Championship
WatfordWatford1MiddlesbroughMiddlesbrough0

Watford 1-0 Middlesbrough: Craig Cathcart gives Hornets opening win

Craig Cathcart
Craig Cathcart's headed winner was his first goal since January 2019

Watford marked their first game back in the Championship with a hard-fought victory over Middlesbrough on the opening night of the new league season.

Defender Craig Cathcart scored the winner after 11 minutes, heading past Boro goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

The Hornets, relegated from the Premier League last season and now under new boss Vladimir Ivic, should have gone 2-0 up but Joao Pedro sent a header wide.

Britt Assombalonga went closest for Boro, having a free-kick tipped over.

Neil Warnock's side saw plenty of the ball but failed to seriously test Ben Foster in the Watford goal, with even captain Assombalonga's effort from 20 yards only drawing a relatively straightforward save.

Foster kept out another Assombalonga shot with his feet, while Grant Hall wasted their only other clear sight of goal, sending a close-range effort over the bar from a corner.

At the other end, chances were also few and far between for Watford, who were without a host of players through injury - including Gerard Deulofeu, Danny Welbeck and Troy Deeney.

Watford head coach Vladimir Ivic:

"It is a good start, a clean sheet and we won the game so we can be satisfied with the result and the three points.

"I believe that we didn't do good things in our attacking moments, we didn't play very well with the ball, we have to work a lot to improve this part of the game.

"Sometimes in a game things don't go in the direction you prepare it but it was the first game.

"There wasn't enough time to work and improve, especially in this attacking part, we need to be much better."

Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock:

"[On Cathcart's goal] It's a Sunday League goal, what can you say? I don't expect to concede them at any stage of the season, you can't say we don't practice enough.

"That is football, isn't it? I don't think our goalie had a shot to save but it is all about putting the ball in the back of the net so you have got to give them credit.

"I don't think they had a clue how to break us down, I think the goalkeeper played centre-half in the second half so I can't be happier with that, but which dressing room would I rather be in tonight? The winning one."

Line-ups

Watford

  • 1Foster
  • 3Ngakia
  • 15Cathcart
  • 27Kabasele
  • 6WilmotBooked at 85mins
  • 21FemeníaSubstituted forNavarroat 75'minutes
  • 20QuinaSubstituted forPhillipsat 90'minutes
  • 8Cleverley
  • 14Chalobah
  • 12SemaSubstituted forMurrayat 66'minutes
  • 10João Pedro

Substitutes

  • 17Murray
  • 26Bachmann
  • 31Sierralta
  • 32Navarro
  • 33Pussetto
  • 34Sinclair
  • 52Phillips

Middlesbrough

  • 1Bettinelli
  • 2Dijksteel
  • 4Hall
  • 17McNair
  • 29Spence
  • 16Howson
  • 22SavilleSubstituted forWingat 78'minutes
  • 7Tavernier
  • 3Johnson
  • 11Fletcher
  • 9Assombalonga

Substitutes

  • 6Fry
  • 8Wing
  • 12Browne
  • 15Wood
  • 27Bola
  • 33Coulson
  • 42Pears
Referee:
Keith Stroud

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home10
Away11
Shots on Target
Home2
Away4
Corners
Home6
Away6
Fouls
Home13
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 1, Middlesbrough 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 1, Middlesbrough 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Marc Navarro (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Marc Navarro (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  5. Post update

    Glenn Murray (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough).

  7. Post update

    Offside, Middlesbrough. Ashley Fletcher tries a through ball, but Britt Assombalonga is caught offside.

  8. Post update

    Christian Kabasele (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough).

  10. Post update

    Foul by Glenn Murray (Watford).

  11. Post update

    Grant Hall (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Daniel Phillips replaces Domingos Quina.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Marc Navarro.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Domingos Quina (Watford).

  15. Post update

    Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) header from very close range is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Marcus Tavernier with a cross following a set piece situation.

  17. Booking

    Ben Wilmot (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Ben Wilmot (Watford).

  19. Post update

    Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  20. Post update

    Domingos Quina (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 11th September 2020

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Watford11001013
2Barnsley00000000
3Birmingham00000000
4Blackburn00000000
5Bournemouth00000000
6Brentford00000000
7Bristol City00000000
8Cardiff00000000
9Coventry00000000
10Derby00000000
11Huddersfield00000000
12Luton00000000
13Millwall00000000
14Norwich00000000
15Nottm Forest00000000
16Preston00000000
17QPR00000000
18Reading00000000
19Rotherham00000000
20Stoke00000000
21Swansea00000000
22Wycombe00000000
23Middlesbrough100101-10
24Sheff Wed0000000-12
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