Watford 3 Burnley 1

Last updated : 20 August 2005 By Footymad Previewer
The problems continue to mount for Burnley manager Steve Cotterill.

Not only did his threadbare squad go down 3-1 at Watford, but the manager also lost defender Frank Sinclair with a reoccurrence of his hamstring injury, and worse still, saw keeper Brian Jensen stretchered off late in the game.

Watford made the points safe from that incident after referee Matt Messias decided to let play continue with the keeper flat out on the ground.

After the game Jensen was stretchered away with his neck in a brace and an oxygen mask affixed to his face to be taken to neighbouring Watford General Hospital.

But in an action packed game, Messias also caused controversy by awarding the visitors a penalty, even though Watford keeper Ben Foster clearly appeared to get to the ball before Ade Akinbiyi.

Then at half time, Akinbiyi was seen to be involved in a tunnel bust-up with defender Clarke Carlisle, although the incident was later played down by both bosses.

Watford, who have now found the back of the net three times in each of their last three games, took the lead after 11 minutes when new signing Malky Mackay did well to win the ball before turning and playing a defence splitting pass to Marlon King who advanced before striking a low cross-shot beyond Jensen to register his fourth of the campaign.

But just five minutes later Burnley were back on level terms thanks to the referee's intervention, and after a lengthy delay Garreth O'Connor calmly beat Foster from the penalty spot.

Foster was again called into action soon after to deny Akinbiyi who had beaten the offside trap.

But it was Watford who reclaimed the lead on the half hour when some fine build-up play ended with Gavin Mahon striking a 20-yard shot that was deflected past Jensen by Graham Branch.

The second half was a more scrappy affair, although the Hornets were not far away from extending their lead just before the hour when the outstretched leg of Ashley Young turned a Paul Devlin cross on to the outside of the post.

However, as the game worn on it was Burnley who looked the more likely to make the breakthrough and twice Foster did well to deny Akinbiyi and Gifton Noel-Williams.

But Jensen's misfortune led to the Hornets scoring their first, although it seemed to take an age for them to finally capitalise.

With the keeper lying on the ground, Darius Henderson seemed in two minds before playing the ball across the six-yard box.

No player was able to get a touch but Devlin crossed from the right, King's header was cleared off the line by Micah Hyde and then substitute Matthew Spring finally found a way through a crowded goalmouth to score on his debut.