‘We always demand better’– Moore
Posted: Friday, February 12th 2021
Saturday, February 13th 2021
City endured a torrid afternoon in Hertfordshire where they were stung 6-0 in the Hornets’ nest.
Ken Sema put Watford ahead as early as the second minute to set the tone of the game at Vicarage Road, his first of two first-half goals.
Ismaïla Sarr grabbed a brace of his own, with Will Hughes on the scoresheet with a deflected long-range drive.
And substitute Philip Zinckernagel added the sixth goal of the game in stoppage time to round off another disappointing journey on the road for the Robins.
Academy graduate Ryley Towler played 45 minutes on his Championship debut alongside Taylor Moore and captain Tomas Kalas, while Henri Lansbury started in midfield to make his second City appearance and Antoine Semenyo started up front alongside Famara Diédhiou.
The teams lined up against each other and paid their respects to Tony Collins, who represented both clubs during is career in football. The former Hornets player and City chief scout, as well as assistant manager under Alan Dicks, sadly passed away last week.
But attentions soon turned to the pitch and City were behind inside the second minute. A ball in behind Moore found the run of Sarr down the right who looked like he may have taken the ball too far but he managed a clipped cross at the byline. It deflected off Moore onto the crossbar but bounced down and off Sema who would know little about it, not that he would mind.
City had a spell of possession but ended up falling further behind when Vyner’s pass was short leaving Moore chasing Tom Cleverley. The midfielder had just enough time to hold the ball up and square a pass to the unmarked Sarr who placed the ball past Bentley to double the hosts’ lead.
Sarr could have had another but dragged a shot wide, while Moore produced a heroic piece of defending to block a Joäo Pedro shot from close range. But City’s afternoon got worse from the resulting corner.
The set piece was initially cleared by the well-positioned Moore again but only as far as Hughes, whose shot from range took a vital touch off the City centre-back to beat Bentley.
Pedro rattled the bar as Watford were denied a fourth goal of the day, but they would only wait a matter of minutes before Sema made sure of it. Watford benefitted from a fortunate ricochet down the City left and when Kiko Femenia clipped a ball into Sarr, he made no mistake with the pullback as Sema gratefully tapped home for his second of the afternoon.
A change in formation came at the break as Moore and Towler departed for Adrian Mariappa and Ádám Nagy, respectively, with Mapps returning to face his former club.
But Watford showed no signs of stepping off the gas and saw chances go to waste as they continued to dominate proceedings in the second half. Hughes saw a shot sail just off target as he tried to replicate his earlier goal, while Bentley denied Pedro from close range in an action-packed return to the game after half-time.
With ten minutes played in this second half Watford’s fifth goal arrived when Sarr picked up possession on the edge of the area and carefully placed the ball into the bottom corner.
Holden soon look to his bench again with Tyreeq Bakinson and Kasey Palmer on to replace Paterson and Lansbury, respectively, with Bakinson the closest to a consolation goal but his low effort sailed just wide of Daniel Bachmann’s goal.
However, further damage was dealt on the turnover as Watford found success on the counter attack when the ball found its way to the advancing Sarr and his one-two with Andre Gray set up an easy tap-in for Zinckernagel in stoppage time.
City will now look to fight back at home to Reading on Tuesday night (February 16th, 7.45pm KO), live on Robins TV.