JERMAINE Beckford has waited a long, long time for a goal to be gift-wrapped in the way it was at Watford.

Thanks to a bizarre fumble by Manuel Almunia directly in front of the Wanderers travelling fans, Beckford will probably never score a more simple strike than his 27th minute effort at Vicarage Road.

But the in-form front man was not about to grumble, and happily gobbled up his fifth goal in six games for the Whites.

“I think that is the first one I have had in my whole career,” he told The Bolton News.

“I saw the ball there and thought ‘that’s mine all day long’ and I’m not going to miss from there.

“Obviously it’s unfortunate for Almunia to have dropped it where he did but my role in the team is to get opportunities like that and put them away. I was in the right place at the right time.”

Almunia’s error came just a couple of minutes after another confrontation with Beckford, who had tried to get on the end of a Neil Danns cross, only to collide with the Spanish keeper and leave him writhing around in pain.

It also earned the Whites striker a yellow card – but Beckford insists he wasn’t planning on “roughing up” the former Arsenal star, who withdrew injured at the half-time break.

“I honestly saw him late but I did apologise to him,” he explained.

“From the angle and the pace that the ball came in, I only had eyes for the ball. As soon as I realised it was half a yard outside my reach he was right in front of me and it was too late to stop.

“He tapped me on the nose as well but I won’t hold that against him.”

After a third successive textbook away performance, Beckford admits confidence is high right around the camp at the moment.

He added. “I think we’ve been able to feel a lot more positive about the roles we’re playing in the team.

“You need to make your opportunities count especially against a great side like Watford.

“They were 90 minutes away from playing in the Premier League last season and that wasn’t a fluke – if you watched how they have played last season and this, they are a very, very good side.

“They have some great players on their books and keep the ball so well but we came here with a gameplan and credit to the gaffer and his staff for that.”

But while the mood is certainly high around the Wanderers dressing room, Beckford insists there had been no doom and gloom even when they strugged at the start of the season.

“Even in the first five or six games the feeling wasn’t that different to what it is now,” he said.

“The only difference is that we are putting the ball in the back of the net and getting a few more points. Naturally that lets off a more friendly and positive vibe.”