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September 27 2023 3.05am

Not pretty – but point gained

April 23 2018

Eagles supporters at Vicarage Road… a disappointing game but another point on the board

Eagles supporters at Vicarage Road… a disappointing game but another point on the board

Palace’s last-but-one away fixture was a visit to Watford. Jamesey and Wilf King report.

It would have had to have been one helluva game to match the nerve-shredding excitement and anxiety of last week’s match against Brighton (April 14) and this one definitely wasn’t.

Looking back over the years, this supporter can’t recall any traditional ill-feeling against Watford FC - quite the opposite really; another small, friendly family club usually mirroring the Eagles’ efforts to stay in touch with the Big Boys.

Maybe it was the play-offs final in 2013 where CPFC gained promotion 1-0 at the Hornets’ expense through a penalty decision for a foul on Wilfried Zaha.

Since then Watford’s intense dislike of Wilf has escalated into a greater inter-club enmity, focused on the No 11’s alleged propensity for diving – remember Harry the Hornet’s insulting mockery at Vicarage Road last season. Most unmascotlike behaviour!

To a lesser degree, the Eagles have responded with some venom against Watford’s Troy Deeney who has a habit of scoring important goals against CPFC.

The whole thing boiled over in the second period of the game when Wilf was booked for simulation in the Hornets’ box.

The arguments could go on for ever about the booking and there was no doubt about the delight of the home crowd whose high level of abuse and animosity to Wilf had been evident every time he touched the ball.

Although he is a far more skilful player, Wilf sometimes reminds me of former Palace striker, Andy Johnson, whose lightning pace meant he was sometimes toppled by the slightest touch.

Wilf, like Andy before him, has to carry a reputation of falling for the briefest contact and sitting on the pitch, wide-eyed and bawling at the officials, does little for his cause.

The less said about the first half the better. The Eagles were comprehensively outplayed in every department.

Joel Ward had another dodgy game and early on nearly put the hosts ahead with a suicidal back-pass. For the second game running, one wonders why he is preferred to Aaron Wan-Bissaka. It’s hard to see Roy Hodgson’s reasoning on this one. Deeper experience, one guesses.

The red-and-blues were very fortunate to end the half with a 0-0 scoreline.

After the fireworks of the Zaha penalty incident, the Eagles began to play themselves back into the game and looked far more like the gritty and skilful team its supporters are used to.

And when all is said and done, it was a battling away point in the annual relegation tussle.

Despite small compensations, the game was one to be quickly consigned to history’s litter bin and my friend Wilf King (report below), who travelled to Watford for the match, was rather more embittered than an away match saloon bar supporter like me.

No love lost here

The pre-match talk was that Watford were on a slump and three points were there for the taking. How wrong can you be? There are no easy three points in the Premier League.

Watford and Palace do not like each other and it was a feisty affair from kick-off at Vicarage Road.

At about 41 minutes (when Watford had a free-kick) I wrote: "Let’s get to half-time"!. I also added "{sh*t} ref – out of his depth”. The Palace fan behind me noted my comment and said: “I agree with that".

Half-time 0-0.

As dire as the first half was the second period didn’t offer much better.

When Roy Hodgson brought Christian Benteke on for James McArthur in the 81st minute it was obvious he was 'playing' for a point.

One shot on target in the 34th minute summed up a drab and unexciting afternoon. The only high spot was Mamadou Sakho at his best and deservingly being rewarded with Man of the Match.

As I have said previously "a point is a point" and a draw was a fair result as neither team deserved to win this match.

Wilf King

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