Watford IFC ended a 17 game winless run against West Ham supporters this Saturday, with an entertaining 5-3 win at Cassiobury Park.
Despite not beating their East London opponents in a full fixture since the 2007/08 season, the Internet ‘Orns dominated the opening 20 minutes and found themselves 3-0 up. First Tom Smithson grabbed his second for the club, after notching in a recent victory at MK Dons, then Charlie Wood opened his own account with two well taken finishes. Whilst bucking the recent trend again West Ham, the 3-0 scoreline was the least Watford deserved for a high tempo, direct, and disciplined opening period of the match.
The home side couldn’t carry this performance through to the break though, West Ham capitalising on slack marking at a set piece to head themselves back into the game. At this point the visitors were enjoying more of the ball, winning the 50-50s, and pushing WIFC increasingly back to their penalty box.
It was the home side who’d score next though, and take a 4-1 lead into half time, as Ben Pegram’s cross come shot took a fortuitous bounce over the shoulder of the West Ham keeper. It was very much against the run of play and masked the visitors latter dominance.
Although warned at half time, WIFC struggled to match their earlier fine play and again conceded. This time a poor clearance fell to West Ham’s Will Bush and he bent a shot in from the edge of the box. The home side were then indebted to Jeremy Hinds’ fine reaction save, tipping a close range header onto the underside of the bar.
Much like the first half, WIFC found themselves up against it but broke to score a decisive goal. Charlie Wood battled down the left before cutting in and grabbing his hat trick with a firmly hit effort. He becomes the second player to open his scoring account for the club with a hat trick this season, following Mark O’Connor’s four goal haul against Tranmere.
As time ticked on West Ham would score again, this time from the penalty spot, but Watford held on and extended their unbeaten run to five games. It was a deserved win on the balance of play and nicely set up a six point Saturday, with the big boys following suit in the afternoon.
Team: Jez Hinds; Dave Morren, Mike De-Crescenzo, Dan Butterick, Matt Ainsley; Richard Murphy, Stuart Holdham, Ally Hill, Ben Pegram; Charlie Wood, Tom Smithson. Subs Tom Beck, Panos Fellas, Andy Myall, Mark O’Connor, Ben Bateman.