NO AWARDS ON OSCAR’S FIRST DAY IN THE DUGOUT
...but Watford boss still upbeat
AMANAGER quitting with the top of the table in touching distance, rumours of player unrest and the club’s Italian ownership under scrutiny. There really was only so long that Watford were going to get away with it.
Oscar Garcia couldn’t carry on from where Beppe Sannino left off. Defeat, however undeserved, was always coming.
The new man just happened to be on the receiving end of the problems that have been forecast for some time.
A shame for Garcia, the likeable 41year-old who took Brighton & Hove Albion to the play-offs last season.
Yes, his first game in charge ended in defeat. An early penalty from Yoni Buyens decided it after Heurelho Gomes gave us all unwanted flashbacks to his Tottenham days.
But there was still enough to go on for the Spaniard, who feels Watford have every chance of sustaining a push for promotion, despite their chaotic start to the season.
“On another day we would have been comfortable,” said Garcia. “This is only my sixth day in charge. Because of the international break, we couldn’t train.
“I am proud of my players.We had 15 chances to score, but the only thing you can think is that it wasn’t our day.
“With our players, I am not worried for the future. People have told me it was one of Watford’s best perform--
ances of the season. If we carry on, we will win more games than we lose.We deserved much more from the game.”
Garcia pointed to a first-half incident when Troy Deeney was taken down inside the box by Tal Ben Haim, the Charlton centre-half. A clear penalty, he protested.
Charlton boss Bob Peeters didn’t exactly pour cold water over the suggestion that the player was fouled.
“Maybe it was,” he confessed. “Deeney went down but I think it could have been, yes.
“For our penalty, I was too far away. I thought it would have been a red card, but there was coverage from the defenders, I am told by the referee.”
With what has been going on at Watford, nobody was expecting anything but a frantic opening.
Jordan Cousins provided it, finding a loose ball and running at the heart of the Hornets.
He drove forward and picked a defence-splitting ball. Igor Vetokele knew what was coming, timing his run perfectly. He drew in Gomes and the keeper bought it – the Charlton forward was taken clean out. Second minute or not, it was an easy early call for referee Andrew Madley.
The goalkeeper couldn’t redeem himself, Buyens going low. Gomes left on his knees in more ways than one.
Deeney did his best to dig him out of a hole. The Watford forward, fresh from celebrating his new four-year contract, dropped his shoulder to wriggle free of Ben Haim, bending a shot well enough to beat Stephen Henderson but not the post.
The pair met again on the halfhour. Deeney went down under pressure from the former Chelsea defender, but the referee, hands behind his back, must have deemed the challenge a great one. No booking for simulation.
Watford weren’t coping as well with what Charlton had to offer. Three more players joined their goalkeeper in the referee’s book before half-time, most of them for blatant tugs on tricky Vetokele.
It really wasn’t Deeney’s day. The flag was already up when he tapped in with time running out. Substitute Lloyd Dyer’s cross was deflected on to the post and into his path, with the player deemed offside.
Still Watford probed. Dyer is a dream to bring on from the bench and he forced another fantastic reaction save from Henderson to keep the Addicks in front.
They should have made the game safe two minutes from the end but substitutes Callum Harriott and Franck Moussa were wasteful.
Peeters added: “I warned my players what a very good team Watford are – it is a massive result.”
ARM IN ARM: Watford’s Almen Abdi, left, clashes with George Tucudean of Charlton
SWING LOW: Yoni Buyens keeps his shot low to beat Heurelho Gomes from the penalty spot for Charlton’s early winner