It was a lively start to this afternoon’s game between Watford and Huddersfield Town but it descended into a flat contest as the teams headed into half-time goalless.
It has been a special day for second-year scholar Alex Jakubiak who made his professional debut for Watford. Fellow scholar Josh Doherty is also on the bench. Both players have been handed professional contracts although the club are yet to announce the news.
And Jakubiak had a superb start to the match. He shot wide of the far post in the third minute and in the sixth forced Alex Smithies to save his stab at goal from ten yards, following Ikechi Anya’s through ball.
Watford started excellently, with Cristian Battocchio also almost released, but Huddersfield then enjoyed a spell of possession and a few openings. The best of which was Adam Clayton’s goal-bound shot blocked by Troy Deeney, who was presented with the Watford Observer Player of the Season trophy before kick-off.
The match became flat for around 20 minutes and neither side created a chance.
Watford had an excellent opportunity ten minutes before the interval when Battocchio was put through. The defender recovered enough to put off the Hornets midfielder and although he got a shot away, he had been pushed a little wide and Smithies was able to save. The ball went back to Battocchio but his pass to Jakubiak was blocked.
The Hornets reached a century of yellow cards for the 2013/14 campaign shortly before the break when Tommie Hoban upended Joe Lolley. The subsequent free-kick from Oliver Norwood was central and saved by Jonathan Bond.
In injury-time the Golden Boys had a handball penalty appeal turned down following a Daniel Tozser shot but the match had an end-of-season feel to it heading into half-time.
The Hornets were without nine players through injury and in Albert Riera’s case suspension. Almen Abdi (knee), Lewis McGugan (knee), Fernando Forestieri (toe) and Chu-Young Park (toe) were ruled out in the week and they were joined by Joel Ekstrand, Mathias Ranegie and Alexander Merkel, who all have knocks, and Gary Woods is ill.
Watford line-up: Bond; Angella, Cassetti, Hoban; Anya, Murray, Tozser, Battocchio, Pudil; Deeney, Jakubiak.
Subs: Almunia, Belkalem, Doyley, Faraoni, Diakite, Doherty, O'Nien.
Huddersfield Town line-up: Smithies; Dixon, Lynch, Gerrard, Smith; Lolley, Hogg, Norwood, Clayton, Hammill; Wells (Ward 30).
Subs: Bennett, Woods, Clarke, Scannell, Gobern, Holmes.
Referee: David Coote.
Follow the action here.