APPROPRIATELY, it was Richard Murphy – chalking up a club-record 300th Watford IFC appearance – who had the final say at the end of a thrilling 5-5 draw with Millwall supporters’ team.
Internet ‘Orns player-manager Richard Walker insisted that Murphy be charged with the responsibility of levelling the scores with what proved to be literally the last kick of the game, and the veteran weirdo didn’t disappoint.
After Adam Gallichan had been felled when about to stroke home from close-range, Murphy stepped up to notch his 69th goal of a remarkably long and consistent WIFC career – now 50 appearances clear of nearest rival Julian Carrera.
The spot-kick was the tenth and final goal of a belter of a match at Parmiter’s School, which saw the Lions race into a two-goal lead before Charlie Wood followed up to crash home a rebound from debutant Tom Payne’s shot and Matt Mesiano had wrong-footed the keeper with a flick-header from a long free-kick forward stood some 20 yards from goal.
Millwall restored their lead but it was 3-3 by the break after Wood went to the top of the season’s goalscoring chart, nodding home his 5th of the season from Walker’s cross following a quickly-taken short corner.
Watford had the better of the second-half’s opening exchanges but the Lions it was who went 4-3 in front some 15 minutes in when their always-dangerous central midfielder Dan Marsh played a series of one-twos to slot home what might have been the goal of the game on another day.
That honour, however, belonged to Ally Hill, who strode onto a clearance before unleashing a 35-yard blockbuster which the Lions’ keeper barely saw before it billowed the top of the netting under the crossbar.
Then Watford goalkeeper Ali Cameron marked his debut with a stunning save at close-quarters to round off an assured display, despite the unflattering goals against column.
The visitors did break through again, though, with a fifth goal around eight minutes from time before Murphy capped game number 300 to level – the spoils shared after a pulsating encounter.
Hornets: Ali Cameron; Phil McBride, Paul Shelock, Stuart Holdham, Matt Ainsley; Max Walters, Derek Payne, Tom Payne, Richard Murphy (c), Matt Mesiano, Adam Gallichan. Subs used: Charlie Wood, Stuart Nicholls, Ally Hill, Sol Tomlinson, Richard Walker.
Man-of-the-Match: Charlie Wood.