Under-18: Watford 3-3 Colchester United
By Hamish Rogers
Watford’s Under-18s came from behind three times as Colchester proved a stern test for Simon Clark’s men on Saturday (October 5) – the youngsters leaving it late to grab an equaliser in what became their first draw of the campaign.
Dom Hutchinson added to his personal tally, making it seven goals in his seven appearances so far this season, grabbing a late leveller in the 89th minute of the game.
JJ McKiernan and Max Thompson scored the other two earlier in the game, and Clark’s side now lead the U18 Professional Development League South by one point.
“Our individual actions were, with and without the ball, off our level. Then we became a little bit desperate, but again we’ve created multiple chances to win the football match, so that’s a positive,” said Clark.
Despite enjoying the first few chances on goal in the early stages of the game, Watford’s lethargic play on the ball in their own half, as well as an individual error, gifted Colchester the lead inside the first 10 minutes through Jake Hutchinson.
Watford reacted well, and thanks to McKiernan’s piece of individual skill on the left wing, grabbed an equaliser in the 22nd minute. The youngster took a lovely touch to release the ball from under his feel, and coolly curled it inside the far post.
It took fewer than 10 minutes for the away side to regain the lead. Colchester's Hutchinson was given far too much time in the box to turn and slot home with ease, ending the half 2-1 to the visitors.
“The lads got equal and then we just conceded again, which is really poor and not like us”, said Clark.
Watford started the second 45 with a much greater intensity and after some sublime overlapping play down the right-hand side, brought the score level again, with Thompson nodding home from a cross just shy of the hour-mark.
Just seconds later, goalkeeper Harvey White was picking the ball out of the Watford net once again as the Hornets fell asleep immediately after scoring and found themselves trailing to a Harvey Sayers strike.
From then on there was some relentless attacking play from the Hornets, who had multiple chances to equalise. But it took until the final moments of the game for skipper Hutchinson to come to the home side’s rescue once again, scoring with one of the last kicks of the game to secure a draw.
“It’s tough, because when you’re top of any league, teams come and they change shape and they try to get a way to play” said Clark.
“They negate what you do and we just came off certain highs, both with and without the ball, so it’s really disappointing in that effect. It’s great that they kept working hard, but they’ve missed an opportunity today.”
HORNETS: White (GK), Conteh, Maclean, Lawal, Matthews, Burchell, Harrison (Forde, 88), Thompson (Hunter, 77), Hutchinson (C), Lo-Everton (Sankoh, 58), McKiernan.
Subs not used: Evans, Marriott.
Photos by Franziska Dodl