Birmingham City win was culmination of three matches of hard work for Watford

First published in Sport by

Watford Under-18s ended their winless run at the fifth attempt with a 2-0 victory over Birmingham City but their interim manager believes the result was the culmination of the last three games.

The Hornets started the campaign with two wins but followed it up with two defeats and then a couple of draws, albeit against two of the more fancied sides in Chelsea and Leicester City.

The Academy’s technical skills coach Adam Pilling has been in charge of Watford Under-18s since the end of August while the club were in the process of appointing new youth team coach David Hughes, who formally started this week.

Pilling said: “The performance on Saturday was a culmination of the last two games, we have been threatening to do that in the last couple of matches.

“In the last three games the performances have been excellent - against Chelsea, Leicester and Birmingham - and that is what we look at.

“We are a big believer that the results will even themselves out over the season if the performances are correct.

“Finally on Saturday we got what we deserved in terms of a result. The performance is always paramount though when you are developing players for the first team.”

Watford started brightly on Saturday and Dereece Gardner forced a good save when he cut in from the right.

Birmingham missed a header 20 minutes in but Watford were dominant in the first half and went close through Luke O’Nien, Austin Eaton and trialist Anthony Mendy,twice.

Watford finally got off the mark in the second half as Mendy showed good strength and fired a left-footed shot underneath the goalkeeper.

Birmingham responded well but Connor Smith secured the three points when his powerful shot from 20 yards found the back of the net.

Pilling said: “First half we threatened with a number of opportunities which we should have taken and went into half time the much better team.

“Second half we scored about 15 minutes into the second half and then after that they had a spell where they put us under pressure, but the back four defended really well during that period and weathered the storm.”

Watford: Bonham; Wilmore (O'Connor 48), Hoban, Akubuine, Tumwa; O'Nien, Eaton, Smith, English (Westlake 80); Mendy, Gardner (Kalu 70). Sub not used: Byers.

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