WATFORD RES 9 STEVENAGE RES 3
A WEEK after their 2-0 away defeat on Stevenage's home turf, the Hornets returned the favour through a 9-3 victory in an action-packed game at Boreham Wood this evening (Monday).
Marvin Sordell, Liam Henderson, Piero Mingoia and Matty Whichelow were all on target in a game whose scoreline looked more like a rugby score than a football score.
Watford's three points will bring them closer to league leaders Ipswich as they closed in on the Tractor Boys at the top of the totesport.com Combination League.
The home side fielded five trialists in their young team; Moses Barnett, Ryan James, Padraig Quinn, John Nolan and Rodney McDonald.
Watford set the pace very early on in the match when Michael Bryan made a great run down the right flank and chipped the ball to Liam Henderson in the centre, but the effort went wide of the left post.
In the second minute of the game, Watford gave the ball away in midfield, giving Stevenage the chance to surge forwards as striker Charlie Griffin had a go at goal. But his effort was high and sailed well over the bar.
Lee Boylan missed a sitter of a chance as the ball was crossed from the right and across Jonathan North's goalmouth. But Boylan couldn't get to the ball in time and the Watford 'keeper had little to worry about.
Quick-footed Bryan was amongst the action as his well-thought out lob from well in his own half met returning striker Marvin Sordell in the 18 yard box. But Sordell's first touch was just too heavy and the ball went out for a goalkick.
The visitors were putting up a good fight in the first quarter, obviously brimming with confidence from their 2-0 victory over the Hornets this time last week.
Trialist Rodney McDonald did well to hold the Watford defence at the back, providing a commanding physical presence in from of goalkeeper North and keeping the dangerous feet of Boylan at bay.
The visitors boasted an obvious physical advantage over the young Hornets, but this didn't trouble the likes of Bryan or Piero Mingoia, who out ran the Stevenage players in midfield many times, creating great passes and chances for the home side.
After a mis-cleared ball from trialist Rodney McDonald, the ball fell to Mitchell Cole ending the deadlock in the 20th minute with a powerful strike from the 25 yard mark to put Boro ahead in the game.
Watford replied in perfect fashion four minutes later after a great run from Mingoia through midfield connected perfectly with Sordell just on the edge of the penalty box and the striker sent it home for the Hornets.
Liam Henderson claimed a second goal for Watford two minutes later as his tall figure allowed his head to meet the ball for the young striker to send the ball to the back of the net.
The game was relatively evenly matched, the towering figures of the Stevenage defence demanding a strong presence over Watford, but they seemed no match for the talented feet of Mingoia, Bryan and Sordell.
Trialist Padraig Quinn had an effort on target on 32 minutes, determined to show the gathered crowd his talents, as he struck a ball straight at goal. Unfortunately, Boro 'keeper Dan Hancock had the effort well covered.
Bryan set up the third goal for the Hornets perfectly on 33 minutes as he characteristically dodged and darted through the right flank, feeding the ball into the awaiting Mingoia in the penalty area, the youngster finished the job in style to put the home side another goal ahead.
With five minutes to go until half time, Sordell almost got a second goal to his name and a fourth for Watford. His strike from the left of the penalty area just skimmed the post, sending Hancock leaping to his crossbar but the ball had unluckily rolled too far for Bryan to catch before it slithered out past the opposite post.
Watford stared the second half like they had finished the first, piling the pressure on the Stevenage goal through the pace and agility of Mingoia, Sordell and Bryan.
On 49 minutes, Sordell was forced off the field after getting winded, his replacement Matty Whichelow getting stuck straight into the action a minute later as the super sub finished off a great fourth goal for the Hornets.
The young trialist from Everton, John Nolan, had a great chance to impress the Watford management on 52 minutes, as he struck a powerful straight ball goalwards from just past the 18 yard box, but his effort was slightly wide.
A defensive mistake by McDonald gifted Stevenage with their second goal with 56 minutes of the game gone, scorer of the first goal for the away team Griffin finishing off for Boro.
And a minute later, Griffin was celebrating yet again as he caught the Hornets on the break and struck a low ball past the diving North in the Watford goal.
With the score at 4-3 to Watford, David Kerslake introduced the more experienced head of Eddie Oshodi to the defensive fold in favour of trialist McDonald and five minutes later, Kerslake replaced Amdy Yiadom with Adam Thompson to bring more fresh legs into the defence as the home side battened down the hatches and Stevenage raged on.
On 61 minutes, Henderson scored Watford's fifth goal, thanks to a great little tap on from substitute Adam Thompson to him at close range and the elder of the two sent the ball thundering to the back of the net with a strong strike.
Boro striker Joe Benjamin had North at full stretch on 70 minutes as he blasted a shot at the top left corner of his goal. But the ball was just a little too wide and the scoreline stayed at 5-3 to the 'Orns.
Substitute Whichelow staked his claim even further with another excellent strike on target on 76 minutes, the youngster's low, straight shot notching the score up to 6-3 to the Hornets as Stevenage began to suffer at the hands of their hosts.
Mingoia sailed the ball into the box in the 79th minute for Henderson to head home for the Hornets, making the job look way too easy for the home side, as Stevenage's' defence started to fall apart.
North made a heroic save a minute later down the other end as Stevenage attempted to reply to their four goal deficit. But moments later, they found themselves in trouble again as Minogia set up the eighth goal for Watford.
Whichelow earned a hat trick for the Golden Boys, thanks to Nolan's cross on 82 minutes, his dipping strike from outside the 18 yard box nestling safely in the back of the net, making the score an impressive 8-3.
North pulled off another finger-tipping save with two minutes to go until full time, the visiting team refusing to give up on trying to catch up with the feisty Hornets.
Henderson finished off the game in perfect form, his strike from the left side of the penalty box slotting into the left corner of Hancock's net on 90 minutes.
Moments later the referee put an end to Watford's pleasure and Stevenage's misery on a goal-filled evening at Boreham Wood.
WATFORD: North; Yiadom (Thompson 67), James, McDonald (Oshodi 59), Barnett; Bryan, Quinn, Nolan, Mingoia; Henderson, Sordell (Whichelow 49). Subs not used: Bond (gk), Brooks.
STEVENAGE BOROUGH: Hancock; Kenlock, Cole, Goldsmith, Palladino (O'Riodan); Albrighton, O'Neill, Griffin (Powell), Murphy (Cornhill); Boylan, Benjamin. Subs not used:Greene, Gooch.
GOALS: WATFORD: Sordell (24), Henderson (26, 61, 79, 90), Mingoia (33), Whichelow (50, 76, 82) STEVENAGE BOROUGH: Cole, (20), Griffin (56, 57)
BOOKINGS: WATFORD: Nolan (60)