Charlton Athletic 1 - Watford 0
I'm not trying to say there's anything remotely advantageous about having your club nickname as a nondescript creature of the sea that's famous for being 'battered', - (a haddock is highly unlikely to strike fear in anybody other than those with a seafood aversion) - but surely the 'Golden Boys' must be the campest name in the division?
The Golden Boys take the train to Charlton.
Pre game, those Watford supporters who spend time on social media had been ridiculously upbeat and confident. Apparently, the simple fact they were selling out the 3000 seats in the Jimmy Seed stand with it's excellent acoustics meant that Charlton wouldn't know what hit us.
As we know to our cost, time and time again we have saved up some of our worst and most dispiriting performances for when we have taken the largest away followings.
Watford should have taken note.
The game started with a bang.
Jordan Cousins caught the Watford midfield napping and slipped the ball through to Igor who nipped into the penalty area to be brought crashing to the turf by a desperate Gomes dive.
The penalty was not in dispute. Gomes received a card though many neutrals would have expected it to be red as Vetokele was denied a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Three minutes on the clock and Charlton were 1-0 up after Buyens cooly placed the penalty to the other side of Gomes despairing dive.
Watford came back almost instantly with the ridiculously easy to dislike Troy Deeney scraping the post within moments.
Watford stepped it up a gear. While never really looking like they were going to get the better of a well organised and solid defence, they made some good chances.
Much like Brighton did in our last outing they also gave a master class in duff finishing.
On ten minutes, three sides of the ground made a moving tribute to ex player and fans favourite David Whyte (Whyte, Whyte), who died at just age 43 earlier in the week.
To their credit, a high proportion of the Watford support joined in.
Well done to them.
Around half an hour into the game, Deeney showed Tal Ben Haim a clean pair of heels and drove into the penalty area. It looked dangerous but he waited until his control of the ball was beginning to fail before falling to the turf. On another day he'd have won himself a penalty but the referee wasn't convinced by the rather hopeful tumble.
Despite the numerous changes in management up in Hertfordshire, there is still a rather cynical and nasty side to the way Watford play. The diving, blocking runners off the ball, holding etc etc are still there when with the squad they have, they could tear up the division playing the beautiful game.
Watford decided they were going to play ugly -an obvious tactic was to foul the 'danger man' Igor Vetokele whenever they got the chance.
The games between our two teams in recent years have often ended up with the Watford players losing their cool. It looked for a while as if it would be a certain bet that there'd be a bit of a ruck and someone would get their marching orders.
The fact that nobody did was amazing.
A Watford player received a yellow for swinging his elbow with force and guided direction to connect with a face. How is that not a red?
It seemed very odd that Cousins received the same punishment for telling the hapless referee he'd made an horlicks of awarding a goal kick when everybody else in the ground (and watching on television) could see it was a corner.
As much as Watford huffed and puffed, they never really got going. They bossed the possession and had countless assaults on goal but the Charlton defence stood solid.
Whenever there was a chink in the defence, Henderson was there to block the path to goal.
Henderson and Bikey were my MoM contenders.
Both were immense. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of a Bikey challenge and some of the Watford players did seem rather 'anxious' to lay the ball off when he came close.
His clearing headers had power and distance.
In added on time, Charlton should have put the game to bed but some terrible player decisions and aversion to shooting only lead to losing possession and Watford haring up the other end to try yet again to break down the defensive wall.
After an eternity of added on time, the referee finally blew his whistle, we let out a deep sigh and The Valley rose as one.
The Watford support had long since stopped believing- forgetting to support their team and resorting to "Your ground's too big for you!" chanting.
Irony piled upon irony.
This was coming from Watford, a place notorious as being one of the worst venues to watch football in the league. A ground with only three sides and the highlight being you get a decent view of the allotments.
Never mind eh?
Personally, I was extremely happy to get a result as my birthday had been the day before the game.
It may be a trick of my mind (and in all honesty I can't be bothered to look it up) but it did seem that we always got a bit of a tonking when football played a part in my birthday weekend.