MATCH REPORT: Cardiff City 2 - 1 Watford
THE Hornets suffered their first defeat of pre-season, going down 2-1 away at Cardiff City this evening (Tuesday).
Troy Deeney scored his second goal in two games for the Hornets, but two Joe Mason goals secured the victory for the home side.
Mason gave City the lead on 19 minutes, before a well taken goal by Deeney drew the Hornets level. However, Mason secured the victory for Cardiff on 80 minutes, as he coolly slotted past Arlauskis in the Watford goal.
Flores made two changes to the side that started against Dundee United, with Daniel Pudil coming in at left-back in place of Jose Holebas, while Ben Watson replaced Ikechi Anya in midfield.
That meant Heurelho Gomes kept his place in goal after consecutive clean sheets, with Allan Nyom, Craig Cathcart and Sebastian Proedl starting in-front of the Brazilian.
Valon Behrami and Etienne Capoue continued their partnership in midfield, while the front three consisted of Jose Manuel Jurado, Odion Ighalo and captain Troy Deeney.
New signing Steven Berghuis started on the bench for the Hornets, while Almen Abdi missed the game after picking up a slight knock against Dundee United.
After a slow start to the game, it was City who took the lead on 19 minutes. Scott Malone struck a powerful shot from the edge of the area which Gomes could only parry. The home side did well to keep the ball alive, and eventually worked the ball to Joe Mason inside the 6-yard box and the striker made no mistake, as he expertly tucked the ball past Gomes.
The goal seemed to lift City, and they came close to a second just a minute later, as Peter Whittingham fired over from the edge of the Watford box.
However, the Hornets responded well and had their first shot on target after 23 minutes. Daniel Pudil made good progress on the left flank before finding Ighalo on the edge of the box, but the striker could only fire straight at Simon Moore in the Cardiff goal.
The Hornets did draw level shortly after, thanks to captain Troy Deeney on thirty minutes. Cathcart picked the ball up on the halfway line and found Deeney in behind the City defence with a marvellous long ball. The Watford skipper controlled perfectly before calmly lifting the ball over the onrushing Cardiff keeper.
The second half saw Arlauskis, Holebas and Anya all introduced, with Anya nearly making an instant impact, but he headed just over from an excellent Allan Nyom cross on 46 minutes.
Full-back Nyom was beginning to cause problems for the Cardiff defence, and he was heavily involved ten minutes later. The Cameroonian defender made good ground down the right hand side, and his whipped cross was acrobatically met by Odion Ighalo, but he could only volley over.
The Watford pressure continued to grow, and the away side had a good chance to take the lead on 68 minutes. Simon Moore failed to deal with a Jurado corner, with the ball eventually falling to Watson after good work by Deeney. However, the Cardiff keeper recovered superbly as he palmed away the midfielder's goal bound shot.
Despite Watford’s second-half pressure, it was Cardiff who secured the win on 80 minutes. City central midfielder Joe Ralls split the Watford back line open with an inch perfect ball, and Joe Mason did the rest, coolly slotting past Arlauskis in the Hornets goal
New signing Steven Berghuis was introduced for the Hornets on 86 minutes as Flores searched for an equaliser, but he was unable to make the difference as the home side held out for the win.
HORNETS STARTING XI: Gomes (Arlauskis 45); Nyom, Proedl, Cathcart, Pudil (Holebas 45); Capoue (Anya 45), Behrami (Murray 86), Watson, Ighalo (Forestieri 64), Jurado (Berghuis84), Deeney (Vydra 74)
SUBS NOT USED: Angella, Paredes, Hoban
CARDIFF CITY STARTING XI: Moore; Peltier, Morrison, Connolly, Malone (Da Silva 84); Whittingham, Ralls, Pilkington (Noone 71), Dikgacoi (O’Keefe 71); Mason, Ameobi (Revell 64)