News and Views
Watford Win As Clarke Rests First Team
14 March 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?
Reading fielded a dramatically changed side at Watford as virtually the entire first team was rested ahead of the FA Cup replay against Bradford on Monday night. Everyone was expecting big changes to the team, but Clarke took it one step further and made nine changes from the side that beat Brighton at home on Tuesday night. Only Cooper and Akpan remained in the starting eleven from the last game. There were a lot of youngsters getting the most first team action they had seen in their careers so far, with older new signings also making their first appearances for the Royals.
Reading saw new signing Zat Knight make his Reading debut, as he started in defence after gaining clearance in the week to play. Debuts were also dished out to Jure Travner, who played the whole ninety minutes, and American teenager Andrija Novakovich who came off the bench for the last four minutes. Jack Stacey had his first ever start for the Royals, as did Niall Keown who only made his debut on Tuesday.
With such a lack of experience, and a team not used to playing together, the outcome was about as good as could be expected as Watford cruised to a 4-1 victory after taking the lead inside the first sixty seconds. Before match day Reading expected defeat away against a team challenging for automatic promotion. Before kick-off, as the teams were announced, that defeat seemed a certainty. After that first minute any small lingering doubts went out of the window. So to conceed just the four and see Jem Karacan make his return from injury and smash home a second half consolation goal didn't seem a terrible outcome given the circumstances.
Anderson was given a start with Federici saved for Monday night and might have been fortunate to pick just the four out of his net. Goals either side of the half time break sealed the result for Watford. Simon Cox was back up front for Reading after being left out of the last two fixtures but saw his chances very limited up front before being replaced on 59 minutes by Blackman. Yakubu played the full ninety minutes but also didn't make an impression. Karacan made it 1-3 on 70 minutes before Watford restored their winning margin with five minutes left to play.
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