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98/99: Reserves:

Avon Insurance Combination, 22/12/98
Watford Res 2(1)
Team: Day, Iroha, Perpetuini, Bonnot, Millen, Pluck, Daley, Hazan, Smith, Slater, Rosenthal
Subs: Gibbs (for Perpetuini), Ward (for Pluck), Grieves
Scorers: Smith, Rosenthal (pen)
West Ham Res 2(1)
Report by Rupert Licht

Like the first team, Watford stiffs are full of intrigue. A Watford reserve team containing four full internationals is quite something. West Ham fielded a reasonably strong team including Chilean international Javier Margas, ex-scummer Tim Breacker, new signing from Kingstonian Gavin Holligan and supposed "next David Beckham" Joe Cole.

The Horns started off like a house on fire, playing some smashing football. Our goal came from a quite excellent Ronny Rosenthal cross, which was superbly headed in by Tommy Smith. It became a bit even-steven after that. West Ham's goal was quite neatly taken by Omoyimni, recently back from a loan spell in Scotland with Hearts.

In the second half, Chris Day dealt very poorly with a kick in open play hitting the ball straight at a West Ham player, with Cole eventually despatching the ball into the net. Towards the end, Ronny Rosenthal was crudely brought down in the box and stepped up to take the resultant penalty, smashing the ball high into the roof of the net. Ronny had a superb game, looking by far our liveliest player and surely with a performance like this he should at least be on the subs bench for the Bristol City game on Boxing Day.

Tony Daley twisted and turned but the jury still seems to be out. Hazan, Smith and Bonnot had decent games and Millen made a cautious return. It was good to see Graham Taylor at the match.

The attendance of 362 was the largest reserve gate of the season with a good contingent of West Ham supporters. It is quite difficult to count the crowd at a game and it was not helped by several fans heckling me as I made the trip round the ground. Several people called out random numbers which made my task all the more difficult. In the absence of any announcement of the attendance, I believe I perform a very public service by counting the crowd.

All in all it was a fascinating night's entertainment. Watching the stiffs with chums eating a bacon and sausage roll from the top van is truly life-affirming stuff. Come on, try the Northwood experience, full of cracking football and intrigue.