Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Watford beat Bristol Rovers on penalties to progress in Under-21 Premier League Cup
10:07pm Thursday 3rd October 2013 in Sport
Watford progressed to the second qualifying round of the Under-21 Premier League Cup after beating Bristol Rovers 4-3 on penalties.
It was a game with very few chances which seemed to have been decided by Alex Jakubiak’s goal midway through the first half.
However, in the final minute of normal time, Jamie Lucas bundled in from close range to send the game into extra-time.
Little of note happened in the extra half an hour and after a succession of missed spot kicks, goalkeeper Gary Woods scored the deciding penalty with the help of the post.
Watford named five professionals in their starting XI. New signing Gary Woods was in goal, midfielder Luke O’Nien started in a back three led by former Manchester United defender Reece Brown and Bernard Mensah was part of a front three with Uche Ikpeazu at the top.
Bristol Rovers on the other hand had ten pros in their XI, with Trey Anderson the only scholar.
It was a first half which lacked action. Bristol Rovers’ Mitch Harding headed over early on, Eliot Richards had a shot saved and Matt Gill fired over from distance.
For Watford, George Byers had a shot saved before the home team opened the scoring half an hour into the contest when Jakubiak’s shot with the outside of his boot was too powerful for Conor Gough.
The first opportunity of the second period went Watford’s way as Mensah fired a half-volley goalwards from distance and Gough gathered at the second attempt.
Rovers’ Jordan Goodard went close with a 30-yard shot which went narrowly wide of the post but neither defence were troubled for the majority of the match.
Bristol Rovers had a decent spell with around 20 minutes remaining as substitute Shaquile Hunter had a shot blocked by Brown, with Alefe Santos’ follow-up easily saved, and then Hunter had another effort from outside the area held by Woods.
Ikpeazu showed great strength to create Watford’s best opportunity as he reached the byline and pulled the ball back to Bobson Bawling whose shot was a little too close to Gough.
The Hornets looked to have secured progression in normal time but Hunter’s deep cross was headed back across goal by Harding and Lucas bundled in from close range.
Bristol Rovers had the first couple of chances during the first half of extra time as Pat Keary headed over from a corner and then Richards clipped the crossbar with a shot from the corner of the area.
O’Nien was filling in at left-sided centre half but he is an attacking midfielder and showed his technical quality as he had a 30-yard strike tipped over by Gough. The first-year pro then headed on to the roof of the net moments later following a cross by Brown.
Watford could have snatched victory five minutes before the end of extra-time when Ryan Hope’s corner reached the six-yard box without being cleared and Jakubiak’s header was blocked close to the line and scrambled out for another set piece. Substitute Il Myeong Choi then headed the resulting delivery over the bar.
The midfielder had another chance late on as he beat two defenders before having a low shot saved. And in injury-time, Dennon Lewis had a goal-bound volley blocked for Watford.
So the game went to penalties.
Woods saved the first effort from Harding but then O’Nien fired over the bar for Watford.
Lucas and Myeong Choi converted to make it 1-1 and after Jordan Goodard scored, Brown shot wide to give the visitors the advantage.
Hunter, Jakubiak and Gill all missed which meant Hope had to score to keep his team in the competition, which he did.
Barnum-Bobb had the chance to win it when Greenslade hit his effort over the bar but the Watford defender’s shot was saved.
Southway and Doherty converted to make it 3-3 which meant that when Keary missed , Woods was able to step up and send Watford through as his penalty rebounded off the post into the far corner.
Woods; Young, Brown, O’Nien; Barnum-Bobb, Hope, Byers (Myeong Choi 77), Doherty; Jakubiak, Ikpeazu (Lewis 86), Mensah (Bawling 70).
Subs: Wilks, Kyprianou.
Bristol: Gough; Southway, Keary, Anderson, Green (Greenslade 78); Gill, Clarke (Hunter 53), Goddard; Harding, Richards, Santos (Lucas 87).
Subs: Thomas, Preston.
Referee: Russell Howes.
Comments are closed on this article.