BLUES BOUNCE BACK WITH EASY WIN
By Ciaran Baynes
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Coming off the disappointing penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium last week, Trevor Francis' side showed no side affects and are now well-placed for a promotion place level on points with third place Blackburn and four points behind current occupiers of the crucial second placed spot, Bolton.
Despite dominating the first half The Blues did not hit the target until the stroke of half time when Nicky Eaden stroked into the far corner of Espen Baardsen's net through a crowded penalty area, after a long throw-in caused havoc in The Hornets' penalty area.
Former Barnsley man Eaden was again involved in the second goal as his cross was met by Bryan Hughes, who beautifully controlled the ball and flicked it over Robert Page in one motion and then clipped the ball past the onrushing Baardsen and into the Watford net.
Although, they were much the better side in the opening half they failed to create many chances and it was the visitors' Neil Cox who had the first real effort on target when his low drive from a 25-yard free kick was parried away by Ian Bennett.
Andrew Johnson, the unfortunate youngster who missed the crucial penalty last week, turned well on the edge of the box nine minutes before the break, but skied his effort over the bar.
A minute before Eaden opened the account, full back Martin Grainger was unfortunate not to open the scoring when he hit a trademark 25-yard free kick just over the bar.
The second half continued in the same manner with Birmingham dominating possession and territory with Watford failing to even muster a shot on goal.
Johnson again came close a quarter of an hour from time when he narrowly failed to latch onto a low centre from Eaden, before Hughes sealed victory with his sublime strike six minutes from time.