Under-18: Watford 3-2 Cardiff City
By Hamish Rogers
A delightful double from Dom Hutchinson and a touch of youth was the difference as the Under-18s overcame Cardiff City with the last kick of the game on Saturday (October 25).
Simon Clark’s squad is looking slim due to injuries but a team featuring three Under-16 players beat a stern Cardiff side 3-2, leaving it until a 94th minute corner to seal the three points at London Colney.
The win sees the young Hornets remain top of the U18 Professional Development League, three points ahead of Charlton, who have a game in hand.
Captain Hutchinson’s goal scoring form continued, tallying up two more for the season to take his total to 10, but it was Under-16 Enoch Muwonge who won the game, getting the faintest of touches on a Sonny Blu Lo-Everton corner.
“I’m super, super pleased with the result, a really young side, three Under-16s starting, five players due to injuries and illness playing out of position, it’s such a good result for the group,” said Clark.
The age gap certainly wasn’t evident in the opening stages of the game as Watford enjoyed the majority of possession and chances. After testing the Cardiff ‘keeper a number of times, Watford struck the post around the 15-minute mark. JJ McKiernan danced through three challenges before youngster Damani Hunter’s effort struck the woordwork.
On the half-hour mark, and certainly against the run of play, Cardiff took the lead. It was a freak goal, as Jordan Harrison attempted to clear his lines but found the ball rebounding off a Cardiff forward and into the roof of the net.
Watford responded well, and there are no prizes for guessing who grabbed the Hornets’ equaliser just five minutes later. Hutchinson, bearing down on goal, found some space on his left foot, and rifled the ball into the top-right corner, leaving the honours even at the half.
After a rather uneventful opening stage of the second half, it took until the hour mark for the Cardiff number one to pull off an incredible save to deny Hunter one-on-one.
Ten minutes later it was double for Hutchinson. The Watford forward cut in off the left and coolly curled his effort into the far bottom corner.
Watford looked to have sealed the win with 89 on the clock, but with the last kick of the 90 an unmarked Cardiff header at the back post levelled the game.
The game wasn’t over, though, as the referee added four minutes of injury time and the hosts simply wouldn’t settle for a draw. With the last kick of the game, Lo-Everton curled in a lovely floating corner and Muwonge’s glance secured the win for the Hornets.
“It’s really pleasing for our will, to concede in the 89th, really late on, then for us to get all the way up the pitch in the last minute of the game two minutes after that, work a set play and win the game. It was absolutely outstanding,” said Clark.
HORNETS: Baptiste, Harrison, Evans, Lo-Everton, Conteh, Maclean, McKiernan, Hunter (Jackson 78), Thompson (Muwonge 78), Hutchinson, Manning
Subs not used: Marriott, Pradham, Vazagkasvili