Peterborough United


The Hornets rounded off their 2023/24 pre-season campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over a Peterborough United XI at Vicarage Road, with a Vakoun Bayo brace and a Matheus Martins strike making the difference in the behind-closed-doors clash.

After the first chance of the afternoon had fallen to the visitors in the early stages - that failed to force skipper Daniel Bachmann into a save - Watford quickly grew in confidence with James Morris and Martins looking particularly lively in wide positions.

The first goal duly followed an increase in home pressure, with forward Bayo latching onto a pin-point ball over the top and lobbing the away goalkeeper with a precise shot that bounced in off the post in the 14th minute.

Martins backed up his strong start with the second just five minutes later, the Brazilian starlet firing in from the corner of the penalty area after showcasing some neat footwork to put the Golden Boys in a commanding position.

There was just time for the Posh stopper to prevent Ken Sema making it 3-0 at the end of the first half, with the Swedish winger meeting a low cross to volley on target in the seconds before the referee’s whistle.

Sema was involved in Watford’s third little over 20 minutes into the second period, when his clever cutback found Bayo in space, who coolly slotted home to effectively put the result beyond doubt.

Ivory Coast international Bayo narrowly missed the target when presented with a hat-trick opportunity five minutes later, and then substitute Ryan Andrews went close with a drilled effort across goal.

Yáser Asprilla came within inches of adding a fourth to the Hornets’ tally late on, flashing his low shot just past the post, and then Samuel Kalu similarly missed the target after leaving his marker for dead as Watford continued in the ascendancy up to full-time.

Reflecting on the game, and pre-season as a whole, full-back Morris said: “It’s a good way to finish off our preparations for the first game of the new season next week. We kept a clean sheet, scored some goals and got the win.

“It’s been a long few weeks, but very enjoyable. It’s been intense, and the Head Coach has worked us hard but I’ve loved it. It’s been good learning his system and we all understand how he wants us to play now.

“There’s a really good team ethos around the place at the moment. We all want to work for each other, and I think that’s what the fans want to see on the pitch.

“The new boys have slotted in really well, including Jamal [Lewis] who I’m looking forward to working with. It’s always great to have top players come into the club and hopefully he’s someone I can learn from.

“From a personal point of view I just want to build on last season and keep playing games. We’re all excited to be back here at The Vic for the QPR game, and hopefully we can get the right result.”

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