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Saturday, 24 November, 2001, 13:57 GMT
Watford 3-0 Portsmouth
Cox scored Watford's second goal after 44 minutes
Cox scored Watford's second goal

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A solid performance by Watford at Vicarage Road ended a poor run of form from Gianluca Vialli's team.

The Hornets had taken just two points from their last three games, but three goals from defenders ensured a change of fortune for Vialli's team.

Micah Hyde should have given Watford the lead after seven minutes, but his header from Tommy Smith's cross hit the woodwork.

Marcus Gayle then headed just wide from 12 yards after reaching Patrick Blondeau's cross.

Portsmouth striker Peter Crouch caused problems for the Hornets defence with his height and created an opening for Courtney Pitt, who shot wide.

Crouch then had a great chance when he capitalised on hesitancy from Ramon Vega, but Alec Chamberlain blocked his shot.

Watford took the lead after 21 minutes when Hyde's cross was only half cleared by Crouch and Paul Robinson volleyed into the net.

Watford's second goal arrived in the 44th minute when a corner by Stephen Glass was met by Neil Cox, who headed past Kawaguchi's right.

Early in the second half Hyde had a good opportunity when he ran onto a through ball from Paolo Vernazza.

However, as a challenge came in he hurried his shot and fired just wide.

Pompey tried to get back into the game.

But Lee Bradbury header's was saved by Chamberlin and Crouch headed wide when well placed.

Watford completed their victory with five minutes to go when poor marking in the Portsmouth area allowed Pierre Issa to steal in and head home a Stephen Glass free-kick from close range.

Watford: Chamberlain, Cox, Vega, Robinson, Blondeau, Vernazza, Hyde, Issa, Glass, Smith, Gayle. Subs: Baardsen, Noel-Williams, Helguson, Noble, Doyley.

Portsmouth: Kawaguchi, Crowe, Zamperini, Hiley, Harper, Pitt, O'Neil, Barrett, Vincent, Crouch, Bradbury. Subs: Quashie, Tardif, Waterman, Lovell, Tiler.

Referee: B Knight (Orpington).

BBC Sport's David Oates
"A convincing victory for Watford"
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