Under-18: Watford 2-2 Ipswich Town
Watford Under-18s were pegged back at the death by Ipswich Town in a draw which “felt like a defeat”, but there was plenty to celebrate, including a second goal in three games for Under-16 Enoch Muwonge, as the side remain top of the table.
Injuries meant two Under-16s started and more were on the bench for Simon Clark’s side, but the young Hornets started brightly and scored first from a set play after 16 minutes. Jack Burchell made a run to the back post and played the ball back to captain Dom Hutchinson, who made no mistake in converting the chance to score his 11th goal of the season.
Ipswich Town equalised shortly after, scoring from close range after the hosts failed to clear a ball into the box, but the Hornets regained the lead after 35 minutes with an excellent team goal finished by Muwonge – who was making his first start for the Under-18s.
“Even though he [Muwonge] is not big, he’s very bright and he’s got quick feet and he’s got a spring as you can see from his goal,” said Clark. “It was a really good goal, we’ve gone from our box to theirs without them touching the ball, in seven passes. He’s come into the group, he’ll chirp up and ask questions, the kid wants to learn. It’s a positive thing in a young person looking to forge a career in football.”
The Hornets went into the break ahead and had numerous chances to extend their lead in the second period but were not able to find an elusive third goal. An unlikely second equaliser eventually came after 88 minutes, when too much time was awarded for the visitors to pick their spot from the edge of the box and finish past Harvey White.
“We’ve come out and it looked like there was only one team which was going to go on and win it,” said Clark. “We’ve got in really good areas around their penalty box but taken too long on the shot or waited and it’s been blocked. We were too slow. As soon as we would go 3-1 up, they would lose all of their spirit.
“The previous four chances before that were all ours and the lads were walking off and it felt like a defeat. What we’ve got to understand is, when we’re on top by one goal, you’ve got to go all out and keep your levels and keep that ruthlessness, keep to our philosophy and score that third goal.”
Despite feeling as though the draw was two points dropped, the Under-18s remain top of the Under-18 Professional Development League and face Crystal Palace away next on Friday November 22.
HORNETS: White, Maclean, Evans, Sankoh, Conteh, Burchell, Harrison, Thompson (Hunter 90), Hutchinson, Muwonge (Horsewood 72), McKiernan.
Subs not used: Hall, Marriott, Forde.