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Udinese loanees Almen Abdi and Matej Vydra score again as Watford beat Birmingham City
Watford cruised to a 2-0 victory over Birmingham City this afternoon thanks to goals from Udinese loanees Almen Abdi and Matej Vydra.
The Hornets were 2-0 up within 17 minutes as Abdi scored from the penalty spot and then Vydra added a well-taken second soon after.
Birmingham rarely troubled Watford goalkeeper Manuel Almunia and whilst the home side’s second half performance was not as impressive as the first, they were comfortable throughout.
Watford took their number of summer signings to ten this week with the addition of Marco Cassetti and Geoffrey Mujangi Bia, but there were still only four that started in today’s televised game.
Manuel Almunia was again behind a defence which included left back Daniel Pudil with Abdi in midfield and Matej Vydra up front.
Birmingham went into the game without a win in the league this season after a 1-1 draw against Charlton on the opening day and a 3-2 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday midweek.
Lee Clark made two changes to his starting line-up today, with former Watford striker Marlon King being joined up front by Nikola Zigic and Chelsea loanee Ben Gordon coming in for the injured David Murphy, who was close to joining the Hornets on loan under Malky Mackay.
The Hornets started the game superbly and took the lead in the third minute when Vydra was nudged by Steven Caldwell as it looked like he would head in from close range. Abdi stepped up confidently and dispatched the ball into the corner and past England goalkeeper Jack Butland.
The home side were playing well in the early stages and could have been 3-0 up inside the first ten minutes.
Butland saved well from Martin Taylor’s header when Sean Murray produced a fine corner and then Abdi saw a 20-yard strike flash wide.
Birmingham’s Curtis Davies headed comfortably over from a corner but apart from that, it was all Watford in the opening quarter of an hour.
And the lead was doubled on 17 minutes when Mark Yeates slipped the ball through for Vydra, who timed his run well, and the striker finished confidently.
Watford have shown signs of being able to keep the ball well in recent weeks and they retained possession impressively in the first half. Yeates was next to test Butland as his 25-yard shot was held by the goalkeeper.
The Irishman has done well so far this season, often in a more central role, and again put Vydra through but this time Davies recovered in time to make a challenge as the forward was set to shoot.
The Hornets were comfortable in possession and it wasn’t long before Murray and then Yeates tried their luck from distance, missing the target.
Watford had no problem in building attacks from back to front and after another lengthy spell of possession, Daniel Pudil picked out Vydra who headed powerfully wide.
Birmingham were limited to the one Davies header until Chris Burke had their first effort on target in first-half injury-time but the effort was tame.
The lead could have been three at the break had it not been for Butland reaching Iwelumo on the edge of the area in time, after the striker had been put through one-on-one. Watford started the second half excellently as well, although in a different manner. Whilst they may not have unlocked the Blues’ defence at will like in the first half, they controlled possession and managed the game superbly.
They also had the first chance following the restart as Murray’s cross was glanced wide by Abdi.
Birmingham created an opportunity soon after but Zigic’s effort was tame and easily saved by Almunia.
The Hornets’ defence did have a moment of concern when King released Burke on the right but his low cross could not pick out anyone in the middle.
Birmingham grew into the half and Hayden Mullins may have troubled Almunia with his shot from ten yards out had Nyron Nosworthy not made a last-ditch block.
Watford had to wait until the 73rd minute for their next chance and then they had two in quick succession.
Firstly, Caldwell just beat Iwelumo to head it behind from Yeates’ free kick and then from the resulting corner, Abdi smashing comfortably over the bar from the edge of the area.
Davies headed wide from a corner for Birmingham but Watford’s goal was rarely troubled in the second half as they cruised to a 2-0 victory.
Watford: Almunia; Doyley, Taylor, Nosworthy, Pudil; Hogg, Abdi, Murray (Hodson 89); Vydra (Dickinson 78), Iwelumo (Beleck 82), Yeates.
Subs: Bond, Forsyth, Anya, Garner Birmingham: Butland; Spector, Caldwell, Davies, Gordon; Burke, Mullins, Ambrose (Gomis 56), Redmond, Zigic (Lovenkrands 56), King.
Subs: Doyle, Ibanez, Morrison, Elliott, Rooney.
Referee: Keith Stroud.
Attendance: 11,022 (849).