Watford inflict seventh straight defeat on Ipswich Town as once again they let a lead slip
IPSWICH Town have now lost seven straight Championship games after Watford came from 1-0 down to win at Portman Road this afternoon.
For the third time in four games, the Blues turned a lead into a defeat – and it was two quick goals which once again did for them.
Keith Andrews headed the home side into the lead a minute before half-time and Ipswich pushed hard for a killer second after the restart.
Watford equalised against the run of play in the 69th minute though when Marvin Sordell won and tucked a home a contentious penalty, given for a tangle of legs with Ibrahima Sonko.
Five minutes later the visitors grabbed what proved to be the winner when substitute Troy Deeney lashed home a loose ball after Mark Yeates’ shot had hit a prone Danny Collins.
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Only a late winner from Brighton against Nottingham Forest keeps Town out the relegation zone, with the pressure continuing to mount on manager Paul Jewell.
However, it was a much-improved performance from the Suffolk side following last Tuesday’s limp 4-0 defeat at Burnley, with players showing plenty more spirit and desire.
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Despite the result, most within Portman Road appreciated the effort from their struggling side and there was even some warm applause amongst a smattering of boos at the final whistle.
With a reduced crowd of 16,262 at Portman Road, the Blues survived a major scare in the 15th minute – England Under-21 international Sordell blazing from a glorious position. However, the home side gradually grew into a game short on quality.
Ibrahima Sonko also smashed a good chance over the bar in the 25th minute after Collins’ header from a corner was well-saved by keeper Scott Loach.
And following a series of half-chances, they got their noses in front less than a minute before the half-time whistle when midfielder Keith Andrews glanced home a superb header from Daryl Murphy’s first-time cross.
Blues keeper David Stockdale made a superb save to keep the scores level soon after the restart, clawing Adrian Mariappa’s looping shot out from under the crossbar.
Town responded superbly though and Jason Scotland came agonisingly close to getting on the end of Lee Bowyer’s drilled shot-cum-cross.
In an increasingly open game, Watford winger Mark Yeates curled a superb 25-yard free-kick against the crossbar. And when the ball came back into the box, Stockdale made an excellent reaction save with his legs from Sordell’s improvised heeled flick.
Town kept battling and, for a spell, looked likely to add a killer second.
Lee Martin saw a low shot fizz past the post, Scotland once again came close to getting onto a drilled ball into the box, while Chopra had a goal ruled out for offside and then couldn’t quite react quickly enough when an Aaron Cresswell free-kick was parried away.
Watford’s 69th minute equaliser therefore came against the run of play. Sordell played a neat one-two with Kightly to get into the box, Sonko clumsily ran across his heels – though how much contact is unclear – and a penalty was awarded. Sordell dusted himself down and cooly slotted home the spot-kick.
True to form, Town then conceded a second within five minutes.
Martin was caught trying to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick, Sordell pulled the ball back, Yeates’ shot hit a prone Collins and substitute Troy Deeney was there to lash home the loose ball.
To their credit, Ipswich fought hard for an equaliser and almost got one in the 84th minute. A deep Cresswell free-kick caused havoc, but Watford repeatedly got men in front of the ball during a goalmouth scramble.
KEY duo David Stockdale and Ibrahima Sonko were both been passed fit to start for Ipswich Town as they look to halt a run of six straight defeats against Watford at Portman Road.
Fulham loanee keeper Stockdale returned following a two-match absence with a shoulder injury, while centre-back Sonko also came back following a torn hamstring.
The Blues had conceded 15 goals since the no-nonsense defender limped off against Millwall, with 17 of their 20 Championship points having come with him in their side.
Winger Lee Martin and striker Jason Scotland both returned to the side, with manager Paul Jewell making four changes to his starting line-up for the third game in succession.
Arran Lee-Barrett and Jimmy Bullard dropped to the bench following Tuesday night’s woeful 4-0 defeat at Burnley, while Mark Kennedy and Ivar Ingimarsson dropped out of the squad completely.
Daryl Murphy started on the left of midfield having played up front in recent games, while there was no place on the bench for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.
England Under-21 striker Marvin Sordell started for Watford having missed Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw with Bristol City, with Swansea loanee Craig Beattie dropping to the bench.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Stockdale; Edwards, Sonko, Collins, Cresswell; Martin, Andrews (cpt), Bowyer, Murphy; Chopra (Ellington 77), Scotland.
Subs: Lee-Barrett, Wabara, Bullard, Carson.
Booked: Andrews (83)
WATFORD (4-4-2): Loach; Hodson, Nosworthy, Mariappa (cpt), Dickinson; Yeates, Buaben (Eustace 66), Hogg, Kightly (Beattie 89); Iwelumo (Deeney 66), Sordell.
Subs: Bond, Mirfin.
Booked: Nosworthy (51), Dickinson (63), Deeney (74), Sordell (82)
Attendance: 16,262 (638 away)
Referee: Keith Stroud