We took a young team to play Guildford, which included six 2000/2001-born players in the ten-man squad. Thankfully Dennis Brierley, John Pickford, Steve Behr and Chris Jones were on hand to provide some much-needed experience and to boost the average age of the squad.
Sadly the team weren’t inspired by the fantastic facilities offered by the Surrey Sports Park. Thanks to some indifferent defending on our part, and in spite of some good attacking play, Watford ended the first quarter 6-1 down. Only a goal close-in by Steve Behr got us on the score sheet.
Thankfully things improved in the second quarter. The team defended a lot better, and Chris was on hand with some great saves whenever Guildford had a chance to shoot. While Guildford managed just a single goal against us in this quarter, we still lacked some conviction in attack, and our goal drought continued.
A motivational speech from John Pickford from the poolside at half time proved to be most fruitful. Suddenly the younger players took their opportunity, working together so much better as a team. Often in the shadows when playing in Watford teams with more senior players, they took their chance to shine.
Guildford started the third quarter with another goal, taking it to 8-1. But then a counter by Adam Page found Jarryd Myburgh in space, and he buried it into the Guildford net from 5m. Guildford responded with another goal. Adam then linked up beautifully with Steve Behr, who tapped in for Watford’s third after driving across the Guildford goal. The quarter finished with a fourth goal, as Will Eggleton powered in a shot from 5m, as Watford finally converted a man-up advantage. The quarter ended with a more respectable score line of 9-4.
Guildford started the final quarter with another goal, but a great save at close range by Chris denied them a second. Watford quickly responded with William Morris passing out to Will on the right wing, who surprised the Guildford goalie with a bounce shot from distance. Imitation is the best form of flattery I guess, and Guildford fired back to an 11-5 lead with their own long range effort.
Watford added their sixth goal in great style, with Adam countering, passing to William, who got it to Anthony Droungas, who coolly lobbed the Guildford goalie.
Guildford finished the game 12-6, after scoring their final goal, in what must be conceded was a very well-worked man-up.
It was a great second half performance by the Watford team, and so nice to see the younger players have enough of the ball and get the pool time they needed to get their teeth into the match. And John, Dennis, Chris and Steve deserve recognition for their hard work in ensuring that we played as a team
An enjoyable match (well, the second half was) more than made up for a disappointing result.