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The BBC's Dave Woods
"The script demanded a goal from Stan Collymore"
 real 28k

Saturday, 12 February, 2000, 18:45 GMT
Collymore impresses on debut

Collymore makes his first appearance in a blue shirt


Watford 1-1 Leicester

Stan Collymore made a surprise debut for Leicester - and came within inches of snatching victory at Vicarage Road.

The controversial striker was expected to sit out the visit to Watford after joining from Aston Villa on Thursday.


Match facts
39: Elliott fires Leicester into the lead
47: Wooter levels with a header
64: Collymore hits the bar for Leicester
But he was named by manager Martin O'Neill in the starting line-up and rewarded his new boss with an excellent whole-hearted performance.

Collymore worked hard throughout and was a constant threat on the Watford goal.

The former England international has not played in the Premiership for 11 months, but he belied his lack of match practice with a display that will delight Foxes fans.

The closest he came to scoring was when he beat home keeper Chris Day with a superb looping header only to see the ball clatter against the crossbar.

Five minutes later Collymore swooped again, latching on to a Stefan Oakes cross and bringing a fine scrambling save from Day.

Smart suffers at start

In an open, entertaining match Watford's Allan Smart could have had a hat-trick in the space of four frantic first-half minutes - but each time he shot just too high or straight to Leicester goalkeeper Tim Flowers.



I thought Stan did really well. He could have scored on two occasions. And in the last 15 minutes when I expected him to tire, he actually got stronger and stronger.
Martin O'Neill
But Leicester hit back and Watford defender Steve Palmer's attempted clearance was deflected onto the bar.

And the visitors went in front when the ever-alert Tony Cottee flicked the ball across goal and Matt Elliott bundled it into the net.

According to many experts Watford are living on borrowed time in the Premiership - but they showed they have the appetite for the fight by forcing their way back into the action.

The equaliser came just two minutes after half-time, as Peter Kennedy swept over a free-kick and Nordin Wooter's glancing header beat Steve Walsh's despairing lunge.

Both sides had further chances to win the match - but there was no way through and a close game ended fairly with honours shared.

Teams:

Watford: Day, Williams, Palmer, Page, Gibbs, Hyde, Bonnot, Kennedy, Smart, Helguson, Wooter. Subs: Chamberlain, Robinson, Ngonge, Smith, Miller.

Leicester: Flowers, Walsh, Gilchrist, Elliott, Impey, Eadie, Oakes, Zagorakis, Collymore, Heskey, Cottee. Subs: Gunnlaugsson, Campbell, Fenton, Arphexad, Goodwin.

Referee: A D'Urso (Billericay)
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Stan: Finally the man?

See also:
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Rams leave it too late
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Black day for Wednesday
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Kewell beauty wins ugly contest
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Magpies crush 10-man Man Utd
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Sky Blues seal Highfield thriller
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Blues close the gap
Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.