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Saturday, September 18, 1999 Published at 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK

Smart work sees off Chelsea

Celebrations at Vicarage Road as Smart slots the ball home

Watford 1-0 Chelsea

New boys Watford pulled off the shock of the day with a home win over a jaded Chelsea side.

The BBC's David Oates: "Chelsea suffering a real Euro hangover"
Allan Smart scored in the 57th minute, his first since his strike in the play-off final last season earned Watford their place in the Premiership.

The striker has hardly played since that day at Wembley after suffering a bout of tendinitis, and today was only his second start of the season.

This was Chelsea's first defeat in 14 games and took the shine off their fine performance against AC Milan on Wednesday.

[ image: Chris Sutton made little impact against Watford's Robert Page]
Chris Sutton made little impact against Watford's Robert Page
Manager Gianluca Vialli brought back three British players who failed to start the goalless Champions League match.

Graeme Le Saux, Chris Sutton and Jody Morris came in as Dennis Wise was rested and Gianfranco Zola left on the bench.

But Sutton's partnership with Tore Andre Flo provided very little, and only Didier Deschamps showed Premiership class in the Chelsea midfield.

Smart could have scored in the 26th minute as Mica Hyde's perfect corner slid tamely off his forehead for a goal-kick.

Bjarne Goldbaek twice fired into the arms of Watford goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain before half time.

Wooter debut

In the second period Watford boss Graham Taylor's new record signing Nordin Wooter made an immediate impact.

It was his coolly-worked ball which was rolled into the path of Smart in the 56th minute.

The striker drilled it home to send the Watford faithful into raptures.

Chelsea also had a foreign signing making a debut, but Italian Gabriele Ambrosetti made little impact compared to Wooter's.

If the Dutchman's arrival leads to a spell of good form for Watford it could not have come at a better time.

No less a trio than Leeds, Manchester United and Arsenal are the club's next three Premiership fixtures.


Watford: Chamberlain, Gibbs, Page, Williams, Robinson, Hyde, Easton, Palmer, Kennedy, Wooter, Smart. Subs: Day, Ngonge, Mooney, Wright, Bonnot.

Chelsea: De Goey, Ferrer, Hogh, Desailly, Le Saux, Goldbaek, Morris, Deschamps, Ambrosetti, Flo, Sutton. Subs: Petrescu, Lambourde, Cudicini, Zola, Wolleaston.

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham)

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