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Four loanees feature as Gianfranco Zola secures first Watford win at Cork City
Gianfranco Zola secured his first win as Watford manager tonight against Cork City, as travelling supporters caught their first glimpses of loanees Steve Leo Beleck and Ikechi Anya.
New goalkeeper Manuel Almunia was in Watford’s match-day squad in Ireland but he was the only unused substitute as Joe Garner and Piero Mingoia’s goals either side if half time helped secure victory.
Jonathan Bond played the full 90 minutes in goal behind a defence which consisted of Lee Hodson, Martin Taylor, Nyron Nosworthy and Daniel Pudil, with John Eustace playing in his more familiar role in defensive midfield after featuring at centre half at Wealdstone on Saturday.
Almen Abdi and Jonathan Hogg joined the Hornets skipper in midfielder, with Mark Yeates and Sean Murray playing either side of Joe Garner up front.
Gianfranco Zola signing autographs for supporters and Ikechi Anya after his first Watford appearance.
Watford were extremely comfortable in possession this evening and kept the ball well for prolonged periods but often lacked the final ball.
Some nice play, which involved Abdi and Murray, led to Garner opening the scoring midway through the first half as his low drive from just inside the area took a slight deflection on its way in.
Abdi and Yeates had efforts saved after that but it was a largely uneventful first half.
There were three changes at the break, as Carl Dickinson, Anya and Lloyd Doyley replaced Hodson, Pudil and Eustace.
There were to be a succession of changes in the second half and Cork enjoyed a positive15 -minute spell, when Bond had to be at his best to deny Stephen Kenny.
Watford continued to keep possession, as they rarely came out of second gear, and Mingoia secured the victory late on with a delightful 25-yard strike.
Piero Mingoia's second goal of pre-season was the highlight against Cork.
The attacker, who had another chance after his goal, has impressed during pre-season and did so again tonight, as did Murray in the first half.
Leo Beleck showed his size and strength, firing over on one occasion, after coming on as a substitute around the hour mark and fellow loanee Anya looked lively.
Watford were comfortable for most of the game and the emphasis seemed to be on maintaining possession, rather than searching for more goals.
One disappointment from the night was an injury sustained by Dale Bennett, who was replaced by Adam Thompson.
Around 200 Watford fans made the trip to Cork, joined by even more Ireland-based Hornets supporters. The total attendance was 1,182.
Cork’s side consisted of a mixture of first team players and youngsters, as the Irish outfit have a game against Manchester United tomorrow night.
Watford: Bond; Hodson (Doyley HT), Taylor (Bennett 59, Thompson 70), Nosworthy (Mirfin 59), Pudil (Dickinson HT); Eustace (Anya HT), Abdi (Whichelow 63), Hogg (Jenkins 59); Yeates (Forsyth 59), Garner (Beleck 63), Murray (Mingoia 63). Unused sub: Almunia.
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