Mullins: “He's Getting Goals To Go With His Endeavour”
Sam Dalby scored his fourth goal in three games and his sixth of the season to earn the Under-23s a point at the death at Coventry, keeping Hayden Mullins’ side at the top of the table and continuing their unbeaten run.
The match was first versus second in the Professional Development League and the Golden Boys dominated both in terms of possession and chances created at the Alan Higgs Centre in Coventry, but the hosts took the lead after 15 minutes when Gervane Kastaneer finished a counter-attack.
After countless Hornets efforts failed to find the back of the net it felt like it just wasn’t going to be Watford’s day. That is until Dalby cropped up with a real poacher’s finish in the 85th minute to level the scores and stifle Coventry’s hopes of leapfrogging Watford in the table.
“It’s a very good point and I think we were the better team from the first minute if I’m being honest. We had the lion’s share of possession, we camped them a lot in their own half and the amount of chances we had, we were unlucky to be 1-0 down,” said Mullins.
“I thought it was going to be one of those games we weren’t going to get back into despite the amount of chances we had. In the end, to come away from home and dominate possession like we did and be disappointed with a point, for us it’s a compliment to the boys.
“The most pleasing thing for me was the character today and the way they kept going and didn’t get too down after the amount of chances we’ve missed.”
The young Hornets dominated out wide, with many chances coming through Joe Hungbo and the spritely Jayden Bennetts, who had the beating of Coventry left-back Morgan Williams from the third minute when he set up Dalby for a chance which was arrowed just wide.
“He [Bennetts] did very, very well, in fact both of them did,” said Mullins. “Joe put some great crosses in during the first half and Jayden was getting past his man, but we just sort of lacked that one killer pass to unlock their defence and get a goal.”
But a goal eventually came through the towering Dalby, who was an invaluable outlet throughout and continued his goalscoring streak by reacting quickest to a parried late Bennetts effort.
“[Dalby’s] contribution is very good, in both boxes he’s a good presence for us and he’s a very good option for us in free play as well. I’m pleased he’s getting his goals as well to go with his endeavour and his work rate because he works well for the team,” said Mullins.
“It was a tough test today. They had a couple of first team lads involved which is always a good test for our boys, to go up against them and see the difference in physicality and things like that. It was very pleasing.”
Henry Wise was dismissed in injury time for a second yellow card after a strong tackle, but the young Hornets comfortably held out for the draw.
“Eventually getting back into it and going one man down as well is a different test for them, and I was pleased with the character,” said Mullins. “The season’s not over and there’s a bigger picture we need to look towards, so we can’t let it slip.”
HORNETS: Parkes (GK); Balogun (C), Barrett, Spencer-Adams (Trialist 72), Hudson; Wise, Whelan; Bennetts, Hinds (Forster 77), Hungbo (Cassidy 77); Dalby
Subs not used: Hoskins (GK), Adebiyi