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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 October, 2003, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Crewe 0-1 Watford

Watford survived the first-half dismissal of goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain to claim an unlikely but deserved victory over Crewe.

Chamberlain was sent off with just 19 minutes gone after handling the ball outside his area, and Ray Lewington was forced to throw young Chelsea goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley into the fray.

But the 19-year-old - on a month's loan at Vicarage Road - responded immediately with a brilliant save from Steve Foster, and fellow loanee Danny Webber pounced on a mistake by David Vaughan after half-time to give Watford their second win of the season.

Watford suffered a serious setback with the dismissal of Chamberlain.

The veteran goalkeeper ran out of his box to clear the ball but was struck on the hand, and the referee consulted his linesman before showing Chamberlain a straight red.

The sending off forced Lewington to replace striker Bruce Dyer with Pidgeley, and Neil Sorvel steered a shot wide from a good position as Crewe pressed forward.

Watford could have snatched the lead on the stroke of half-time when Webber headed Paul Robinson's cross wide from a wonderful position.

Neil Ardley had the only chance of a quiet spell after half-time with a free-kick which failed to trouble Ince, and the Hornets silenced Gresty Road by deservedly taking the lead with 61 minutes gone.

Vaughan was caught in possession by Hand, and Webber raced on to a perfect pass before beating Clayton Ince with a strike from the edge of the box.

Crewe attempted to salvage a result in the dying stages but Richard Walker headed wide from six yards out as Watford held on.

Crewe: Ince, Wright, Walker, Foster, McCready, Lunt, Sorvel, Cochrane, Vaughan, Jones, Ashton. Subs: Bankole, Rix, Varney, Tonkin, Edwards.

Watford: Chamberlain, Robinson, Cox, Gayle, Kelly, Ardley, Vernazza, Mahon, Dyer, Webber, Fitzgerald. Subs: Dyche, Hand, Ifil, Cook, Pidgeley.

Referee: F Stretton (Nottinghamshire).

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