Their finest hour
7:30 pm, April 11th 1961
Back in April 1961 a Watford side inspired by the diminutive Tommy Harmer demolished Coventry City in a nine-goal thriller at Vicarage Road. The Tuesday night game under lights produced a breathtaking performance by the Hornets and as a result the Sky Blues had very little to offer in reply to the relentless Watford onslaught.
It was a shame that 'Fantasy League' football was not operating 30-odd years ago as Harmer, who was a stlg 6,000 capture from Spurs in October 1960, scored one and made a couple more in Watford's seven goal total. Hackney-born Harmer started his football career with Finchley befoer signing on at White Hart Lane in 1948. He made over 200 League appearances in the Tottenham side before his move to Hertfordshire and returned to the old First Division in 1962 to finish his career at the top level of the game with Chelsea.
Cliff Holton was the first to benefit that night from Harmer's genius when after 10 minutes' play Watford's big centre forward found himself with only Coventry keeper Wesson to beat, after receiving a through ball from the star of the show.
The Hornets doubled their lead on 14 minutes when it was Holton's turn to play goal-provider. A punt upfield by Wesson hit the 'big fella' and rebounded to attacking partner John Fairbrother. The local lad signed from Bennetts End lofted the ball over the keeper for number two.
Tommy Harmer then returned to centre stage on 22 minutes, when the Hornets were awarded a free-kick just outside the box. Taking the kick himself, he foxed the visitors' rearguard and saw the ball hit the back of the net seconds later via a post.
If the Coventry defence thought Harmer was finished with just under half an hour gone, they were to find out just how wrong they were when Watford wide-man Peter Walker hit number four from the ex-Tottenham man's pass. Worse was to follow for the Sky Blues as, with thoughts of a half-time cuppa looming, former junior Freddie Bunce punished another error at the back for Watford's fifth.
After such a first-half display Watford could have been excused for relaxing after the break but an early goal from City's Peter Hill was merely the catalyst for more attacking football from Ron Burgess' side. The majority of the 10,514 crowd were soon celebrating 'six of the best' when Walker registered his second of the game.
Freddie Bunce then weighed in with his sixteenth striker of the campaign, aptly scored sixteen minutes from time, before the night's goal-haul was concluded when Brian Hill converted a cross from Stuart Imlach for the Sky Blues' second.
Watford: Underwood, Bell, Nicholas, Catleugh, NcNeice, Gregory, Walker, Harmer, Holton, Fairbrother, Bunce.
by Paul Levene - taken from Watford v Portsmouth programme (26/12/94)