2010 WATFORD 1 NEWCASTLE UTD 2
14 Van Aanholt
08 Guthrie (Pancrate 89)
18 Gutierrez (Taylor 88)
20 Best (Ranger 74)
And so the Newcastle juggernaut rolls on. What was remarkable about this victory was its almost complete lack of anything to remark on. Two goals, and a six-point lead at the top of Championship, compiled with the minimum of fuss.
Newcastle, long noted for their lassitude south of Watford, looked pin-sharp in the town itself. Watford had not conceded at home so far this year, but within four minutes they had succumbed to the black-and-white blitzkrieg.
Danny Guthrie’s free-kick from the left touchline found Andy Carroll, whose header looped across the face of goal. Fabricio Coloccini did the honours, nodding past Scott Loach into the corner of the goal. It was the eighth time this season Newcastle had scored in the first 10 minutes of a game.
Watford attempted to claw their back into a match they had missed the start of, but without the suspended Nathan Cleverly, were unable to lock Newcastle’s defence. The closest they got was Danny Graham’s mistimed shot from 12 yards that Steve Harper gathered comfortably.
For their part, Newcastle were content to sit on their lead and neuter Watford’s hopeful lofted balls into the channel. The first half rarely threatened to entertain, although the home fans were at least able to cheer the booking of former Watford player Mike Williamson.
But in the second half, just as in the first, Newcastle pounced early. Again Watford failed to mark tightly enough at a Guthrie corner, and six yards out in the centre of the goal, Carroll was allowed to rise unchallenged for the ninth goal of what is fast becoming his breakthrough season.
As sheets of rain began to lash down, prompting jocular chants of “this is unplayable” by the home supporters, Newcastle continued to defend stoutly.
By the time Watford were finally able to breach the dam, Will Hoskins lashing home after Heidar Helguson’s shot had deflected off Kevin Nolan, it was too late.
Watford manager Malky Mackay:
"When you look at the balance of play I think that we deserved something out of the game.
"We were playing the top team in the league and I think we coped well with the fact they decided to go long today. We won a lot of ball back off that and I thought we kept possession well and dominated play at times.
"I think it was our final ball that let us down today because we certainly got into the forward areas well."
Newcastle boss Chris Hughton:
"It's a tough place to come. They are side that have got a lot energy, they played very well at St James' Park earlier in the season.
"The first goal obviously set us off and we had a period in the second half where we were very comfortable and probably the only disappointing note of the afternoon was conceding the goal when we did."