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01/02: Reports:

Nationwide Division One, 18/8/01
Rotherham United
By Mary Grimson

I don't take pen and paper to footie games. I sit, or stand if it gets exciting, and watch it all happen in front of me. I ask the bloke next to me what on earth the ref is blowing his whistle for. I listen to the cerebral comments coming from the row behind me. I sing. I cheer. I eat wine gums. So, when I come to describe the game to my friends, I can't remember all the detail - only snippits and an overall feeling.

The game kicked-off, and whilst we were all still discussing the summer, new shirts, new players, there was some sort of commotion up the other end. What the hell was happening? Why was Tommy Smith standing there holding the ball behind the penalty spot? Surely we haven't...? Ooooooooh, yes we have! The ref's given a penalty! What for? Oh well, it doesn't matter. Ohhhh, it's saved. Oooooh, he's scored on the rebound!

1-0. Pinch me, am I dreaming? Hang on, if I am dreaming, don't wake me up!

There was some neat football by both teams throughout the game. Rotherham are tipped by the bookies to be favourites for the drop, but they don't play as though they are. They even had the audacity to equalise through Mark Robins!

The second Watford goal was a candidate for comedy goal of the season. The Rotherham keeper and defender bumped into each other, the ball bobbled, and Nielsen fought to get the ball and put it into the empty net.

The third Watford goal was poetry in motion. A glorious goal. Vernazza fed Hyde, who swept the ball out wide to Foley. He took the ball forward then chipped it into the box. Gayle headed down, and Smith was there to volley it into the net. Fantastic.

3-1 up after an hour. All safe and, this is Watford we are watching! Let's give the other team a chance; it will make it more exciting. And thus, Rotherham scored another through Robins.

Just to really get things warmed up, Vega fouled someone in the box, and the ref awarded Rotherham a penalty. Was Robins going to get his hat-trick? But of course, they weren't really supposed to win; we were just teasing them. Baardsen saved.

The last fifteen minutes or so would have been more nerve-wracking had it not been mid-August. Rotherham pressed to equalise, and Watford tried to hang on. The previously confident yellows looked nervous, and eager to get rid of the ball as fast as possible, rather than keep possession.

Finally, the ref blew his whistle and Watford had won a very exciting game of football. A thrilling game. Not just for the goals, but also for much of the general play. The ball was stroked around the pitch in a manner more accustomed to Brazil than Watford. Robbo looks like a new player - okay, he still sees the mist, but nevertheless, is playing well. Foley, OBD, had a great game. He has a good touch on the ball, and seems to have more confidence. Hyde was here, there and certainly everywhere. Smith was like a firecracker up front - fizzing about.

A corker.