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98/99: Reserves:

Avon Insurance Combination, 19/8/98
Watford Res 4(1)
Scorers: Smith, Andrews, Johnson, Hermanson
Cambridge Res 0(0)
The jinx is beaten!
Report by Pete Fincham

The reserves completed a thoroughly tedious set of recent fixtures against Cambridge last night in style, winning 4-0 against a team that lacked both experience, skill and talent!

However, this should not detract from the thoroughly impressive performance of the Under 21's, and three superb goals brightened up what has been so far a thoroughly depressing record against our East Anglian opposition.

Tommy Smith, playing in a left wing role, opened the scoring after only twenty minutes. A superb ball out to the left was controlled first time by Smith who drove low to the keeper's left.

Richard Johnson seemed back to his aggressive best, and worked well with Danny Grieves in midfield who for the first time in a long while did not look as exposed. This enabled him to play the ball more accurately as he didn't have to have the role of ball winner and distributor in one! Johno was superb though, winning everything and challenging like a man possessed. Johan Gudmundsson also impressed on the right, while Watford gave a further, and ultimately final, trial to Soren Hermanson, who showed moments of talent, but against the level of opposition he has faced in his two games it was just not enough.

Day lined up in goal and was rarely tested, although he controlled the defence well and was called upon to make a couple of brave stops in the second. However it was a fairly pedestrian evening for the former England Under 21 keeper. Perpetuini played in his now familiar role of left / wing back and Nigel Gibbs was as solid as ever at right back. Gibbsy looked in control throughout, and I find it hard to believe he will not be in the squad for Saturday's game away at Bristol City. Indeed it was a great cross field ball from Gibbs who released Wayne Andrews at the start of the second half. Andrews beat three players out wide on the left, before cutting inside and slotting low past the keeper.

Pluck and Panayi proved solid at the back, maybe governed by the confidence that emanated from midfield through Johnson. And it was Johnson who unleashed his trusty right foot from twenty-five yards after twenty minutes of the second half, that beat the goalkeeper's desperate dive for 3-0. Moments later it was 4, as a Perpetuini corner was flicked on at the near post by Pluck and virtually on the goal line, Soren Hermanson tapped the ball over with his throat!

Watford had another chance to add to their score when Wayne Andrews and Tommy Smith collided in the area when both were unmarked, and a young WIFC player rose like a salmon from the crowd to head the ball back into play in true Soccer AM fantasy style. This gained a "Good header, Peter" comment from GT himself. As I mentioned at the time, "That was more than Rosenthal has done all season Graham!"

All in all it was a thoroughly convincing win and not only was the performance encouraging, it just shows the wealth of attacking talent we currently have at the club are all firing on all cylinders.

As an aside, Nick Wright wasn't fully fit, and GNW had an ear infection (before rumours of why they weren't playing escalate!).