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Own goal from former England goalkeeper David James set Watford on course for 2-0 win at Bristol City
9:50pm Tuesday 20th March 2012 in Match Reports
Two goals in the space of five first-half minutes secured Watford a 2-0 victory away to Bristol City.
An own goal from former Watford and England goalkeeper David James and then a scrappy goal from Sean Murray put the Hornets two up inside 20 minutes and the visitors never looked like losing from then on.
Watford made three changes for the match as Adrian Mariappa and John Eustace were left out due to injuries and replaced by Martin Taylor and Prince Buaben. Chris Iwelumo also came in for Britt Assombalonga, who made his debut at the weekend.
It was the home side who had the first opportunity as the ball broke to Stephen Pearson on the edge of the area and he fired an effort over the bar.
City striker Jon Stead also tried his luck from 35 yards out and had Tomasz Kuszczak scrambling as the ball bounced wide.
City had started the better but somehow found themselves 2-0 down in the space of five minutes.
The opener came from a diagonal Carl Dickinson cross from 60 yards and despite there not being another player within five yards of David James, the former England goalkeeper punched the ball behind him into his own net.
Stead fired over again but five minutes after their first, Watford went 2-0 up when a goal mouth scramble saw Deeney mishit a shot and then Murray bundled the ball into the net.
The home side must have wondered how they were two behind but by half time it could have been considerably worse. Murray’s delightful free kick found Nyron Nosworthy unmarked but he somehow headed the ball outside the box from eight yards.
Watford goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak was forced into a decent stop when Stephen Foster struck a powerful 35-yard shot but it was the visitors who finished the half the stronger.
Nosworthy looked destined to score when Iwelumo flicked on Murray’s free kick. Nosworthy controlled the ball at the far post and his cleanly-struck shot was heading for the far corner before Kalifa Cisse blocked yards from his goal.
Alex Kacaniklic enjoyed some success on the left and he had a low drive from 25 yards parried away by James.
It was a first half performance where Watford had not played particularly well but could easily have been four or five goals ahead.
There was nothing to report on for the first 17 minutes of the second half and when Albert Adomah did create the first opening by cutting in from the right, his left-footed shot was held by Kuszczak.
Just like buses, the next opportunity came a minute later as Dickinson’s cross from the left was glanced wide by Deeney, with James scrambling.
James was having a torrid night and with just over an hour on the clock, a deep Deeney cross, following Murray’s dribble from inside his own half, saw the goalkeeper drop the ball and Iwelumo passed to Murray, who flick was cleared off the line.
The pace of the match had picked up by now and Deeney and Iwelumo both had shots saved within minutes of each other.
City used all three substitutes as they chased a way back into the match and one of them, Yannick Bolasie, went agonisingly close with a 25-yard shot which was tipped wide by Kuszczak.
The home side’s hopes of victory all-but ended though when Liam Fontaine was sent off with 12 minutes remaining for a high challenge on Jonathan Hogg.
Neither side managed to create another opportunity of note as Watford cruised to victory.
Bristol City: James; Carey (Kilkenny HT), Fontaine, McManus, McAllister; Adomah, Cisse (Bolasie 71), Pearson, Foster; Stead, Pitman (Wood 59).
Subs: Gerken, Bryan.
Watford: Kuszczak; Doyley, Taylor, Nosworthy, Dickinson; Murray, Buaben, Hogg, Kacaniklic; Iwelumo (Garner 87), Deeney.
Subs: Loach, Bennett, Yeates, Assombalonga.
Referee: Oliver Langford.
Attendance: 12,017 (416).
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