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The BBC's Simon Mann
Watford look comfortable at this level.
 real 14k

Watford boss Graham Taylor
"We're a decent squad"
 real 14k

Monday, 28 August, 2000, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Watford 4-1 Sheffield United
Tommy Mooney
Mooney celebrates after putting the Hornets ahead
Despite being without two of their most expensive signings and influential players, Watford romped to victory over Sheffield United at Vicarage Road.

Manager Graham Taylor was forced to field an under-strength side, missing Nordin Wooter and midfielder Allan Nielsen.

But with Gifton Noel-Williams making only his second start in 20 months and Micah Hyde coming in for his first game of the season, Watford never looked back.

Paul Robinson sent Tommy Mooney away on the left with a fine pass and Mooney squared it for Heidar Helguson to tap home the opener after just eight minutes.

Watford continued to press and although United conceded a number of free-kicks, they also worried the home side with counter-attacks.

The funny thing is that after we'd gone 3-1 ahead United had their best spell and we had our worst. Had United scored then we might have been hanging on. I did not relax until the fourth one went in
  Graham Taylor
Paul Devlin fired over when well placed, Marcus Bent forced a good save from Espen Baardsen and the visitors were deservedly level on 42 minutes.

Devlin's cross was only partially headed clear by Robinson and Wayne Quinn side-stepped challenges before hammering the ball high into the top corner from 12 yards.

Hit back

We equalised within a few minutes of half-time but hadn't got the determination to hold out until the interval. "It doesn't matter what tactics you use, you can have 10 back but if you can't defend you have no chance
  United boss Neil Warnock
But the Hornets hit back straight away as they restored their advantage before half-time.

Helguson picked up the ball on the right, cut inside and crossed towards the far post where Mooney got up between the defenders to head in off the post.

Watford continued the momentum after the break and were on the score sheet again almost immediately.

Neil Cox's free-kick found Tommy Smith in space on the left and his effort was parried by keeper Simon Tracey and Noel-Williams gratefully fired home from 10 yards. Another sweeping move provided Watford with their fourth.

Gifton Noel-Williams and Shaun Murphy
Gifton Noel-Williams tustles Sheffield United's Shaun Murphy
Hyde started the attack and Noel-Williams found Helguson out wide. His low cross was met by Hyde with an outstretched foot to steer the ball past the keeper.

It could have been more as the home side continued to push forwards. Robinson hit the outside of the post with a free-kick, Helguson had a header cleared off the line while Palmer and Mooney both went close.

Watford: Baardsen, Cox, Robinson, Page, Palmer, Hyde, Mooney, Noel-Williams, Smith, Helguson, Ward. Subs: Chamberlain, Gibbs, Easton, Gudmundsson, Foley.

Sheff Utd: Tracey, Quinn, Sandford, Murphy, M. Brown, Woodhouse, Bent, Devlin, Ford, Uhlenbeek, Webber. Subs: Kozluk, Santos, Ribeiro, Kelly, Newby.

Referee: L Cable (Woking)

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