to put a block on one of Watford’s forays up field from Capoue. Pugh created another opportunity for the reds but his shot appeared to be drifting wide as Gomes gathered. Then on the half hour marl another Frnacis/Ritchie link-up resulted in a Ritchie cross again to Murray at the far post whose header this time was effortlessly guided into the Watford goal. One nil the Cherries.
The remainder of the half drifted with Bournemouth seemingly comfortable. Watford hadn’t pressed home any advantage and we were readying for our half time cup-o-teas when Artur got himself wrong-footed and tried to return a back pass from whence it came but failing to spot Watford’s Ighalo loitering. The pass was straight to Ighalo who allowed Artur to commit himself first as he tried to recover his lapse and then coolly slotted home into an open net completely against the run of play. One all for half time and plenty to grumble about all of a sudden!
Into the second half and Watford built on this good fortune and showed much more intent in the Cherries half. Francis provided another sumptuous cross for Murray only to tamely head straight at Gomes. Watford responded by winning a corner through some hard work from Ighalo. Surman’s clearance looped away to the top of the box and a rasping half volley shot from Ben Watson thundered off the cross bar.
During the 55th minute applause for Mike the game ebbed and flow with openings at either end. Boruc was forced into making a good save with his legs from Anya who had latched onto a defence splitting pass. Murray had another chance denied by Gomes whilst Ighalo went to ground looking for a penalty with Distin and Gosling in close attendance, but nothing from the referee.
Smith and Francis were inter linking well and provided another chance for Murray. This was followed by a lovely overhead kick from Cook on the outside of the box that had Gomes at full stretch to turn aside the effort.
Capoue then seemingly brought Murray down but nothing given, only to moments later up-end Smith for a penalty to be given. With no apparent regular taker on the pitch Glenn collected up the ball and took responsibility. Alas his effort was comfortable for Gomes who punched away the effort.
Substitutions were strange from Eddie today in my opinion with an early call bringing on Smith & O’Kane for Pugh & King that suggested settling for the point as opposed to bringing on say Tomlin for King.
Sylvain Distin, he just appeared effortless in everything he did, never appearing under pressure or stretched by what Watford offered. He is an excellent addition to the squad.
AFCB: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Distin, Daniels, Ritchie, Surman, Gosling, Pugh, King, Murray
Subs: Federici, Cargill, Bennett, Tomlin, Smith (for Pugh, 57 mins), O'Kane (for King, 70 mins)
Nick Wallinger, Isle of Man