Hornets swoop into top six
Lloyd Doyley's first-ever senior goal helped send Watford into the play-off places after a 3-1 win over QPR.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 08/12/09 11:11am
Lloyd Doyley's first-ever senior goal inspired Watford to a comeback win over QPR which sent them into the play-off places.
Patrick Agyemang struck a fine opener for the R's in the 33rd minute but left-back Doyley drew the hosts level 10 minutes later with a memorable diving header.
Don Cowie's superb strike put then Hornets in front in the 56th minute and Tom Cleverley sealed a deserved victory as the visitors threw bodies forward late on.
That ensured Malky Mackay's men bounced back in style from two successive defeats on the road and climbed from 12th to sixth ahead of the rest of the Championship fixtures on Tuesday.
QPR boss Jim Magilton made four changes to the side that lost 5-1 at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday and although they put in a much-improved performance, they could not prevent their local rivals going two points above them.
Watford fans will remember the evening for Doyley's landmark goal, however.
The popular defender, who turned 27 last week, joined the Hornets aged 11 and made his debut eight years ago.
Doyley's team-mates joke he has never even scored in training but he finally broke his duck on his 269th appearance for the club.
The joy of seeing Doyley score was a welcome tonic as while QPR are still bankrolled by their billionaire owners, Watford are facing the threat of administration - and the 10-point penalty which goes with it - unless they can urgently raise funds.
Chairman Jimmy Russo, who has had to lend the club £1million to see them through the month, denied before the game that he needs to sell players in January.
But England Under-21 goalkeeper Scott Loach is thought to be on Tottenham's radar while big earner Nathan Ellington is also likely to move on.
Loach was a virtual spectator for the first half an hour as the Hornets took charge and Ellington teed up Cleverley to fire narrowly over.
Cleverley then headed a Lee Hodson cross straight into the arms of Rangers keeper Radek Cerny.
But the visitors took the lead against the run of play when Alejandro Faurlin's pass inside found Agyemang, who lost his marker Craig Cathcart to fire a low shot past Loach into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Watford remained on top, though, and Doyley's moment came after he played the ball down the line for Jon Harley.
Doyley continued his run into the box while Harley crossed to the far post, Cowie sidefooted back across goal and Doyley charged in to head past Cerny, sparking wild celebrations around Vicarage Road.
Cleverley even had to give Doyley a helping hand by directing him to the nearest section of Watford fans as he got caught up in the emotion of the moment.
Ellington almost put Watford ahead 20 seconds after the restart when Cerny palmed his header onto the post.
But the Hornets did not have to wait long to take the lead when Doyley, on yet another overlap, ignored the crowd's pleas to shoot and fed Cleverley, who in turn laid off for Cowie to fire his first goal of the season inside the far post from 20 yards.
Cerny saved well from Jon Harley to keep Rangers in with a shout, but as the R's poured forward in stoppage time, Danny Graham found Cleverley on a break-away for the on-loan Manchester United youngster to slot home his seventh goal of the season.