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98/99: Review:
By Ian Lay
September was a good month for the Hornets and I managed to miss the best bits. Sod's Law, Murphy's Law, whatever you want to call it. This was my month of it.

Due to international games, the Norwich match was called off so the first game was away to Huddersfield. To be frank we were very poor. Lacking any inventiveness or imagination and generally being overrun by a side that, despite being top as I write this, will do well to get into the play-offs.

At the time I questioned GT's choice of tactics with regard to starting line ups and substitutions. Though I now see what he's trying to achieve, it doesn't take away from the fact I (along with many others) travelled all the way up to Huddersfield on a Tuesday night to see eleven people in yellow shirts play..... well..... basically crap. The only encouraging thing to come out of the game was Nick Wright's debut.

I missed the next two games (QPR at home and Swindon away) due to cricket and the need to spend a little time with my son who, over the summer, may have started to forget what I look like.

QPR was apparently a good game, even though we were playing against a very poor side. Swindon was not as impressive as the score line suggests but we deserved the win.

In need of my football fix I went to see the reserves play at Reading. After missing the previous three 4-1 games this season involving Watford it was nice to actually catch one. Even if it was only the reserves. All I will say is give Gudmundsson a game soon. He really looks good and deserves a chance.

Saturday the 26th saw the visit of Ipswich. In the morning WIFC won 5-0 against Punch Drunk (the Ipswich Internet team). And the afternoon was just as good. For times we were under a lot of pressure, and on another day we could have lost. But a combination of luck, fine defending and goalkeeping allowed us to hold out for a 1-0 victory. The last ten minutes of the game were particularly hard to watch as Ig mentioned in his match report:

"Ten minutes left. Ten minutes to hang on. Ohhhh. Argggh. Mummy, make it stop. Dean Yates was Bruce Willis by this point, all shouty heroism to save the world against all odds"

Dean Yates is Bruce Willis? Surely Dean Yates isn't that ugly!

And to end the day Heidi and I met up with our best friend (who we hadn't seen for a couple of months because he'd been out of the country) and went for a great curry at Alibaba's.

Just a perfect day.

So to the last game of the month. Sheffield United at home and, unbelievably, a chance to go top if we won and other results went our way.

We had taken the lead at an ideal time, just before half time. Ig, as always, provides the words for the moment:

"But then, as injury time began, we made the break-through. Kennedy took a free kick, deep on the right wing, and produced an absolute beauty. He's put in similar crosses from similar positions in earlier games - this time he got the deserved reward. As the ball belted through the penalty area with 'THIS IS A GOAL' written all over it in blue biro, Smart got a near post flick-on and Noel-Williams followed in to score with his head from close range. Lovely."

Lovely indeed, and up until the 84th minute it was still lovely. Sunderland and Huddersfield were both drawing and we only had to survive six more minutes to go top of Division One. But it wasn't to be.

The game in fact should have been over only a few minutes earlier when Micah Hyde somehow managed to miss from about five yards out. As it happens Hyde's miss cost us dear. In the 84th minute a right wing corner was swung in and bounced around in the area and Marker managed to smash the equaliser into the roof of the net.

Even then we nearly got a winner as Smart hit the post in the dying seconds. But in the end a draw was probably a fair result.

So three wins, one draw and a defeat. Ten points out of a possible fifteen. And if that Smart effort had gone in against Sheffield United I'm sure GT would have got Manager of the Month for the First Division. But it didn't and to be honest we wouldn't have deserved to be top of the table anyway. We are doing well but we are definitely not the best team in the league. Things could easily have been different this month and we could have been looking at being mid-table right now. But as it is we are in the play-off places and that in itself is a tremendous start to the season.

Let's hope it continues.

Best Moments: For me, it had to be the whole Ipswich day. From start to finish. Fantastic.

Worst Moments: Missing the Swindon game and the woeful performance at Huddersfield.

Funniest moment: Being told on the phone by Pete Fincham that I could never come to a Watford game again. This was after I had missed the 4-1 win at Swindon. The last time he said this to me was after I missed the 4-1 win at Bristol City!!