After their season of supervisor roulette ended with ignominious relegation from the Premier League, right here was a touch of stability – even positivity – for Watford.
Craig Cathcart ensured their return to Championship soccer after 5 years was a soft-landing slightly than a bump as new boss Vladimir Ivic claimed his first three factors in English soccer.
It’s early days in fact and the remaining weeks of the switch window will convey additional upheaval, however Watford proved nearly superior to a Middlesbrough workforce who you sense can be greater than content material with mid-table anonymity.
Craig Cathcart is congratulated by his team-mates after he put Watford within the lead
Cathcart discovered the online with a header within the eleventh minute of the conflict at Vicarage Road
Middlesbrough’s Anfernee Dijksteel competes for possession with Joao Pedro of Watford
Watford had been the extra vibrant side earlier than half-time earlier than retreating after the break. Middlesbrough noticed possibilities come and go, with Britt Assombalonga their most harmful participant, however Watford confirmed a resoluteness typically lacking final season.
Watford discover themselves in a state of flux and the line-up was a curious mixture of top-flight mainstays and recent faces.
Watford’s Jeremy Ngakia appears to win the ball whereas underneath stress from Marvin Johnson
The likes of Troy Deeney, Danny Welbeck, Ismaila Sarr and Will Hughes had been amongst a raft of gamers absent right here by way of a mix of damage, lack of match health or just sitting within the departure lounge ready for a transfer earlier than the window shuts subsequent month.
Ivic, who misplaced simply two league matches whereas successful back-to-back Israeli titles with former membership Maccabi Tel Aviv, has vowed that Watford will dominate possession and play on the entrance foot.
Watford (3-4-2-1): Foster; Wilmot, Cathcart, Kabasele; Ngakia, Chalobah, Cleverley (c), Femenia (Navarro 75); Sema (Murray 66), Quina (Phillips 90); Joao Pedro
Substitutes not used: Bachmann (GK); Sierralta, Pussetto, Sinclair
Manager: Vladimir Ivic
Scorer: Cathcart 11
Middlesbrough (3-4-1-2): Bettinelli; Dijksteel, Hall, McNair; Spence, Howson, Saville (Wing 78), Johnson; Tavernier; Fletcher, Assombalonga (c)
Substitutes not used: Pears (GK); Fry, Browne, Wood, Bola, Coulson
Manager: Neil Warnock
Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)
The Serbian has launched a brand new system with three on the again and flying wing-backs and, although a lot of his teaching workers stay absent due to visa points, there have been early indicators of encouragement if a number of unforced errors.
Of course they had been all the time more likely to management proceedings towards Neil Warnock’s Boro with the 71-year-old embarking on his forty first season of soccer administration by grumbling a couple of lack of latest signings and quashing any expectations of a promotion problem.
Not that anybody was getting that far forward early on as Watford took an Eleventh-minute lead. For all the brand new emphasis on enticing soccer at Vicarage Road, the Championship season’s opening aim was a set-piece Warnock would have admired.
Domingos Quina touched a brief nook to Ken Sema, whose swinging nook was met by Cathcart’s thumping header after he breezed in entrance of Grant Hall.
It was solely Cathcart’s eighth aim in what’s now an eighth season with Watford however it had the stern-faced Ivic smiling. On the within a minimum of.
Things can solely enhance for Boro after their brush with relegation final season and so they did carry a first-half menace.
Ashley Fletcher noticed an early effort deflected broad and later flicked a cute cross into Assombalonga who was denied a aim towards his former membership by Ben Foster’s toes.
Watford sometimes performed themselves into hassle on the again however when it clicked going ahead, they carried a menace absent for a lot of final season.
Joao Pedro’s low shot from exterior the field was straightforward sufficient for Marcus Bettinelli, whereas the younger Brazilian actually ought to have completed higher with a free header from one other Quina nook.
Boro pressed first after the break with Assombalonga turning sharply and firing a low shot that Foster touched across the publish although it seemed to be heading broad.
Watford supervisor Vladimir Ivic managed to supervise a victory in his first sport in cost
Middlesbrough supervisor Neil Warnock could not stop his side from being overwhelmed
There was no query Assombalonga was Boro’s likeliest scorer and his clipped 25-yard free-kick halfway by way of the half was tipped over by Foster. Djed Spence’s instinctive half-volley with the skin of his proper boot skewed broad of the mark.
Ivic launched Glenn Murray, the veteran striker in on mortgage from Brighton, in an effort to kill the sport however Watford possibilities had been few and much between because the minutes ticked down.
After Ben Wilmot introduced down Assombalonga with a wrestling transfer, incomes the sport’s first reserving, the striker met James Tavernier’s late free-kick, however may solely head over.