Taylor's treble, no consolation in the ultimate ?Throw one in'

Last updated : 16 December 2005 By John Robertson
Dean Bowditch - scored in the game last season
Adrian Boothroyd’s Watford side are our opponents for this the first of two consecutive home fixtures.

Earlier in the season, a patched up Burnley outfit lost 3-1 at Vicarage Road, where Garreth O’Connor got our only goal of the game with a well converted spot kick.

However it was the events that took place in the dying stages of the match, which left Burnley fans infuriated and feeling cheated, as Watford played on for several seconds, despite Claret’s keeper Brian Jensen lying pole axed on the deck. It was a bitter pill to swallow, especially after having seen the young Claret side on show, battle so admirably throughout.

To make matters worse, the post match comments of Watford manager, Adrian Boothroyd, clearly riled Clarets supporters when he commented that ‘winning is everything’ in reference to his side scoring THAT goal in order to guarantee the points. Consequently, the unsporting Boothroyd can expect a very hostile reception as he walks to his dugout tomorrow afternoon.

On the other side of the coin, one must praise Boothroyd for the fantastic work he has done at Watford. One of the favourites for the drop in pre season, the Hornets have been one of he division’s front runners from very early on in the campaign, thanks mainly to some astute transfer dealings and some fine coaching from Watford’s young manager – credit where credit most certainly is due.

As we take a look back at some of our recent home games against the Hornets, coincidentally it was Adrian Boothroyd’s first game in charge as full time manager as the Clarets brushed aside a poor Watford side in one of the closing fixtures of season 2004/2005.

Adopting a 4-4-2 formation with Ade Akinbiyi and on loan forward, Dean Bowditch leading the line, Steve Cotterill’s side put in an excellent first half display and deservedly went one nil up as Bowditch ran on to a fine Mo Camara pass to dispatch a low left footed drive past Richard Lee in the Golden Boys’ goal. A second goal followed soon after as James O’Connor sent a fizzing volley along the deck and into the keeper’s right hand corner from a tidy lay off.

The second half display was somewhat different, with Watford now the team exerting the pressure. After Graham Branch had conceded a corner through some sloppy play, the Hornets found themselves back in the game as Dominic Blizzard dispatched a near post header beyond Brian Jensen’s reach.

More pressure followed but not surprisingly, the impressive Gary Cahill and John McGreal partnership kept the opposition at bay. Late on, a piece of good fortune enabled Ade Akinbiyi to run clear on the right hand side, after the ball had struck his left arm. Burnley’s 600k signing slotted an unselfish pass to the advancing Jean-Louis Valois who walked the ball into the net for his second goal in as many home games. The scoring was complete and it ended 3-1 to the Clarets.

Gareth Taylor - a first half hat trick
When you saw that this week’s fixture was against Watford, how many of you reminisced back to that surreal game in April 2003? Bizarre doesn’t come close to describing the events of that afternoon’s match - after all, it’s not often that you witness one of your strikers scoring a first half hat trick, just to keep his side in the game, as they go in for a cup of tea and an orange segment trailing by five goals to four!

Gareth Taylor was the one player in Burnley’s side that could hold his head up high at the end of the game, he was excellent and his hat trick was a fitting reward for the effort he had put in throughout the game.

Michael Chopra stole the headlines though, as the on loan Newcastle United forward scored four goals, albeit after being gifted with the opportunity to do so on each occasion. Even our very own Micah Hyde got himself in the act, by advancing into the box unmarked and stroking home an accurate cross beyond Marlon Beresford. Watford’s other goals were scored by Brown and veteran, Neil Cox. It ended Burnley 4 Watford 7 (SEVEN) and it had provided us with yet another chapter in the season that was the ‘Throw One In’.

With a home fixture against Sheffield Wednesday to follow a few weeks later, there was still more to come; more bad tactics and more poor defending as we shipped another septet of goals to an already relegated Owls side – more of that in a few weeks though!

A year later and there were more goals as Watford came from behind to win. Mark McGregor gave the Clarets the lead but Watford were handed an opportunity to get back into the game with a bad penalty decision against Graham Branch. They took it and by the time Dele Adebola scored again for the Clarets, Watford had scored three and we were a beaten side.

In 2000/2001 the Clarets ended their first season back in division one with a comfortable victory against a Watford side being managed for the last time by former England coach, Graham Taylor. Goals from Andy Payton and a fine solo effort from John Mullin gave the Clarets a 2-0 win, leaving us just shy of the play offs spots in seventh place.

It was more of the same in 2001/2002 as a Glen Little goal inside five minutes sent Gianluca Vialli’s team back down south with nothing to show for their performance. The first goal of the game proved to be the winner and it was made by Paul Weller, who sent a perfect ball inside Watford’s right fullback. Little anticipated the pass impeccably and with the outside of his right boot, sent a fine curling shot, past Chamberlain into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.

With the exception of a Heidar Helguson header which glanced off the bar, Watford barely threatened to score all evening and Burnley thoroughly deserved to take all three points from the encounter.

Home games against Watford have been littered with goals. Tomorrow’s clash ought to be a good one, as Burnley put their excellent home record on the line against one of the Championship’s most consistent teams. At ten pounds a ticket, this is a great opportunity to get behind the lads and cheer them to another three points at Turf Moor before Christmas.