August 4, 2013 by blake2108
Birmingham City 0-1 Watford
Blues fan Troy Deeney scored the winner for last year’s play-off finalists in a match the home side were unlucky to lose.
It was all change as Lee Clark handed debut’s to all of his summer signings, eight from the start, with only skipper Paul Robinson and Shane Ferguson, back on loan for another year, retaining their places from the last game of last season.
Before the game, Blues paid tribute to former player Christian ‘Chucho’ Benitez, who sadly passed away at the slender age of 27 earlier this week, with a minute’s silence which was impeccably observed.
Blues started the game the better team but fell behind after 11 minutes, with Deeney once again scoring against the club he supports, slotting home after good play from Ikechi Anya and Fernando Forestieri.
That early goal gave Watford the upper hand and they took control for the rest of the first half, Anya causing havoc for Birmingham’s defence, though Blues had a couple of chances to equalise. Matt Green fired wide and nobody was able to meet Andrew Shinnie’s ball across the face of goal.
The second half saw Blues slowly edge their way back into the game. Clark had lined the team up in a 3-5-2 formation for the first time in a competitive fixture and it left the midfield isolated at times.
Nevertheless, Blues had a number of chances to draw level towards the end of the match. Wade Elliott’s deflected long-range effort hit the bar, and Dan Burn also saw a shot saved well by Manuel Almunia, before heading narrowly wide from another set piece.
Blues manager Lee Clark:
“I’ve told the players that there is no need to change anything. On another day we would have got at least a draw.
“We didn’t deserve to lose against a terrific team who will be there again at the end of the season because of the pace they play at.
“I believe we have hit the ground running and been unfortunate in terms of the result. We just didn’t get that little bit of luck.”
Watford boss Gianfranco Zola:
“I am pleased with the win. It was a tough test to start the season. This is why I am pleased with result and the performance.
“In first half we were excellent for long spells. Perhaps we should have tried to have taken more chances and scored more than one goal.
“Birmingham came back stronger in the second half. We dropped a little bit physically and we allowed them to cause us a lot of problems.”
Man of the match: Dan Burn