Watford lost 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur this afternoon as a crowd of almost 10,000 helped celebrate Lloyd Doyley ’s testimonial.
Tottenham played their first team for the game, which also formed a key part of Watford’s pre-season and was the first competitive game played on the new Vicarage Road pitch, which was re-laid this summer.
Only two of Watford’s seven new signings started the match or were included in the squad – Manuel Almunia and Daniel Pudil, who was forced off after just five minutes with a suspected hamstring injury.
It was a game of few chances but plenty of possession for both teams and was decided in the second half through a Jermain Defoe header.
Spurs used the flanks well at times, and got in behind the full backs on several occasions, but, in the first half in particular, the crosses were cleared by men in yellow.
The Hornets were forced into a change after just five minutes as Daniel Pudil went down with what looked like a hamstring injury.
The home side grew into the contest and enjoyed plenty of possession, without really penetrating.
Mark Yeates sent in a teasing cross from the right which forced Brad Friedel to parry and Joe Garner had a shot blocked, after some excellent football, but they were the only half chances for Watford in the opening half an hour.
Tottenham went closest to scoring in the first half when Nyron Nosworthy didn’t jump with William Gallas at Tom Carroll’s corner and the centre back sent a powerful header narrowly over the bar.
Spurs made four changes at the break whilst Watford remained unchanged.
There was a quicker pace to the second half and the visitors scored the opener ten minutes into the second half when Walker got in behind Dickinson on the right and his cross was headed home powerfully by Defoe.
Watford had more of a cutting edge after the break and following a few nearly moments, Mark Yeates went agonisingly close to equalising just after the hour mark, when he cut on to his right foot inside the area and curled a shot narrowly wide.
Spurs were far from their best but they went close to grabbing another goal when Walker picked out Bale with a deep cross but the winger headed straight at Almunia.
Doyley received a warm reception from the crowd as he departed the pitch with 15 minutes remaining, with Lee Hodson coming on in his place.
Andros Townsend is not remembered fondly by Watford fans after his brief loan spell a couple of seasons ago but he showed his talent as he fired in a low right-footed shot from 30 yards which Almunia had to parry away.
Watford: Almunia; Doyley (Hodson 75), Taylor, Nosworthy, Pudil (Dickinson 5); Eustace, Hogg (Forsyth 67), Buaben (Massey 78); Yeates, Garner (Iwelumo 58), Murray (Mingoia 84).
Subs: Bond, Bennett, Thompson, C Smith, Jenkins.
Spurs: Friedel (Cudicini HT); Naughton (Walker HT), Kaboul, Gallas (Vertonghen HT), Assou-Ekotto; Jenas (Sigurdsson HT), Livermore (Bentley 78); Carroll (Huddlestone 67), Lennon, Bale (Townsend 75); Defoe (Kane 67).
Subs: Bassong, Dawson.
Referee: Trevor Kettle.