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02/03: Review:
"A full-blooded cup tie"
By Martin Patching
First published in the Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 06/03/03

A crowd of over 17,000 watched Watford draw with play-off bound Nottingham Forest. Back to almost full-strength, The Hornets took an early lead through leading scorer Heidar Helguson and were worthy leaders well into the second half, when the visitors took control. Forest eventually equalised through Darren Huckerby. Ray Lewington's men hung on for a point and were relieved to hear the final whistle after Alec Chamberlain's crossbar was rattled in injury time by the impressive Dawson.

The highest home gate for the season will be surpassed this coming Sunday when Watford face Burnley in the FA Cup quarter-final (K.O 1.30 and live on BBC2). Burnley are a tough, well-organised outfit with considerable experiance. The majority of regular first teamers are approaching their thirties. In beating Fulham in last week's 5th Round replay, Stan Ternant's players displayed all their strengths. Both camps may feel the tie possesses little of the glamour associated with the Quarter Finals. However, the massive incentive is a place in the Semi Final of the competition. The teams are very evenly matched as the league table shows and a full-blooded cup tie is on the cards. A capacity crowd will be present, eager for The Hornets to progress.

In the build-up to the game different approaches have been made by the managers. Burnley boss Stan Ternant electing to play a full strength team in the 1-1 draw at Millwall. Watford boss Ray Lewington rested all bar two of his expected line up in the home game against Preston. Watford were narrowly beaten in a scrappy game and the slim play-off chances faded even more. However the earlier defeats against Rotherham and Walsall had already signalled Watford's inconsistency at a vital stage in the season.

Ray pointed out that it was a most important fixture on Sunday and he along with the players were determined to progress through to the FA Cup Semi Final. Tuesday's fixture saw local striker Elliot Godfrey make his league debut in the closing stages, the former Bedmond Rangers star has made good progress this season and looks like having a promising carear.

Good luck to all in the Cup.


In the charts:
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson at No 1 for the second week

FA Cup 4th Round replay
Fulham 1 Watford 2
Sherwood, Rice, Bolton, Sims, Rostron, Callaghan, Taylor, Jackett, Lohman, Barnes, Blissett.
Scorers: Barnes and Lohman.
Att: 22,206

Reproduced courtesy of Gazette Newspapers