Watford 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1

Last updated : 29 October 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Watford taught Wolves a harsh lesson in the importance of taking chances as they claimed arguably their most significant victory of the season to rise to fourth in the Championship table.

The value of the three points was impressive because it has to be seen in the context of a first half in which Glenn Hoddle's side produced the best 45 minutes of football by a visiting team at Vicarage Road this season, and could have been as many as four goals to the good by the interval.

The fact the scoreline remained at 0-0 was mainly down to the brilliance of Hornets goalkeeper Ben Foster.

The on-loan Manchester United shot-stopper was in inspired form, producing five top class saves, the best of which was a remarkable stop to prevent Kenny Miller heading home from two yards.

But Wolves were made to pay for their profligacy, and their poor defending at set pieces, as Watford wrapped up the points with three goals in a devastating 11-minute spell.

After Darius Henderson forced Michael Oakes into a smart save early on, Wolves dominated the first-half goalmouth action but somehow failed to break the deadlock.

Foster was first called into action in the 21st minute when he did well to deny Leon Clarke from close range.

Soon after Watford keeper again thwarted the Wolves striker, but Clarke only had himself to blame for missing his next opportunity, sliding a Lee Naylor cross badly wide from close range.

Watford were then saved by a post after Miller's 20-yard shot looked destined for the back of the net.

Foster again took centre stage just before the interval, denying first Darren Anderton and then performing heroics to keep out Miller's header.

Watford got their defensive act together after the break and came more into the game, but there was still no clue as to what was to follow in the final quarter of the match.

The Hornets went in front in the 69th minute when Jay DeMerit ghosted across the front of the Wolves defence to head an Ashley Young corner firmly past Oakes.

The American centre-half turned supplier eight minutes later, delivering a magnificent 50-yard pass to Young on the right side of the Wolves penalty area. Watford's leading scorer instantly laid the ball inside to Marlon King, who managed to nick the ball past Oakes and squeeze a shot past a covering defender from an almost impossibly tight angle.

The visitors were again undone from a corner three minutes later when the unmarked King flicked on Young's delivery and Paul Devlin stabbed the ball into the roof of the net from a yard out.

Substitute Ki-Hyeon Seol did net a deserved consolation for Wolves late on, but Hoddle's nightmare afternoon had already been completed by the sight of star striker Miller being stretchered off with a torn hamstring.