On Saturday 23rd August, Leeds fans made the trip down south to London, filled with optimism, excitement and a sense of pride in their team built up over a season of commanding performances. Sat next to them were the unlucky brothers who, unlike their counterparts, spent the journey cursing their preference for Elland Road over Headlingley, for football over rugby league.

As the two separated and we piled into Vicarage Road, the importance of the fixture to the club, and especially the manager, became clear – we were tense, and angry chants were only a hoof away.

The game started fairly evenly, and for the first time in many matches the United midfield seemed able to at least compete with Watford in the middle. Build up was sluggish and Watford threatened, but we had avoided an early goal. As seems to be the theme with this season so far however, just as nerves were eased and positivity began to fill the stands, Watford were ahead. Forestieri stole a march on a slow-to-react defence and Silvestri could only palm his shot straight back at him to head into the net.

Hockaday cajoled and yelled, and United’s best period of the match followed. Austin started to turn on the ball and look forward, debutant Antenucci was a useful link, and even Warnock started to get into forward areas. We passed it, a tactic so simple yet so elusive so far this season, and we earned our break as Watford’s Tamas turned it into the back of his own net. At half time, we were good value for being level.

Many of us skipped the half time pie to have a chant at Chris Kamara, handily located next to the away end. Chants of ‘he’s Leeds, and he knows he is’ produced smiles and applause from the Sky man, and before we knew it the second half was off.

And that’s when it all went wrong. Ten minutes into a cagey second half, Guiseppe ‘the Warrior’ Bellusci miscontrolled a simple ball and was left chasing worryingly back to goal. Everyone in the ground knew what was coming – Forestieri was through, Bellusci stuck his leg out in a fashion that would make Michael Brown beam with pride, and he was off. Deeney converted and Leeds were staring down the barrel. Again.

The importance of a win for Hockaday became all the more clear just as the points started to slip away from him. Forestieri had been a menace all afternoon, and so it was no surprise when he rounded four LUFC defenders with a couple of neat touches and slotted it past Silvestri for the third. The fans, who had previously clapped Bellusci off despite his error, turned their attention to The Hock. ‘This job’s too big for you’ was sung in unison by the travelling support who were furthered angered by the removal of Sharp for Cooper.

The pre-match dissatisfaction with The Hock was now a unified and vitriolic hatred. The team were embarrassing us and he was deemed to shoulder the blame. A well-worked fourth from a free kick confirmed the impending loss, but there was still time for more frustration. An off the ball incident between Byram and Watford’s Pudil left Leeds to finish the game with 9, a scenario exaggerated so theatrically by the Watford man that everyone associated with Leeds was foaming with anger. Except the Hock. He had bigger problems on his mind, including what Cellino would make of this latest disappointment. The final whistle was met with a chorus of boos and anti-Hock chants – surely he was a man on borrowed time.

Thanks to the diligent work of Phil Hay, we now know that Hockaday will get another week despite Cellino’s Mafia-style proclamations on Saturday that he’s ‘finished’. One chant more than any other sticks in the mind from Saturday however and it is one that the Hock would do well to address with urgency – ‘we’re shit, and we’re sick of it’.

Many thanks to Tom (@LUFC_Calypso) for providing this weeks match report.