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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 February, 2004, 17:55 GMT
Watford 2-0 Preston
Hameur Bouazza scored on his full debut to set up Watford's victory against Preston at Vicarage Road.

The young French striker beat Preston keeper Andy Lonergan from close range towards the end of an opening half dominated by the visitors.

Richard Cresswell and Graham Alexander went close for Preston but they failed to break through a stubborn defence.

And the result was sealed for Watford by Paul Devlin's second-half effort to give them their first win of the year.

Watford went close early on when a deflected shot by Scott Fitzgerald dropped wide, before Preston began to come into the game.

Pidgeley had a shot saved for the visitors and Cresswell was denied by Neil Cox's brave block, and Ricardo Fuller had a mazy run at the Watford defence but was unable to supply the finish.

North End were made to pay for not getting on the scoresheet when Jack Smith crossed for 18-year-old Bouazza, who made his debut as a late subtitute last week against Sunderland, to stab the ball home.

Bouazza almost put the Hornets further ahead but fired wide from a good position.

Preston, who had only lost once in the last 10 league matches, were unable to find a way back into the game in the second half, with Alexander's ambitious drive their only real chance.

The game was put beyond doubt with 10 minutes to go when hesitation in the North End defence let in Devlin who lifted the ball over Lonergan to make sure of the points.


Watford: Pidgeley, Cox, Dyche, Ifil, Smith, Ardley, Hyde, Mahon, Fitzgerald, Devlin, Bouazza. Subs: Chamberlain, Vernazza, Dyer, Doyley, Cook.

Preston: Lonergan, Alexander, Jackson, Broomes, Mears, McKenna, Keane, Lewis, Fuller, Healy, Cresswell. Subs: O'Neil, Burley, Edwards, Davis, Gould.

Referee: A Marriner (W Midlands).





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