Warnock inspires team to another win!
Town’s 3-2 win at Watford - a third straight win for the first time in this Sky Bet Championship season - lifted the side out of the relegation zone!
Jack Rudoni’s late first-half equaliser – his first for the Club and in the division – meant the game was all level at the interval at Vicarage Road, but then strikes from Matty Pearson and a first Town goal for substitute Kian Harratt gave us a lead that we didn’t relinquish.
The sparked great scenes of celebration in front of the magnificent travelling supporters, who backed the side brilliantly in the sun.
Manager Neil Warnock made only one change to the side that defeated Middlesbrough the previous weekend, with the injured Duane Holmes replaced by David Kasumu. There was a change in shape, however, as the Terriers matched up their hosts in a 5-3-2 formation, with Rarmani Edmonds-Green moving to right wing back.
With around 1,300 Town fans in great voice behind them, the men in blue and white started the game well. As early as the fourth minute, Josh Ruffels won possession deep in the Watford half and found Danny Ward, who could only scuff his effort straight at the goalkeeper.
At the other end, the Hornets possess clear individual quality and always pose a threat. Their first chance came in the 10th minute when the impressive Ismael Kone turned infield from the Town right and tried his luck, only to shoot over the crossbar.
Rudoni was lively all afternoon and he almost ran clear into the box down our left four minutes later, only for former Hibs centre back Ryan Porteous to crudely upend him to stop the danger. He earned a yellow card for that challenge, from which Rudoni’s free kick was volleyed wide – via a deflection – by Kasumu.
Watford were being restricted to shots from distance by Town’s defensive shape, with star man Joao Pedro hitting an effort straight at Tomáš Vaclík in the 19th minute before Joao Ferreira fared similarly moments later. Midfielder Imran Louza’s 22nd minute effort was better, forcing the Czech goalkeeper to spring to his right and push the ball around the post.
In-form Josh Koroma, playing up front with Ward, had a fantastic opening 45 minutes, with his direct dribbling style causing the home defence real issues. He was set away by Edmonds-Green’s ball-winning challenge in the 25th minute and, after skipping past Wesley Hoedt, he found Ward in the middle with a great low cross, only for Porteous to slide in with an excellent block.
Town continued to press with a corner on the half hour mark, won by Kasumu and Rudoni. Jack’s deep cross was met by the head of Tom Lees, allowing Michał Helik to square for fellow centre back Matty Pearson. Matty tried to sweep the ball home first time, but could only turn it wide of the near post.
Sadly, Watford took the lead two minutes later with another effort from outside the area. This time midfielder Yaser Asprilla received the ball on our left and stepped inside to create half a yard inside Matty Pearson before hitting a rasping drive that flew between Vaclík and the near post.
That was harsh on Town, and they deserved the late goal that sent them into the interval on level terms. Before that Asprilla turned a good cross from Kone wide before Ward was just denied by Craig Cathcart’s block – and then it was time for Jack Rudoni to break his duck!
With a minute of the half remaining, Koroma again drove down the right side and sent another fantastic, powerful low cross towards Ward. A defender managed to get a foot to the ball, but only succeeded in deflecting it into Rudoni’s path. Jack took one touch to get the ball on his favoured left before reversing a low drive past Daniel Bachmann’s left from around 15 yards.
Pedro headed over early in the second half for Watford, but then Town took control thanks to a third goal in two games for Pearson. Kasumu won a foul just over halfway that earned Pedro a booking, which allowed Rudoni to lift the ball into the Watford area; Pearson got his head to the ball and knocked it down, where Ward’s presence stopped the goalkeeper from moving until it was too late, with the ball nestling inside the far post!
Watford made a double change immediately after this, and Warnock immediately matched their shape, moving to a back four and pushing Edmonds-Green infield. The hosts applied some territorial pressure without properly testing our goal – and then we grabbed a dramatic third.
With eight minutes left, Warnock introduced Kian Harratt for an exhausted Ward. On his second Championship appearance – his first since December 2019 – Kian ran on the pitch, straight across the far post and nodded in Koroma’s excellent near post cross for his first senior goal in Town colours!
Koroma deserved so much credit again for bursting pass full back Ngakia and supplying the cross.
Britt Assombalonga netted a 92nd minute goal to reduce the arrears and keep the nerves jangling, but the pressure was alleviated when home goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann earned two yellow cards in barely two minutes to receive his marching orders, and killing time in the process.
Town’s team (5-3-2)
Tomáš Vaclík; Rarmani Edmonds-Green (Scott High, 68’), Tom Lees, Michał Helik, Matty Pearson, Josh Ruffels; David Kasumu, Jonathan Hogg, Jack Rudoni; Josh Koroma, Danny Ward (Kian Harratt, 82’)
Nicholas Bilokapic; Jordan Rhodes, Ben Jackson, Brahima Diarra, Matthew Lowton
David Kasumu (60’); Jonathan Hogg (90+3’)
We go again on Easter Monday! CLICK HERE to secure your seat at the John Smith’s Stadium as Town take on Blackburn Rovers!