...but Wat­ford boss still up­beat

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Sam El­liott

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

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

SWING LOW: Yoni Buyens keeps his shot low to beat Heurelho Gomes from the penalty spot for Charl­ton’s early win­ner

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