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Match Reports

Watford v Norwich City

5 December 2015


NORWICH City were second best on Saturday afternoon as they were beaten 2-0 by Watford at Vicarage Road.

After the Canaries started promisingly, the home team soon took control of the game and went ahead when Troy Deeney scored a penalty following Alex Tettey's foul on Odion Ighalo.

Alex Neil made changes to try and alter proceedings, but in a scrappy game in difficult conditions, the Hornets always carried more of a threat in key areas and they merited the three points.

City's manager made a big selection call before kick-off as Declan Rudd was given an opportunity in goal in place of John Ruddy, his first league start for the Canaries since September 2011.

Tettey returned from injury and Nathan Redmond was also named in the starting eleven - Gary O'Neil dropped to the bench, while Wes Hoolahan missed out on the matchday squad altogether.

Watford, who entered the contest on the back of a 3-2 win over Aston Villa last weekend, made two changes from that game. They will have been looking for revenge for City's 3-0 win in the promotion race last season.

A blustery wind made for difficult conditions in Hertfordshire - it was the Canaries who adapted the quicker of the two sides, keeping the ball away from their hosts in the opening minutes.

Ben Watson had Watford's first shot on 12 minutes, but it was an ambitious effort that deflected to safety off former Hornets loanee Sebastien Bassong.

That led to Quique Sanchez Flores' side gaining momentum, as City struggled to keep hold of the ball on the rare occasions they got it over the next ten-minute spell.

Then, just before the half hour mark, Watford were awarded a penalty when Etienne Capoue robbed Tettey of possession and played in Odion Ighalo, who was subsequently brought down by the Norwich skipper.

Tettey was booked, and Hornets captain Deeney sent Rudd the wrong way from 12 yards, giving his team a lead they deserved having steadily taken control of the contest.

They continued on the ascendancy, and Ighalo had the ball in the net on 37 minutes when he turned home from Allan Nyom's header - but the frontman was adjudged to be offside.

Two minutes before the break for half-time, Rudd was called into action when the lively Ighalo nutmegged Ryan Bennett and raced in on goal - City's goalkeeper, however, was successful in making the block.

HALF-TIME: Watford 1-0 Norwich City

Neil made a half-time change in an attempt to change his team's fortunes. Mbokani replaced Redmond in a move that saw the Canaries switch to a 4-4-2 system to match their opponents.

Confusion in the Watford backline led to Robbie Brady being presented with an opportunity just two minutes after the restart. The winger latched onto a long ball, but dragged his effort wide off his stronger left side.

Up the other end, Ighalo beat Bassong in a tussle in the area to earn himself the space to shoot from a narrow angle, but Rudd got enough on the ball to turn it behind.

The game opened up but it was still Watford who carried the greater threat in the final third, with Ighalo twisting to force an opening and draw another save from Rudd on 66 minutes.

Neil took off Lewis Grabban and replaced him with Cameron Jerome, but in challenging conditions the Canaries weren't making the chances to get something from the match.

Rudd made an excellent save to deny Ighalo sharp down to his left, and when the striker got the better of Bassong moments later, City's stopper was on hand once again.

City pressed forward in the closing stages, but Ighalo got a deserved ninth goal of the campaign in stoppage time.

The Nigerian shrugged off the challenge of Bassong once more before slotting beyond Rudd and wrapping up the three points for his team.

FULL-TIME: Watford 2-0 Norwich City

GOALS: Hornets: Troy Deeney (pen 30), Odion Ighalo (90)

WATFORD: Gomes; Nyom, Britos, Cathcart, Ake; Capoue, Watson; Anya (Paredes 74), Deeney (c), Jurado (Abdi 77); Ighalo (Guedioura 90). Subs not used: Arlauskis (GK), Holebas, Diamanti, Oulare.

NORWICH CITY: Rudd; Wisdom, Bennett, Bassong, Olsson; Redmond (Mbokani 45), Tettey (c), Dorrans, Brady; Howson (Odjijda 78); Grabban (Jerome 67). Subs not used: Ruddy (GK), Martin, Mulumbu, O'Neil.

REFEREE: Mike Dean


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