17/07/2017

Under-23 | Wealdstone 1-0 Watford

Watford's Under-23 side continued their pre-season preparations with a narrow defeat at Wealdstone on Saturday (July 17).

A fairly even match where Watford dominated possession saw an 86th-minute winner from Abobaker Eisa settle the tie and bring an end to an entertaining match-up at the Vale.

The game started with the Hornets producing the better of the chances. Alex Jakubiak was arguably the spark that kept Watford in the game, and he let loose a swerving shot in the 11th minute that was only just turned over by ex-Hornet Jonathan North.

Wealdstone were struggling to break down the Hornets’ strong line of defence, and going into the second-half it was the away side who looked favourites to return home with the victory.

Possession began to even out in the third quarter, and as the game continued it was Jakubiak who appeared to be Watford's strongest threat, the striker sending a glancing header just over the bar.

With 10 minutes to play Jakubiak picked up the ball on the edge of the box and after outmuscling an opponent he cut out wide and blasted a shot into the side-netting.

But it was Wealdstone's Eisa who broke the deadlock with four minutes to go. After beating his man, the winger released a vicious attempt that flew past Watford's substitute goalkeeper Sam Howes at his far post.

No longer than a minute later the same man came inches away from repeating his heroics, as another rocket from even further out slammed off the outside of the post.

As the whistle blew it was the Wealdstone players who left the pitch smiling, a magical piece of play from Eisa ensuring the tie finished 1-0 to the Stones.

HORNETS: Gartside (GK) (Howes, HT); Sesay, Huja, Rogers (Trialist, 53), Eleftheriou; Ryan, Stewart; Trialist (Mukena, HT), Charles (Trialist, HT), Pereira (Bradbury, 64); Jakubiak.

Report by Rory Hemmings / Photos by Sam Lomas

First Team 14/07/2017

Chalobah | Exclusive First Interview

Walking into the Hornets' London Colney Training Ground was a very different experience second time around for Nathaniel Chalobah. 

Highly rated, fresh-faced and just 17-years-old when he arrived in 2012, the Chelsea loanee came without so much as a first-team notch on his belt, to a club that was itself venturing into a new era.

A Premier League winner rolled through the UCL gates on Thursday night to sign a five-year deal.

The 22-year-old's journey since his 42-game breakthrough season with the Hornets has seen him take in experiences both rewarding and hardening, giving him the grounding, he says, to further his career at Vicarage Road. 

“I think since my first time here, I tried to go forward and improve within myself,” he explained exclusively to watfordfc.com.  

“I've had some good loans, some bad loans. Last year for me was a year I'll never forget, in terms of winning the league, but also with a manager who gave me an opportunity.

“But that's in the past now isn't it really? In football, people only remember the last thing you did. I want to focus on what's now, here at Watford.”

You can watch the full interview above (free, no sign-up required) in which Chalobah talks in detail about his reasons for leaving Chelsea, admiration for his new Head Coach and his international ambition.