Lightning never strikes twice, they say. Well, two days after thrashing Spurs, Watford beat another of the giants 5-1.
Manchester United had the perfect excuse for having an off-day. They were five days away from an FA Cup final against the league champions, Everton.
But take nothing away from the Hornets. They dismantled United every bit as impressively as they had Spurs.
Again, Nigel Callaghan gave Watford a flying start. The winger scored twice in the opening quarter of an hour.
Callaghan’s second was a curling free kick that flew over the heads of both Steve Terry and John Barnes, who were running in to meet it, and beat United keeper Gary Bailey at the far post.
Colin West grabbed the third and Luther Blissett and Kenny Jackett piled on the misery in the second half before Kevin Moran got one for United in the last minute.
Blissett got badly injured after about an hour. He collided with Bailey’s knee when he went for the ball and fractured his skull. When he had recovered, Les Simmons, the groundsman, presented him with the patch of blood-soaked turf from where the collision had
At the end of an extraordinary week, Watford travelled to Anfield and led Liverpool 2-0 before finally going down 4-3 in another remarkable game.
Watford scored 13 goals in the space of a week against the teams that finished second, third and fourth in the league. ‘We were still being Watford,’ says Graham Taylor. ‘We looked to attack, no matter who the opposition was. People assumed that the big teams had an off-day.’ In fairness to United’s manager Ron Atkinson, he didn’t make any excuses. ‘We weren’t taking it easy. We were hammered, plain and simple.’
Watford Coton, Sinnott, Rostron, Taylor, Terry, McClelland, Callaghan, Blissett (Porter 68), West, Jackett, Barnes
Manager Graham Taylor
Scorers Callaghan 10, 14, West 33, Blissett 66, Jackett 80
Manchester United scorer Moran 90
Why was this match chosen? It's not every day Watford beat Manchester United 5-1. Yes, the visitors had the FA Cup final a few days later (a scenario that wouldn't happen these days) but still, it was a result to cherish.
How do I feel about this game's inclusion now? Since Watford's return to the Premier League, it's been the thought that one day the Hornets might replicate results like this that has lifted the whole experience. They've had some great results – perhaps a good hammering is on the cards this coming season...