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Imagine the furore there would be if the manager of a Premier League club chose to go on holiday while his team played an important League Cup tie.

Brian Clough left his assistant Peter Taylor in charge not because he was so arrogant that he thought his team could cope without him but because it was the school holidays.

Clough took his family to Majorca thinking that his Nottingham Forest team was perfectly capable of winning without him.

After all, Nottingham Forest were the reigning European champions and had reached the League Cup final three years in a row.

Graham Taylor selected John Ward, usually a centre forward, for a specific job. He told Ward to mark Forest’s winger John Robertson as tightly as he could. Robertson could hurt a team with one dribble and cross, so Taylor wanted to cancel him out, hoping to make the game  a clash of ten against ten.

They played Liverpool’s anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone before kick-off and it had the desired affect, whipping the crowd into a frenzy and heightening the emotion.

The first half was tight. As expected, Forest were dangerous but Watford kept going forward and eventually the pressure began to tell.

Four minutes before half-time, Kenny Burns fouled Malcolm Poskett in the penalty area and Blissett scored the penalty.

Forest didn’t have time to recover before they were two behind. Ross Jenkins was dominating Larry Lloyd, in the air and on the ground, and he capitalised on a mistake to score.

Perhaps fearful of a Forest fightback, at half-time Taylor urged Watford to keep pushing on. Jenkins scored two more before Ian Wallace managed to pull a goal back.

Clough waited until the morning to ring the club to find out the result, and apparently thought he was having his leg pulled when they told him.

Beating the European Cup holders had Watford’s supporters wondering just how good their team would turn out to be.

Taylor reminded them that football has a funny habit of bringing you down to earth. In the next round, they lost 5-0 to Coventry City in a replay.

But that did nothing to dampen the memory of a night when Watford beat the team that ruled Europe.

Watford Steele, Henderson, Harrison, Blissett, Sims, Jackett, Poskett, Ward, Jenkins, Train, Rostron.
Manager Graham Taylor
Scorers Jenkins 43, 55, 69, Blissett 41 pen
Forest scorer Wallace 74
Attendance 22,742


1978-79 Semi-finals
Beat Brentford 7-1 on aggregrate; Newcastle United H 2-1; Manchester United A 2-1; Exeter City A 2-0; Stoke City H 3-1 (replay)
Lost to Nottingham Forest 1-3 on aggregate

1980-81 Quarter-finals
Beat Millwall 4-1 on aggregate; Southampton 7-5 on aggregate; Sheffield Wednesday A 2-1; Nottingham Forest H 4-1
Lost to Coventry City A 0-5 in a replay

1981-82 Quarter finals
Beat Grimsby Town 3-2 on aggregrate; Lincoln City A 3-2 in a replay; QPR H 4-1
Lost to Ipswich Town A 1-2

1984-85 Quarter-finals
Beat Cardiff City 3-2 on aggregate; Leeds United A 4-0; WBA H 4-1
Lost to Sunderland H 0-1

2001-02 Quarter-finals
Beat Plymouth H 1-0, Bristol City A 3-2, Bradford City H 4-1, Charlton Athletic H 3-2
Lost to Sheffield Wednesday A 0-4

2004-05 Semi-finals
Beat Cambridge United H 1-0; Reading A 3-0; Sheffield United A 0-0 on penalties; Southampton H 5-2; Portsmouth H 3-0
Lost to Liverpool 0-2 on aggregate