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98/99: Reserves:

Avon Insurance Combination, 8/3/99
Watford Res 1(0)
Team: Day 4, Gibbs 4, Perpetuini 3, Panayi 3, *Pluck 4*, Daley 2, Gudmundsson 2, Grieves 3, Bakalli 3, Ngonge 2, Rosenthal 2
Subs: Cornock (for Rosenthal) 2
Scorers: Bakalli
Arsenal Res 1(0)
Missed chance
Report by Pete Fincham

Watford missed the chance to go top of the Avon Insurance Combination league, despite playing well against a young and inexperienced Arsenal XI.

On an uneven pitch which was cut up in many places, Watford started the brighter, but Rosenthal showed traditional laziness in his chasing and Ngonge's ball control was as inconsistent as has been his failing this season.

However Petch looked lively throughout down the left combining well with Daley for the first 45 minutes. Arsenal were truly pedestrian, never threatening Day in goal for any sustained period of time, while the main threat to Lukic's goal was from the flanks in the form of Daley and Guddy. However come the second half this threat was increasingly more absent and despite a few forrays forward from Gibbs, the crossing never seemed to find the intended target more because of slack forward play than anything Nigel was responsible for.

As the end drew fortunately near, the game seemed to die with both teams settling for the draw until a mix up in the area let in Black who scored from close range. However as injury time began, Bakalli looked up from 30 yards to fire into the top left corner giving the flailing Lukic no chance. This was, I would suggest, Bakalli's only effective involvement in the game.

A draw, second place, but Charlton have games in hand. The title is within reach, but it will take better performances than this.