Main Menu
What's New
97/98: Reports:

Nationwide League Division 2, 13/4/98
Southend United 0(0)
Watford 3(0)
Team: Chamberlain 4, Gibbs 4, *Kennedy 5*, Page 4, Millen 4, Mooney 4, Noel-Williams 3, Palmer 4, Lee 4, Johnson 5, Rosenthal 4
Subs: Thomas (for Noel-Williams) 4, Easton, Robinson
Scorers: Kennedy (14, 37, 67)
More fish
Report by Dave Perahia

As I get older, certain things get more difficult. Christmas is one such thing. Every year, the question "What would you like for Christmas?", be it asked by my parents, girlfriend, sister, uncle etc., becomes progressively more difficult to answer. But not this year. This year it's easy - I want a pair of binoculars to take to Watford away games. The trip to Southend was my third away game this season, following trips to Luton and Grimsby. Each time I've screamed the boys to victory, and each time I've seen bugger-all of the action. Of the eight goals scored in those three games, seven have been tucked away at the opposite end of the ground. I guess what I'm trying to say is, sorry if there isn't much in the way of hard facts in this report, but most of the action was down the other end and my eyesight ain't what it was.

Anyway, Sarfend on a Tuesday night. As I sat alone on the beach at 6-30 PM in pitch darkness eating my fish and chips, I did briefly wonder what the hell I was doing in a near deserted seaside town in the freezing cold on a weeknight. That question was answered over the next couple of hours as the Hornets produced a magnificent display that sent the considerable travelling contingent into raptures and increased the pressure on the beleaguered Alvin Martin.

Roots Hall, the Southend ground, is awful. Think Luton, if you want a comparison. A tight ground squeezed in between housing on all sides with a patchwork of different stands of seemingly random design which appear to have been added piecemeal over the years. And apart from the travelling Horns, there was no-one there ! At one stage five to ten minutes before kick-off, I honestly felt that the up to 1000 travelling Hornets were in danger of out-numbering the home fans. A total attendance of 4,001 showed I wasn't (too) far out. Hard times at Southend.

Our team had a solid feel to it. Gibbs in for Bazeley and Palmer for Hyde. We started brightly, knocking the ball around nicely and avoiding too many hoofed balls to Jason Lee. It soon became clear that we were a class above a demoralised Southend side who misplaced far too many passes and were beaten to every 50-50 ball by the confident and hungry Hornets. Johnno and Palmer were bossing the midfield, and we looked pretty comfortable. It took only 14 minutes for our supremacy to be translated into a goal, the ball running across the box for Peter Kennedy to drive a powerful shot along the floor just inside the keeper's right hand post. Down the other end, naturally. But I did see it go in. Sort of. The goal served to further sap the Southend morale and boost ours. The first half was all Watford except for a mix-up between Mooney and Chamberlain which almost let one of Southend's French imports in for a goal. Alec held his hand up to acknowledge the mistake.

Our second was a beauty. Another surging Rosenthal run was cynically stopped just outside the Southend box after 37 minutes and a free-kick awarded. Kennedy strode up and stroked a perfect left foot shot into the top right hand corner of the net (or top left, if you're the Southend keeper) (Which I'm not, thank the Lord - Ed). It was an exact replica of the free-kick that he had bagged home to Sheffield United in the cup, and sent the travelling fans wild. Watford continued to press up until the interval but without further reward.

Southend made a bit of a fight of it in the second half and managed a lengthy period of sustained pressure. Although they came close on a couple of occasions, I never really had the feeling they would score. The Watford team seemed quite content to allow Southend a considerable amount of possession but the defence, which was rock solid on the night, seldom allowed them into dangerous areas. I had a sense that we were almost toying with them, and this was confirmed when on 67 minutes, with almost our first meaningful attack of the second half, we scored a superb third. A long diagonal ball to the Watford left was expertly headed towards the edge of the 'D' by Jason Lee. Rocket Ronny flicked the ball with his head to Peter Kennedy on his right. Kennedy picked his spot and powered his third goal of the night inside the left-hand post via the fingertips of the despairing Southend keeper. Game over.

We could have had a few more, to be honest. A Tommy Mooney cross was headed agonisingly wide by Rocket Ronny. Ron also shot over on a couple of occasions and had a shot well saved. Jason Lee headed inches wide, and Johnno fired a ferocious shot from the edge of the area just wide of the right hand post. Southend might have sneaked one towards the end, but it would have been little more than a consolation. Anything less than a three goal margin would have failed to reflect the enormous gulf between these sides. Watford left the field to a standing ovation, Peter Kennedy clutching his match ball with delight. He may be a wing back, but you'll not see a much better hat-trick from anyone anywhere this season.

Well worth a trip to Southend on a cold Tuesday night. And my fish was nice.

The joys of a cold night in Southend
Report by Pete Fincham

Having arrived at the ground nice and early, around 6ish, after a two hour wait on the glorious M25, I found myself in the local chippy chatting to Mike Vince and Mark Devlin about the video, which was recorded yesterday, the Z cars thing, that was recorded years ago, and how QPR are shit! (Mark is a QPR fan).

Rupert turned up, touching me on the arse as he often does, along with Rob. Rupert was wearing his blind as a bat Jarvis Cocker glasses and had bought along a mini drum, in line with the current enthusiasm for making noise (at last!).

We wandered around to the Golden Lion, which had been taken over by Hornets and began to realise that there were no Southend fans, anywhere! After a couple of songs and a swift pint, we descended on Roots Hall where as usual the Stewards tried to pretend we would have to sit in our designated seat! Yeah, right!

Inside, the cauldron of atmosphere was beginning to heat up as the teams took to the field. But before we had settled into our seats, and eventuality that never occurred throughout the whole game, Kennedy had done his "I'll just pop up at the far post and score" routine with a well placed shot that sent the traveling thousand or so Hornets into glorious rapture!

To say we outplayed the Shrimpers for the rest of the half is an understatement. The fact is we pissed all over them, and when someone (think it was either Ronny or Johnno - a case of down the other end of the pitch syndrome) was hauled down about 20 yards out, a surreal atmosphere overtook the away end. We knew he would score. In fact the only person who seemed surprised by the goal was Kennedy. As the ball nestled into the top right corner, the players of both sides just stood and watched in appreciation of the master at work.

He, on the other hand, took off in the direction of the dugout to congratulate the real master; the one master; the god that we call Graham! About 5 minutes after the goal, we started to celebrate the fact, and by that time it was nearly half time.

In true Hornet tradition, when playing towards the fans don't get anywhere near them. Are we really that noisy that the game switches to the other end from where we are? Maybe Utopia has arrived off the field, as the atmosphere was truly wonderful; but we still need to see more action down our end (except when the opposition is coming our way!)

Ronny (sorry Rupe - The Chosen One) and Jason both went close with headers and Johnno's wild shots occasionally threatened to go near. But until Kennedy grabbed his third, completing the first hat-trick of his career (and I am sure the first by a defender in a long, long time) there was not really much of a game to talk of. But as Lee and Ronny combined to set up Kennedy for the goal, we all knew we were watching poetry in motion! Kennedy smiled like I have never seen anyone smile before. A grin so wide it was comical! And when he picked up the ball and saluted the fans, you just knew he was a Hornet!

Did anything else happen? Well, we carried on singing until the end, and then we went home (well, I went round to a friend's house in Chelmsford and ended up giving her grandparents a lift home!). But I was full of the joys of a cold night in Southend, and am gagging for the game against Walsall on Saturday to show Gary, Gary Porter just what has happened to the midfield since he left!