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Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Sunday, 11 May 2008 14:15 UK

Watford 0-2 Hull

By Andrew McKenzie

Nick Barmby opened the scoring for Hull
Barmby gave Hull an early lead at Vicarage Road

Goals from veteran pair Nicky Barmby and Dean Windass put Hull within sight of the Championship play-off final.

Watford had a goal harshly disallowed in the fourth minute and fell behind shortly after when Fraizer Campbell set up Barmby to sidefoot home.

They doubled their lead when a Campbell header came back off the post and Windass finished off from close range.

Watford skipper John Eustace was sent off for a shove on a day the Hornets will want to quickly forget.

Hull will go into the second leg on Wednesday with a healthy lead to defend on their home ground as they aim to keep alive their dream of a first ever visit to the top flight.

But the Hornets will rightly argue that things could have been very different if referee Kevin Friend had not spotted something untoward in Danny Shittu's towering header from a Jobi McAnuff corner that nobody else at Vicarage Road could see.

The Watford players were furious at the decision and Hull rubbed salt into their wounds when a Shittu header at the other end of the field led to the opener.

The big defender misdirected the ball into the path of Campbell who ran into the box and picked out Barmby to sidefoot under Richard Lee for his first goal since last August.

Watford responded with the impressive McAnuff causing Hull some worrying moments down the left, but the Hornets fell further behind when Hull probed another huge hole in their fragile backline.

Barmby fed an overlapping Andy Dawson and his left-foot centre was headed against the post by Campbell; Windass reacting first to steer the ball into an empty net.

McAnuff had a dipping effort tipped over by Boaz Myhill and Tommy Smith missed the ball from a couple of yards out as the home side rallied.


But for all of their possession they had the look of a side without a goal at home in the previous three games and were not helped by the absence of suspended top scorer Darius Henderson.

They raised hopes of a second half comeback with a rousing response after the break and Shittu went close with a header before Mat Sadler's powerful left-foot was shot brilliantly turned around the post by Myhill.

It was a super piece of goalkeeping coming at a crucial point in the game.

Even more crucial could be Friend's decision to dismiss Eustace with half an hour left to play.

The midfielder's tackle sparked a mini scuffle and he was seen to push an opponent, but a straight red card seemed an overreaction.

Moments later and Shittu was forced off with an injury which could mean he joins Eustace in missing the return leg.

Campbell and substitute Nathan Doyle could have made Watford's task even harder with a third goal, but it will be little consolation to Hornets boss Aidy Boothroyd after a depressing day at the office.

Watford: Lee, Doyley (O'Toole 73), Shittu (DeMerit 61), Bromby, Sadler, Ainsworth (Priskin 73), Williamson, Eustace, McAnuff, Smith, Ellington.
Subs Not Used: Poom, Mariappa.

Sent Off: Eustace (61).

Booked: Priskin.

Hull: Myhill, Ricketts, Turner, Brown, Dawson, Barmby (Fagan 64), Ashbee, Hughes, Garcia (Doyle 73), Windass (Folan 68), Campbell.
Subs Not Used: Duke, Walton.

Booked: Campbell.

Goals: Barmby 8, Windass 23.

Att: 14,713.

Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Hull's Nicky Barmby (8.48 on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
Live - Premier League finale
11 May 08 |  Premier League
Watford Player Rater
15 Dec 06 |  Live Text
Who will make play-off finals?
08 May 08 |  Football

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