First Team 1 month ago

Pre-Season Report: Ajax 2-1 Watford

By Kevin Affleck

At the foot of the Austrian mountains, the Hornets began their ascent towards peak fitness and match sharpness with a defeat by the odd goal at the hands of Ajax.

The decorated Dutch side fielded five players who came within a whisker of reaching the Champions League final and yet the Hornets largely went toe-to-toe with them in what must rank as the highest-profile opening friendly the club has ever played.

Andre Gray put the Golden Boys in front towards the end of the first half with a penalty only for Donny van de Beek to equalise not long after half-time. Jurriën Timber won it for the Eredivisie champions at the death, but results at this embryonic stage of the campaign are largely irrelevant.

While nobody wants to get rolled over in pre-season and would love to ride on the back of the confidence a win would bring, there were more important matters at stake and bigger fish to fry.

Javi Gracia got 45 minutes into 22 members of his squad, nobody appeared to pick up an injury and the players got to put into practise a few tactical and technical things they have been working on in training. Most pleasing was the sight of Craig Dawson thundering on for his first appearance since signing from West Bromwich Albion, and you got an early sense of what he is all about when he threw himself heroically in front of a shot from Lasse Schöne.

It was tough going for the Hornets early on. Daryl Janmaat warned everyone that the Dutch giants would look to retain possession and he wasn’t wrong. Erik ten Hag’s side stroked the ball about so neatly that the Hornets weren’t allowed to string an attack together in the opposition half for 15 minutes.

The Golden Boys eventually got to grips with things and, slowly but surely, manoeuvred their way into the game. Tom Cleverley curled a free-kick just over the bar with the Hornets’ first attempt on goal and then, from his position on the left-hand side of midfield, got his head on the end of a cross from Janmaat.

Academy graduate Harry Forster was stationed on the other wing and he could easily have gone down under a challenge from Daley Blind on the right-hand edge of the box on 25 minutes but he boldly opted to stay on his feet.

Back came Ajax and they forced two saves in quick succession from Daniel Bachmann, one to either side to firstly deny Perr Schuurs, who had marauded forward from the back, and then a better one to deny Quincy Promes, the Holland forward signed from Sevilla this summer. Bachmann will have been pleased with his first 45 minutes back in a Watford shirt, especially keeping that all-important clean sheet.

Dominik Kotarski, the Ajax goalkeeper, wasn’t able to boast that at the break after he was beaten by a penalty from Gray. The club-record signing was quickest to pick up the loose ball after the referee pointed to the spot and he justified his confidence by tucking one into the bottom right-hand corner. More pleasing than Gray getting off the mark was the nice bit of interplay between Stefano Okaka, Gray and Abdoulaye Doucouré that led to the goal.

The entirely new XI rolled out for the second period were tasked with finding a similar level of cohesion as the team showed in that move, but an unchanged Ajax side took advantage of the restructure to get back on level terms when Van de Beek stroked one in from the edge of the box.

That annoyed Gracia and it certainly irked Nathaniel Chalobah who clattered into Schöne soon after, earning the England international the second yellow card of the game. The other was shown to Ryan Gravenberch for diving.

Soon after, Pontus Dahlberg stood nice and big for long enough to thwart Răzvan Marin who had pretty much found himself one-v-one with the Swedish goalkeeper and then Watford’s other Swede, Ken Sema, cracked one with his sweet left foot, forcing Kotarski to dive full length to his left to keep it out.

There was very little in the game thereafter and Ajax won it a minute from time through Timber, but nobody will remember this result once the season is in full swing.


First-half XI: Bachmann (GK); Janmaat, Mariappa (c), Cathcart, Masina; Cleverley, Doucouré, Capoue, Forster; Gray, Okaka.

Second-half XI: Dahlberg (GK); Femenía, Dawson, Kabasele, Holebas; Hughes, Wilmot, Chalobah (c), Sema; Deulofeu, Success.

First Team 1 month ago

Away Tickets: Everton On Sale

Tickets for Watford’s first Premier League away trip of the season - against Everton at Goodison Park (Saturday August 17, 3pm KO) - are now on sale to Hornets supporters in Away Group A, B, C & D.


The final day for posting of tickets will be Wednesday August 14, 4pm. We will not post any tickets after this date. Tickets purchased after this date will need to be collected from the Vicarage Road Ticket Office.

Tickets can continue to be purchased online up until Friday August 16, 12noon. Ticket sales after this time will be over the phone & in person only.


Please find useful information below for all supporters travelling to Goodison Park.

Away Supporters Guide | *Please note that while this is Everton's 2018/19 guide, all the relevant information remains the same*


Tickets will be available ONLINE ONLY via tickets.watfordfc.com.

The Ticket Office Hotline on 01923 223023 can be called to seek assistance with online account information and for other general ticketing enquiries.

TICKET PRICES

Adults: £30
65 & Over: £25
18 & Under: £20

WHEELCHAIR & AMBULANT DISABLED

Priced as above, with a free personal assistant.

Please call the Ticket Office on 01923 223023 to purchase these, or email disabled.supporters@watfordfc.com for a call back.

AWAY GAMES: FAMILY AREA ALLOCATION

A dedicated area for family groups is now available at all of Watford's away games. These 'non-standing seats' are available by calling the Ticket Office on 01923 223023, and are subject to the usual Away Group A, B, C, D and E sales process.

Official club coaches: £10 per person. Current departure from Greenhill Crescent at 7am, however this is subject to change. All supporters will be informed if the location of departure changes. Milton Keynes pick-up in operation.

Under-18s attending any away game and/or travelling on official club coaches unsupervised MUST ensure an UNDER-18 AWAY FIXTURE CONSENT FORM is signed by a parent or guardian and returned to the Ticket Office (either in-person, by emailing ticket.office@watfordfc.com or by post to Watford FC Ticket Office, Vicarage Road Stadium, Watford, Herts, WD18 0ER) before the day of the game.

SALES ARRANGEMENTS - WHO CAN BUY WHEN?

Wednesday July 17, 12noon
- Away Group A

Thursday July 18, 12noon
- Away Groups A & B

Friday July 19, 12noon
- Away Groups A, B & C

Monday July 22, 12noon
- Away Groups A, B, C & D

Tuesday July 23, 12noon
- Away Groups A, B, C, D & E

Wednesday July 24, 12noon
- General Sale

Tickets are sold on a one per eligible Fan ID basis and subject to availability at all times.

AWAY FIRST ACCESS SALES GROUPS*

First Access Sales Groups mentioned below are specifically referred to and set out in the club's 2019/20 Away Match Ticket Sales Policy, available by clicking HERE:

Group A:
- ST holders 2019/20 with 15 or more away match ticket purchases under Fan ID record since July 2014

Group B:
- Non-ST holders with 15 or more away match ticket purchases under Fan ID record since July 2014

Group C:
- ST holders 2019/20 with less than 15 away match ticket purchases under Fan ID record since July 2014

Group D:
- Non-ST holder with between 1 and 14 away match ticket purchases under Fan ID record since July 2014

Group E:
- ST holders 2019/20 who wish to purchase additional tickets for friends and family who have not purchased away match tickets before

DUPLICATE TICKETS

Any supporters who have mislaid their tickets will need to contact the Ticket Office via email from Monday August 12 and a duplicate ticket will be arranged for you to collect on arrival at Goodison Park.

If you have not received your tickets in the post by Thursday August 15 please email ticket.office@watfordfc.com so we can ensure you are able to collect duplicates on arrival at Goodison Park.

For any ticket enquiries on the day of the game, our Ticket Office can be contacted for assistance from 10am on the usual number, 01923 223023.


Regular sales updates will be published here at watfordfc.com and via Twitter @WatfordFC.

How to contact the Ticket Office:
ticket.office@watfordfc.com / 01923 223023