Dean Bowditch recalls when Ipswich last beat Watford

Watford v Ipswich: March, 20, 2004. The day Dean Bowditch came to national attention and the last time Ipswich Town beat Watford home or away. A massive 15 league and cup games have followed between the two sides and Ipswich have accrued a measly three points from a possible 45.

“I CAN remember being in the changing room after the game and I didn’t know what to do. I had the match ball in my hands and all my team mates were grabbing it off me, wanting to sign it.”

It was the day that changed Dean Bowditch’s life.

A fresh-faced, little-known 17-year-old made the country stand up and take notice of his potential after bagging a hat-trick in the 4-1 televised win against Watford - Town’s next opponents.

Two goals inside the first 24 minutes and a third shortly after the hour mark had the SKY cameras buzzing and supporters crowing about the new terrace hero.

Recalling that amazing day, the last time Ipswich tasted victory over the Hornets, Bowditch said: “It was my first home start, at 17, and Joe Royle just threw me in and gave me a chance.

“It worked out well for me although I did have some luck. I didn’t even think about the hat-trick until at half time, when Alun Armstrong said he fancied me to get another.”

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The luck Bowditch referred to was largely down to Watford keeper Lenny Pidgeley who gifted the youngster goals one and three.

“Two were put on a plate but a striker would say he was working on his instincts,” Bowditch joked. “It was an amazing day, by far the best of my career. People still come up to me today and ask me about it.

“Everyone was buzzing afterwards and I think it was made that little bit more special by the fact it was a young lad who had come through the ranks.”

Bowditch, who scored just nine goals in his seven stop-start professional years at the club, admitted he was “shocked” to learn his special day was the last time Ipswich had beaten Watford in a dismal run that the term “bogey team” doesn’t even do justice to.

* This article first appeared on in December 2010