Boreham Wood 0 Watford 3

A crowd of 860, swelled by a large following from Watford, enjoyed the pre-season opener at Meadow Park.

Three quick-fire goals at the start of the second half, including two inside a minute for French striker Hameur Bouazza explained the scoreline.

This was a full strength Watford outfit whose quality in every department was unquestionable.

They took the game to the Wood from the kick off, utilising every inch of the superb playing surface, which has been widened by two metres for the coming season.

The Watford side featured no less than nine players who are products of their youth academy, while new Wood manager Steve Cook used five of Wood's PASE scheme products, a healthy statistic in the modern game of high profile and greed.

That Wood went in at half time with the score at 0-0 was a commendable achievement in itself.

The ex Dagenham and England semi-professional Mark Smith in the heart of the defence for Wood combined superbly with Leon Townley, to frustrate the skill and pace of the Watford forwards.

Marlon King and Anthony McNamee in particular caused Wood all kinds of problems in the opening half.

Wood keeper Noel Imber earned his keep, rushing off his line to deny King early on, before King turned provider for the Brazilian junior, shooting just wide from 10 yards.

Smith's alertness at the near post denied Watford another chance, as the game took on a one way feel.

Wood to their credit refused to roll over, with the midfield looking to push the ball out for Paul Burrows and Chris Watters to exploit the extended wings.

Imber equalled a rasping McNamee drive after a superb cross-field ball from Jamie Hand with a fine save, as Watford won a string of corners, with Marvin Samuel on hand in defence to clear from danger on occasions.

Wood managed a shot on target just before the interval. Some fine holding play from Townley in an advanced position allowed Ian Cooper a shot which he mishit, giving Watters licence to collect and strike on the right, albeit straight at keeper Lee.

Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd's half-time substitutes then stamped their authority on the game, bagging three goals between them inside six minutes.

The first, a rather soft concession was a product of a move involving Ashley Young and Bouazza.

Picking up play in midfield, Young fed the dazzling Bouazza whose run and cross from the left found Young just eight yards from goal. His toe poke seemingly wrong-footed Imber, who spilled the ball for the opener.

Four minutes later a cross again from the left by James Chambers picked out Young, whose shot cannoned off Imber, only for Bouazza to poke home at the far post, with Wood's Smith unlucky in his effort to prevent the ball crossing the line. It took less than 60 seconds for a now rampant Watford to to strike again. The seemingly unstoppable McNamee, given his opportunity in the first team under Gianluca Vialli, cut down the left crossing for Bouazza who drove home from inside the penalty area.

Denis Paratusic replaced Ryan Moran, Joe O'Brien relieved Kieren Adams who had shown quality in a first start since his lengthy injury, and Jamie Hazell took over from Chris Bangura in attack.

The phrase men against boys couldn't have been further from the truth, as the trio of local teenagers, along with Greg Morgan helped keep the scoreline respectable on what was for them a memorable afternoon in their fledgling careers.

The prestigious visitors produced first-class football when Paul Devlin's sublime ball from midfield dropped over the shoulder of Young. His fiercely struck volley was superbly palmed to safety by Imber.

The heat of the afternoon finally took the sting out of Watford's drive somewhat, although there was little for the Wood frontline to feed from, as Watford continued to dominate.

The afternoon gave new man in charge, Steve Cook, plenty of positives. He said: "Aside from improving fitness levels, Watford gave us a stern test both physically and mentally, which required my players to remain focused.

"I feel they accomplished that, and the youngsters in particular would have taken a huge amount from the game.

"It was a worthwhile exercise also in terms of our relationship with Watford, and gave me a first valuable insight into the capabilities of my players."