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Matchday review

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Wed 21 Feb At 16.02 PM

Graham Taylor Matchday Review | Watford 0-0 Real Sociedad

  • Watford pay tribute to greatest ever manager at The Graham Taylor Matchday
  • Okaka goal ruled out during an improved second-half display 
  • Success misses a good chance late on for the Hornets
  • The Graham Taylor Trophy is shared after Watford's last pre-season friendly finishes goalless

The Hornets' final pre-season friendly against Real Sociedad ended in a goalless draw as Watford paid tribute to the club's greatest ever manager at The Graham Taylor Matchday.

After an emotional pre-match address from John Motson - friend of the Taylor family - and a moving minute's applause, Sociedad found themselves unable to make the most of their first-half dominance, largely thanks to some fine Heurelho Gomes goalkeeping.

The tributes continued at half-time as a host of GT's former players and coaches were paraded in front of the Vicarage Road crowd, while on the pitch Watford were left to rue a Stefano Okaka disallowed goal and Isaac Success' missed opportunity late in the second-half.

Honours even at full-time, The Graham Taylor Trophy was presented to both captains pitchside by Rita and Jake Taylor - Graham's wife and grandson.

Marco Silva set on a 4-2-3-1 formation, with new signing Nathaniel Chalobah featuring in the holding midfield role alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure. Jerome Sinclair started up front while Troy Deeney continues to recover from injury. 

Sociedad attacked from the off, looking threatening down both wings with Juanmi and Alvaro Ordriozola testing the Watford full-backs. A timely Younes Kaboul intervention denied Juanmi from getting through on goal.

Willian Jose had the first shot of the match, driven low to Gomes’ left, forcing a save from the keeper. Watford replied immediately, an inviting cross from Nordin Amrabat into the Sociedad box, but the defence cleared the ball away.

The Spanish side continued to ask questions with another cross from the right-wing towards Juanmi and Jose, who were waiting in the area, but Gomes rushed off his line to pick the ball off. 

Gomes was then forced back into action once more, a series of passes between Kevin Rodrigues and Juanmi tearing through the Watford defence before the former's shot was tipped over the bar.

David Zurutuza had an opportunity to put Real Sociedad ahead, but his long-range effort curled wide, followed minutes later by a shot from Mikel Oryazabal, whose strike was met by strong hands from Gomes.

The Hornets replied with a break from Doucoure, but the attack broke down and the scores were level as they headed into the break.

Watford looked more threatening in the second-half and an early chance from Tom Cleverley was followed by a curling shot from Roberto Pererya, which flashed just wide of the goal. 

The hosts thought they had broken the deadlock when Okaka’s header bounced in off the post, but the referee's assistant called the play back for offside. 

A 54th-minute free-kick on the edge of the Sociedad area saw Chalobah’s strike blocked by the wall, and the midfielder's rebound was also cleared away. The new signing then had another chance to put his side ahead, but was unable to make contact with the cross.

Okaka could have put his side ahead in the 77th minute, but he met Kiko Femenia’s cross from the right-wing with a volley that went wide.

Fellow substitute Success could have sealed the win in the 87th minute, but the Nigerian blazed the ball over the bar from inside the six-yard box and the scores stayed level. 

HORNETS: Gomes (GK) (c); Janmaat (Femenia, 70), Kaboul (Mariappa, 79), Britos (Prodl, 71), Holebas (Mason, 79); Doucouré (Watson, 72), Chalobah (Capoue, 70); Amrabat, Cleverley (Hughes, 71), Pereyra (Success, 70); Sinclair (Okaka, HT).
Sub not used: Pantilimon (GK), Bachmann (GK).

SOCIEDAD: Rulli (GK); Elustondo, Rodrigues (Januzaj, 65), Navas, Odriozola (Gorosabel, 65); Canales (Prieto, 61), Illaramendi (De La Bella, 65), Zurutuza; Juanmi (Aggiretxe, 74), Oyarzabal (Concha, 65); José (Guevara, 65).
Subs not used: Toño (GK), Vela, Pardo.

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Moooooney 🙌🏻⚽️ Legend! #watfordfc #thankyougt

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At the Vic .... thank you GT #watfordfc

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Meeting Harry #watfordfc #harrythehornet

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