Sat 18 Apr 15
at 17:31 PM
The Report: Watford 1 Blues 0
Birmingham City were narrowly beaten at Vicarage Road by a Watford side who went top the top of the table following the win.
Craig Cathcart's 56th minute volley was the difference between the two sides.
The opening exchanges at Vicarage Road were rather even and Blues nearly had the chance to go into an 11th minute lead when Paul Caddis' throw was flicked into the path of Andy Shinnie by Clayton Donaldson, but the Scottish midfielder couldn't quite get anything on it six-yards from goal.
As the match grew, the hosts started to dictate the play and dominate possession, with Blues looking to sting the Hornets on the break.
After 20 minutes Blues had Darren Randolph to thank for keeping the score level, with Blues enjoying a spell of possession in the Watford half, the hosts broke and skipper Troy Deeney had only Randolph to beat but the 'keeper saved well with his legs and then showed great agility to bounce back up to tip Matej Vydra's rebound against the frame of the goal.
Moments later and Vydra went close again, his effort flashing across goal and the far post.
Blues defended their goal well as a team, with Demarai Gray getting back on numerous occasions to block Adlene Guedioura's shot after good build up play the hosts as they worked the ball across the Blues area.
Just before the half-hour mark and Gray nearly got lucky when Craig Cathcart tried to nod the ball back to Heurelho Gomes in the Watford goal, but his header almost pounced upon by Gray, but Watford managed to scramble it away.
Two minutes later and Almen Abdi thought he had put his side in the lead. the midfielder picked up the ball on the edge of the Blues box and and curled his effort narrowly past the post.
In the final quarter of an hour of the opening 45 minutes, Blues got a foothold in the match and limited the hosts and had a few potshots themsleves. Clayton Donaldson trying his luck from distance but his tame effort rolled safely into Gomes' arms.
Into the second half, and two minutes in and Watford had a shout for a penalty. David Davis - introduced at half-time - bringing down Vydra in the box but the referee waving away the appeals.
Five minutes later and Blues had their best chance of the match. Caddis finding Donaldson who beat Gabriele Angella for pace, before getting into the Watford area where he brought a strong save from Gomes at the near post.
After 54 minutes, the hosts called on Odion Ighalo and Ikechi Anya from the bench and two minutes later the latter provided the cross for what turned out to be Watford's winning goal. Anya getting the better of Paul Caddis before whipping in a cross which was acrobatically volleyed home by centre-back Craig Cathcart.
Nine minutes later and Blues had Stephen Gleeson to thank for keeping Blues in the match. Abdi's corner headed goalwards by Angella where Gleeson was perfectly positioned to clear the ball away.
Blues introduced Lee Novak and Wes Thomas into the fold but neither could cause the hosts any problems.
The closest Blues came to getting an equaliser was when David Cotterill's free-kick was hung up towards the far post but Rob Kiernan couldn't direct his header goalwards.
The hosts thought they'd been given a penalty late on, but Caddis challenge on Anya deemed to be just outside the box.
At the end, Gary Rowett praised his side's performance against a strong Watford side, who now sit top of the table following their narrow win.