Watford 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
By Tim Hodges at Vicarage Road
The Albion are in the 5th Round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1986.
A goal from Ashley Barnes early in the first half, which eluded the occasionally hapless Gilmartin in the Watford goal, sent the Seagulls soaring through.
To all intents and purposes the Albion fielded a weakened team with Brezovan, Elphick, Sparrow and Barnes all making their first start for about three weeks.
Albion looked composed from the off adopting their usual possession game.
After around ten minutes Painter played in Wood who forced a save from the Watford keeper.
Then a superb interchange between Dicker and Barnes on the edge of the area saw the latter fire a shot goalwards, which Gilmartin fumbled into the net for 1-0.
Albion stuck to their possession game and Watford, despite their supposed superiority, were practically unable to get hold of the ball in an attacking position.
Chris Wood had an effort that the Watford keeper needed two attempts to grab as the half wore on.
With Albion in control on the pitch, the floodlights went off and although ten minutes of the first half remained, the change in light conditions was noticeable.
In the semi darkness Watford’s Doyley cleared off the line from another Wood strike.
As the second half started Vicarage Road was again bathed in artificial light. And within minutes Barnes hit the crossbar with a well placed header from a Calderon cross.
Soon after from the same supply man both Wood and Murray were wrong footed and unable to convert, as the ball bobbled around the six-yard box.
Watford were attempting to get Albion to play to their style. But Brezovan was equal to a weak shot and a speculative cross from Mingioa.
Albion continued to outplay Watford as the game progressed. Liam Bridcutt was exceptional in breaking up play and his vision to set Albion back on the attack was also exceptional.
From one particular angled pass, he set Wood away, he in turn played in Dicker who crossed to Calderon, the Spaniard cushioned a header into the penalty area and Marcos Painter had the time to text his mates that he was about to score, before firing wide.
As Albion continued to press the Hornets on the counterattack Tommy Elphick had a snap shot fly wide from the edge of the six-yard box from Calderon.
In the last five minutes Watford tried their best to penetrate, but despite their respective league placings, the Albion looked in control, comfortable and saw the game out with ease.
The Seagulls have been drawn away to Stoke City in the 5th Round, which may present a conundrum to Brighton Argus sports reporter and John Vinicombe replacement, Andy Naylor.
Naylor will be keen to see the Seagulls triumph as are all at The Argus, but he is also a renowned Stoke fan, so his loyalties may be somewhat divided.
A screaming headline reporting on an Albion win and Delilah may never forgive him!
Watford: Gilmartin; Doyley, Mariappa, Taylor, Hodsdon; Mingoia, McGinn, Buckley; Sordell, Deeney, Graham. Subs: Loach, Eustace, Bryan, Bennett, Kiernan, Weimann, Whichelow.
Albion: Brezovan; Calderon, Greer, Elphick, Painter; Sparrow, Bridcutt, Dicker; Murray, Wood, Barnes. Subs: Poke, Battipiedi, Bennett, Baz, Holroyd, Dunk, Sandaza.
Ref: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne and Wear).
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