Scott Fitzgerald was the happiest man in Watford on Sunday, May 4, after scoring his first goal in professional football to wrap up a slightly surprising 2-0 victory over play-off bound Sheffield United and ensure the Hornets’ season ended on a high at Vicarage Road.
The former Northwood striker could easily have finished with a hat-trick as a relatively inexperienced Watford side proved too good on the day for the Blades after a poor first-half.
Skipper Neil Cox set the ball rolling with possibly his last goal in Hornets colours, and there were emotional scenes at the end when Allan Nielsen left the pitch to a standing ovation after making his final appearance.
As expected, Ray Lewington opted to give youth a chance for the Hornets’ final fixture, making a total of eight changes from the 3-0 defeat against Reading. Fitzgerald was given his full debut, Anthony McNamee finally got his first start of the season, while Richard Lee, Lloyd Doyley and Jamie Hand were also in the starting XI.
The other changes saw Cox and Wayne Brown return to the defence, and Richard Johnson drafted into midfield.
With a home advantage in the second leg of the Play-Offs guaranteed, Neil Warnock opted to rest keeper Paddy Kenny, defender Phil Jagielka and star midfielders Michael Brown and Michael Tonge.
[From the Watford Observer of May 4, 2003]
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