Under-23 Report | Watford 3-0 Colchester
Watford Under-23s surfed on the back of the wave created by the first-team this afternoon, defeating Colchester United to further add to the feel-good factor around the club.
At the scene of the exhilarating win over Arsenal, Hayden Mullins’ young side rose to the occasion of playing on the carpet of a pitch at Vicarage Road and won the Professional Development League game against a side coached by former Hornet Wayne Brown with ease to end a spell of three straight league defeats.
Watford won it with two goals in the space of nine first-half minutes from Brice Dja Djédjé and Michael Folivi, before the pair combined for the latter to slot in his second on 72 minutes. It was all quite straight-forward.
Two members of Marco Silva’s coaching staff were present and they would no doubt have been impressed. They were there, in part, to run the rule over Daniel Bachmann in goal but, such was Watford’s control, he barely had a save to make.
There was cause for alarm late on when the big Austrian was left flat out following a corner. He took a while to get to his feet but, thankfully, left the pitch unaided and was substituted just as a precaution.
The game was a slow burner and took a while to come to life. Indeed the only goalmouth action in the first 30 minutes was a header from Joy Mukena, craning his neck, nodded over at the far post after Folivi stood the ball up.
From the half-hour mark, though, Watford began to be more assertive and seized control of the game.
Two minutes after Brandon Mason let fly with a rasping, rising effort that was tipped over the bar, Folivi won a penalty following a short corner with Dja Djédjé. Folivi took the last penalty at Southampton, and scored, but the Ivorian pulled rank this time and made no mistake, drilling the ball low into the far left-hand corner.
Dja Djédjé was now a man on a mission and he was leading the press soon after, which was typical of the commitment he’s shown in his last three games playing for this side.
Charlie Rowan followed his lead and took one in the midriff soon after. It was exactly the sort of spirit Mullins would have been after following a dodgy run of form.
The Hornets were now doing all the dirty work, putting in the hard yards and making most of the running, but they also had that bit of extra quality on the ball, evident when Folivi scored the second on 44 minutes. Picking up the ball on the left, the striker cut across the edge of the box, took a touch, steadied himself before firing into the far bottom right-hand corner. It was a clinically taken goal.
Had Rowan shown similar killer instinct, at the far post from a corner, then Watford would have been three goals to the good immediately after half-time.
But the commitment was still high, still running like a hot streak through this side, none more so when Rowan and Andrew Eleftheriou clattered into each other in an attempt to block an attempt on goal. It meant that much to keep a clean sheet.
Watford were more cultured at the other end and wrapped things up when the overlapping Eleftheriou picked out Dja Djédjé at the far post. The Ivory Coast international, who showed a good awareness of space all afternoon, cushioned the ball to Folivi and he bent the ball into the far corner. Game, set and match.
HORNETS | Bachmann (Gartside, 83); Rowan, Ryan, Mukena; Eleftheriou (Sesay, 78), Stewart, Dja Djédjé, Mason; Pereira (Charles, 68); Folivi, Williams.
Subs not used | Huja, Bradbury.