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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 11:56 GMT
Watford fall short
By Paul Fletcher at Vicarage Road

Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd
Boothroyd remains positive but his team remain bottom
An extremely unusual event preceded Watford's Premiership match with Wigan on Wednesday.

Minutes before kick-off injured Watford striker Marlon King wandered on to the Vicarage Road pitch and, microphone in hand, made an impassioned appeal to the club's supporters.

"I want you to do what you have done all season and that is to be the 12th man for Watford," implored an impassioned King to the 18,338 inside the ground.

606 DEBATE: Is it too late for Watford?

"I'm going to shout 'Who are you?' and you will shout 'Watford'."

King was preaching to the converted and the crowd, who seemed a little confused at first, soon got into the swing of things, responded to their cue as the Jamaican whipped them up into a frenzy.

The appeal hinted at the importance of the fixture - something Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd had been at pains to play down ahead of the game.

We should have won the game but we just lost our way

Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd

"Everybody's building this game up as the biggest in years for the two clubs, a six-pointer, a nine-pointer even," said the Hornets boss.

"But it is still one of just a dozen Premiership games between now and the end of the season."

Perhaps Boothroyd was trying to take some pressure off his players because it did not take a genius to work out the significance of the match.

Watford, with five wins in the previous nine league and cup games, went into the match two points behind Charlton and West Ham - and seven points behind fourth-from-bottom Wigan.

Beat Wigan and Watford would leapfrog the Addicks and the Hammers - who play each other on Saturday - and drag the Latics - who has lost four of their previous five games - further into the relegation mire.

And leading 1-0 with Wigan down to 10 men after 24 minutes Watford had a golden opportunity.

However, the dismissal of Fitz Hall, which looked extremely harsh, seemed to galvanise Wigan and for the remainder of the game were probably the better side.

Caleb Folan equalised for the Latics five minutes before the break and Jewell's team absorbed most of what Watford could throw at them after the break.

You could hear the frustration from the home supporters.

Anxiety soured their committed, unconditional support and voiced itself in howls of derision every time a Watford player dwelled on the ball.

Wigan celebrate their equaliser at Watford
It was Wigan who were happier with the 1-1 draw

It seemed to transmit itself to the players and they became increasingly uncertain as they pushed forward time and again only to falter in the final third.

It had been a game of stray, nervous passes and committed tackling but it had been Wigan who had shown most of the quality work.

Boothroyd admitted as much afterwards, arguing that Watford "only had themselves to blame".

"We should have won the game but we just lost our way. We do need to beat the teams around us."

His counterpart Jewell was delighted with his "point well gained".

The significance was not lost on the canny Scouser, who was quick to point out his team are now six points clear of the bottom three.

The irrepressibly positive Boothroyd said his players would have to make up for their disappointment in their remaining 11 games.

But maybe for Watford the horse has bolted.

Barclays Premier League Table
01 February 2010 22:00
    P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42

5 Liverpool 24 16 41

6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 22 -7 26
13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

Watford 1-1 Wigan
21 Feb 07 |  Premiership
King's road to recovery
12 Feb 07 |  Watford


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