PEOPLE keep saying it and this game proved the point – the higher up the football ladder you go, the harsher the punishment when you’re not on the ball.
Huddersfield Town were well below par and Watford took full advantage to inflict the first home defeat of the season and only a second in the Championship on Simon Grayson’s misfiring side.
Both the boss who, with James Vaughan out injured, handed a full debut to new loan arrival Jermaine Beckford, and his chairman Dean Hoyle used their programme notes to warn against inflated expectations after a sizzling start to the season.
Three successive wins meant Town could have gone top if they won and Brighton lost at home to Birmingham.
Gianfranco Zola’s Watford, by contrast, arrived fifth-bottom and in search of a first win in five in the league.
It duly arrived (at odds of 30/1 with the stadium bookies) after Troy Deeney capped a frantic late glut of three goals in five minutes by confidently beating Alex Smithies from the penalty spot.
The former Walsall man was making his first start after being released 77 days into a jail sentence imposed for his part in a street brawl, with Watford ignoring criticism from some quarters by retaining the 24-year-old’s services.
The one-time homespun Hertfordshire club have also taken stick for bringing in a string of loan signings, mostly from Udinese and Granada, who are also owned by the Pozzo family, with leading sportswriter Martin Samuel branding them little more than a ‘finishing school’.
There were six borrowed men on duty at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday, with Italian frontman Fernando Forestieri the fulcrum of his side’s third league victory.
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Having appeared to go down easily throughout the game (teammate Marcos Cassetti was booked for diving) Forestieri was given dog’s abuse by the home support when he tumbled under Danny Ward’s 87th-minute challenge.