FULL marks to Lloyd Doyley for honesty as the Watford full-back admitted his Reebok strike on Saturday had just been a stroke of good luck.
The 29-year-old one-club man had just one professional senior strike to his name in some 350 appearances in all competitions for the Hornets until he halved the deficit against the Whites to set up a nervy finale.
But he wasn’t about to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes and try to claim he meant to chip Adam Bogdan from way out on the right touchline.
“I’m afraid to say it wasn’t a shot,” he said with a smile after the game. “I’ll own up, it was a cross – but a very, very good cross I think you’d have to agree.
“I think the fact I was crossing from maybe only 25 yards out showed what a different game it was after half-time.
“I didn’t get in that sort of position before the break, but the manager insisted both full-backs pushed on and that was what we were able to do.”
Gianfranco Zola was equally philosophical after the match, and wasn’t too downhearted despite being dealt a third defeat of the season at the Reebok.
The Italian legend, installed as manager at Vicarage Road in the summer, was impressed his much-changed side hauled themselves back into the game in the second half.
Zola has brought in 11 new players over the summer, and admits there is work to do defensively.
But the former Chelsea and Parma striker saw much to be happy about as Doyley’s lucky strike set up a tense second half.
“We know that we didn’t defend well,” he said. “But what interested me more was our reaction to the situation – and that was really very good.
“We started slowly but it was a very encouraging finish.
“We started the second half higher up the pitch, we tried to do something really different and I was pleased with a lot of what happened.”