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Endsleigh League Division 1, 27/4/96
Norwich City 1(1)
Watford 2(1)
Team: Miller, Bazeley, Barnes, Hessenthaler, Page, White, Porter, Palmer, Ramage, Mooney, Connolly
Subs: Payne, Ludden (for Barnes), Moralee
Scorers:: Connolly (pen), Porter
Report by Simon Devon

This season will be remembered for many things: Glenn Roeder going, the return of GT, Luther and the promoting of Kenny Jackett from youth team duties. Oh, and we got relegated, but we almost pulled off an amazing survival with a blistering last few games.

The game against Norwich was a day I will never forget, it'll be one of those games that sticks in the memory for a while. We arrived in Norwich (my one and only time on a supporters coach!!), the sun was out and there were Hornets everywhere, not just a few hundred, a good couple of thousand.

Carrow Road is a very nice ground, but for some reason they decided to build it in the middle of a rubbish tip. Oh well, at least it meant we could walk right the way around the ground, in the club shop, and talk to some Norwich fans who were quite friendly. I didn't really know much about Robert Chase, but from what they were saying he sounded like our own beloved Jack Petchey (WAY worse than Petchey, I think - Ed), but at least Petchey wants out, this guy sounds like he just wants to hang on forever! (He's gone now, which is why they're doing well again - Ed)

So, into the ground, and again I must say that Carrow road is very nice. Bet they had to sell a few players to pay for it though. The away end was almost full and it was still a good 40 minutes until kickoff. We had seats at the back, but we saw some people we new near the front (Kate Holmes and some guy called Ian) so we went down to have a chat just as the golden boys (OK, green and purple boys on that day) ran out to warm up. Much to our amazement, they ran straight over to the fans and began to chat to us, sign autographs etc. They were obviously as up for it as the fans were. Luther came over and got a hero's reception.

Kick off. Not much happened, but after two minutes David Connolly made a good run into the box, only to be bought down. Penalty. Bugger. Watford had a habit of missing these. This was a bit strange though. Connolly grabbed the ball off Mooney, our regular taker, and placed it on the spot and wouldn't let Tommy near it. Connolly was on a run of great form, six goals in three matches, so no one argued. The run up took forever. It went in. YES!!!!!! What a celebration. Watford fans jumping everywhere, Connolly and the rest of the team jumping into the crowd to join in. The rest of the first half took forever. Kevin Miller pulled off some outstanding saves, including one incredible double save. We rode our luck when they hit the post, but we went in one up at half time. Phew!

This is when the Norwich fans began the 'CHASE OUT!' chants. (They'd probably been doing them all half, but I was concentrating on the match) The Watford fans joined in, and soon the whole ground was joining in! Two guys unveiled a banner saying 'Chase the dictator out' and promptly got nicked. Us Watford fans have had to put up with a dodgy chairman for some time now, so I guess we felt sorry for the Norwich lot!

The second half began with relentless Norwich pressure, but Miller again kept them out. Then dirty old Fleck got in a bit of bother with Devon White and got Norwich a free kick. Ian Crook curled in a beauty and it was one all. Rather than sit there and feel sorry for ourselves, we got behind the team with a passion that is very rarely seen. But the goal we needed just wouldn't come.

Connolly had a goal disallowed, it just wasn't going to be our day. Gary Porter had done well in midfield all day, but had done nothing special. He had the ball and was about 30 yards out with no one to pass to. So he shot. The ball seemed to fly in slow motion. Bryan Gunn, dived full stretch, and the ball went passed his hands into the top left corner. YES YES YES YES! The celebrations were, well, er.... fab? No, that's the wrong word. Good? A bit dull. Orgasmic? A bit strong, but you get the idea. I love a good goal celebration. 67 minutes gone, only 23 to go. It's amazing how long 23 minutes can last. The rest of the game is a blur, but we held on, just.

The final whistle got as big a cheer as the goals. Plus, all the other results went our way. We WERE staying up, and did we let the Norwich fans know it! The most amazing thing was, they began to applaud us! So, we joined in with the Chase Out thing, and we applauded each other a bit more. Who says football fans need to fight? This was amazing. On the walk back to the coach they were congratulating us and hoping that we would stay up.

We left the ground with a lot of optimism, but that came crashing down around us a week later. But, for that week after Norwich away the belief among everyone connected with Watford was amazing.

A truly memorable match.

See also: BSaD match report