League Cup 2nd Round 2nd Leg, 2/9/80
Team: Steele, Henderson, Jackett, Patching, Sims, Bolton, Blissett, Poskett, Jenkins, Train, Rostron
Subs: Callaghan (for Train)
Scorers: Patching, Train, Poskett 2, Bolton (pen), Jenkins, Callaghan
Team: Katalinic, Waldron, McCarthney, Williams, Watson, Nicholl, Hebberd, Channon, George, Holmes, Baker
Scorers: Sims (og)
An unstoppable force
Report by Fred Riley
The "Famous Victories" section allowed me to reminisce about Southampton and Notts Forest. Yes, I was at Vic Rd for the Southampton game, although I nearly didn't go after we'd been stuffed 4-0 at the Dell. The only reason I did go was a) because I already had a ticket, and b) because I wanted to see a First Division team in the flesh. I went with my Dad, my brother, and a friend of my brother's who was - chuckle, chuckle - a Southampton fan. In truth, the best we expected was for Watford to win maybe 1-0 or 2-0 to salvage some pride. It was only after the third goal went in that the thought began to filter into the crowd's collective mind that maybe we could go all the way. After the fourth went in we all went absolutely apeshit. Steve Sim's og (I can't remember if that was before or after our fourth) put a slight damper on things, but soon after we scored again and everyone knew it was our night. Even when Charlie George hit the Watford bar with a rocket shot we never worried - it just couldn't have gone in, not on that night.
Extra time was just a formality - the wave that Watford rode on would have overwhelmed Liverpool, nay AC Milan - and the feeling when the final whistle went was indescribable, as was the noise. It gives me goose pimples just to remember it. Sure, I felt a bit sorry for my brother's friend, but not much. It was just one of those nights when everything went right, and the Hornets were an unstoppable force.
We went on to beat Sheffield Wednesday and I was at the Forest match in the Fourth Round as well, although after Southampton I think we all felt invincible so the victory was almost expected. That's not to say that the atmosphere wasn't electric (it always seemed to be at floodlit games at Vic Rd, which is not something you can always say about weekend games) and it wasn't a major giant-killing, but when the final whistle went the feeling seemed to be one of satisfaction at an excellent team performance rather than stupefying surprise and amazement, as was the case with the Southampton result. Maybe this explains why I felt so disappointed when we were knocked out of the Cup in the next match (although I'm buggered if I can remember the team which did the dirty deed).
Daily Telegraph match report
Graham Taylor's programme notes
Profile of Martin Patching