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Saturday, 4 January, 2003, 18:01 GMT
Clinical Hornets beat Silkmen
Macclesfield's Danny Whitaker is fouled by Watford's Allan Nielsen
The Moss Rose crowd saw a passionate cup tie
Macclesfield 0-2 Watford

Two clinical finishes either side of half-time ensured Watford progressed into the fourth round of the FA Cup at the expense of Third Division Macclesfield.

Striker Heidar Helguson set the Hornets on their way with a close-range volley after 24 minutes.

Some of the players could have been nervous at the prospect of an upset but from one to 11 we were sensational in the first-hal

Watford manager Ray Lewington

And after the Silkmen had spurned their best chance when Danny Whitaker thundered against the woodwork, Jermaine Pennant made the game safe with a right-footed piledriver.

Macclesfield boss Dave Moss suffered a blow prior to kick-off with the news that midfielder Martin Nash was ruled out.

Watford were without injured Sean Dyche and Stephen Glass but Gifton Noel-Williams started only his second game of the season in attack.

Their side is full of international players but even then I was surprised at how they came at us in the first half.

Macclesfield manager David Moss

But the Hornets were quickest out of the traps with Noel-Williams firing just wide after four minutes from Wayne Brown's cross.

And six minutes later the livewire forward went close again with a dipping right-footed effort from distance.

After Paulo Vernazza and Gavin Mahon had both also gone close, Watford got their breakthrough with Helguson's fine volleyed finish.

Two minutes later they should have doubled their advantage when Vernazza curled one just wide from the right edge of the box.

But the Macclesfield defence put up a valiant rearguard action with Karl Munroe saving his side on the stroke of half-time with a last-ditch block on Pennant.

The home team were almost back on level terms a minute after the interval when Whitaker thundered a right-footed effort against the woodwork.

But on the hour, Watford doubled their lead as Pennant surged forward from midfield to drill into the corner of the net.

Kyle Lightbourne saw a shot skim the crossbar for the Silkmen, but despite a late charge that saw George Abbey and then Lightbourne again go close, the First Division deservedly progressed to the fourth round.

Macclesfield: Wilson, Hitchen, Welch, Tinson, Adams, Munroe, Priest (Abbey 70), Whitaker, Lightbourne, Tipton, Hardy (Eaton 62).
Subs not used: Martin, O'Neill, Brackenbridge.

Watford: Chamberlain, Brown, Cox, Ardley, Gayle, Pennant, Vernazza, Mahon, Nielsen, Helguson, Noel-Williams (Tommy Smith 77).
Subs not used: Hyde, McNamee, Foley, Lee.

Att: 4,244

Referee: P Joslin (Nottinghamshire)

Watford boss Ray Lewington
"I don't think 4-0 would have flattered us at half-time"

Fourth round draw

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