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Monday, May 31, 1999 Published at 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK


Sport: Football

Watford back in the big time

Nick Wright scores his brilliant opener

Bolton 0-2 Watford

Goals from Nick Wright and Allan Smart sent Watford soaring into the Premiership after back-to-back promotions.


Ian Brown: "Graham Taylor has done a fantastic job"
Graham Taylor's men hustled and bustled their opponents into submission, and scored both their goals at crucial moments in the last game of the domestic season.

The win means a fifth promotion for the Hornets under Taylor, and joy for a man whose career seemed all but over in 1993 after his tenure as England boss ended.

Glamour


[ image: Michael Johansen and Steve Palmer challenge the a header]
Michael Johansen and Steve Palmer challenge the a header
But under Taylor, the Hertfordshire side have come back from difficult times in the First and Second Division to the glamour of England's top flight.

They were started on their way by one of the best goals seen in a play-off final from Wright, who along with Smart, was signed from Carlisle a year ago.

The 23-year-old produced a spectacular overhead kick after Peter Kennedy's corner was initially cleared by Andy Todd.

The goal came seven minutes before half-time and slightly against the run of play.

Bolton could have taken the lead on two separate occasions before the goal through Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Sliced

Ricardo Gardner played a super ball over the top of the Watford defence to put the Dutch striker into the area and after evading the challenge of Paul Robinson but sliced his finish a yard wide of the Watford goal, with Alec Chamberlain beaten.

Minutes later, the same player had an even better chance, after Robbie Elliott's free-kick was deflected into his path from, and his powerful right footed shot from ten yards out was brilliantly saved by Chamberlain.

For Watford, Michel Ngonge almost cashed in on Wright's industry, the winger robbing Todd of the ball on the halfway line and playing his colleague in, only for full-back Elliott to make a superb last-ditch block.


Nick Wright: "This is a dream"
In the second half, Bolton found it harder to break down the Watford defence and their struggles were exaggerated by the hot conditions, which left both sets of players wearily staggering around the Wembley turf during the final minutes.

Their best opening came on the hour, Gudjohnsen flicking the ball onto Gardner down the left and his low cross was turned over his own crossbar from six yards by skipper Robert Page.

Inspired


[ image: Mark Fish beats Mica Hyde]
Mark Fish beats Mica Hyde
Page marshalled his team superbly, and inspired them to make the breaks which ultimately produced the clinching second goal.

Scott Sellars, on as a second half Bolton substitute, was hassled off the ball on the halfway line, and suddenly Watford had a three on one man advantage.

Kennedy, a star for the Hornets during the entire season, exploited the huge gaps on the Bolton right before squaring the ball for Smart, whose first time shot easily beat Steve Banks.

Watford had come within a whisker of doubling their advantage moments earlier when Darren Bazeley released Steve Palmer down the right and his pin-point cross to the far post was headed just wide by Tommy Mooney.

Bolton: Banks, Cox, Elliott, Frandsen, Todd, Fish, Johansen, Jensen, Gudjohnson, Taylor, Gardner. Subs: Bergsson, Sellars, Hansen.
Watford: Chamberlain, Bazeley, Kennedy, Page, Palmer, Robinson, Ngonge, Hyde, Mooney, Johnson, Wright. Subs: Hazan, Smart, Day.
Referee: T Heilbron (Newton Aycliffe)




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