Report by Baz Barry
If I'm not careful I could find myself addicted to these reserve games. This
time it helped that I worked round the corner from Adams Park and can take
flexible lunches but what better way to spend a cold Wednesday afternoon than
watching an impressive reserve performance?
The contrast in experience between the sides eventually came through. From
what I could see lowly Wycombe fielded just two players with first team
experience. All but three (Panayi, Lee Johnson and Steve Brooker) of the
twelve that played for Watford have been in the first team in recent times.
A quiet first half hour was notable only for the own-goal in the second minute
from a wicked Easton corner, a spectacular and speculative 30 yard Wycombe
volley hitting the bar and Watford scoring a second from the exploding wall
free-kick routine with Easton's shot defecting off their wall and sending
their goalie the wrong way.
On 35 minutes GT turned up.
Towards the end of the half we made some clever and effective inroads down the
left with Slater, Smart, Mooney and Hyde combining well. This ploy was then
capitalised upon with interest in the second half when Slater, and to a lesser
extent Mooney, constantly terrorised them. It was an impressive 45 minutes
from Slater. Time and again he ran at their backing-off defence. Frustratingly,
but perhaps predictably, the end product was lacking with a couple of shots
Hyde and Easton eventually settled down to boss the middle, prompting well and
with ease. Smart was my man of the match simply for the way he leads the line. Holding on
to every ball into him and bringing others into play with the simplest of
passes, as well as being prepared to run at their defence. His first goal on
62 minutes was class. A pass from the left, a quick turn leaving the defender
for dead and a crisp firm low shot from the edge of the area. He then combined
cleverly with Ngonge, only to shoot over with just the goalie to beat. His
second goal with 5 minutes to go came from a Mooney cross which the
inexplicably goalie left for Alan to lob a header in on the first bounce.
On 70 minutes Day had his first save to make, smothering a shot and shortly
after the pacey Wycombe sub was clean through only to see his effort just miss
the post. Three minutes from the end Wycombe scored when Gibbsy played in
Holsgrove who cleverly lobbed the stranded Day. Otherwise the defence coped
well against a lightweight Wycombe attack.
Ngonge looked better than before (QPR) but seems to be the one player everyone
else gets exasperated about. His game is #rse about t~t - he chases the wrong
balls, goes for the wrong headers, is at the back post when the cross is low
at the front, he plays the complicated layoff when a simple one would do. It
saddens me but I fear for the numbering of his days. He was happy to subbed
with 15 minutes to go and Steve Brooker came on and didn't look out of place.
A grand afternoon.
The last game of the season away to Ipswich could be significant. Make a note
in your diaries for the evening of Wednesday April 28th and let's have a