since 1878

Watford (1) 3 - 1 (0) Ipswich Town

Sky Bet Championship 2013-14

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Referee: G Sutton

Manager: Giuseppe Sannino

Vicarage Road 15:00

Attendance: 16,615

Manager: Mick McCarthy

Match Number: 3555


 Albert Riera (20)
 Gabriele Angella (62)
 Lewis McGugan (64)
 Anthony Wordsworth (49)


Almen AbdiChristian Battocchio (79)
Albert RieraDaniel Pudil (82)
Lewis McGuganSean Murray (84)


 Gabriele Angella (59)
 Lewis McGugan (69)
 Daniel Tozser (82)



Manuel Almunia

Marco Faraoni

Albert Riera

Gabriele Angella

Joel Ekstrand

Tommy Hoban

Almen Abdi

Daniel Tozser

Mathias Ranegie

Troy Deeney

Lewis McGugan



Jonathan Bond

Essaid Belkalem

Christian Battocchio

Alexander Merkel

Lloyd Doyley

Sean Murray

Daniel Pudil

Match Report

Watford's Lewis McGugan rounds off quick-fire defeat of Ipswich Town

But for a stunning reflex save from Manuel Almunia in the Watford goal, Ipswich might have won this match and lifted themselves into the Championship's top six. The Spaniard somehow turned Luke Hyam's bullet header on to the bar, denying the visitors a 2-1 lead with an hour of the game gone. Within three minutes, Watford had scored twice and seized all three points to keep their own slender play-off hopes alive.

Mick McCarthy delivered his post-match conference with a wry smile. The Ipswich manager reckoned the real turning point was not the save but what he branded "our piss-poor marking" that followed it. Gabriele Angella was able to head home a long, hopeful free-kick which had been punted into a packed box in the 63rd minute. Two minutes later, a near-post snap-shot from Lewis McGugan effectively ended the contest.

"It's a great moment for them but there's no way he should have been able to get on the end of it," McCarthy added. "Up until the second goal I thought we were fabulous, but we've given it to them."

McCarthy was right that Ipswich's marking for the second goal was poor. But it was even worse in the first half when they allowed Watford to claim the first goal of the match. The opener arrived in the 21st minute when the former Liverpool winger Albert Riera drifted in from the left flank and swept a shot into the far corner. Ipswich must ask themselves why they afforded a player of such quality and experience so much space; it was an act of needless benevolence.

Ipswich had dominated the opening exchanges. They were the side with the most realistic promotion ambitions coming into the match - they sat just a point behind sixth-placed Brighton, while Watford were eight points shy with another game in hand - and with three men up front from kick-off, McCarthy's desire for victory was evident.

The young Jonny Williams was a scurrying, energetic presence in between the big frontmen, Daryl Murphy and Frank Nouble, but the goal seemed to deflate the visitors and the first half petered out horribly.

Ipswich were reinvigorated by the break and equalised in the 50th minute when Anthony Wordsworth crashed home a side-footed volley from close range after Nouble's delivery. The celebration was sheer pandemonium; the Ipswich players ran to their supporters in the Vicarage Road Stand and were swamped by jubilant fans, many of whom toppled over the barriers and on to the pitch.

A second Ipswich goal looked certain when Hyam connected with Williams' pacey cross from the left wing but Almunia diverted it on to the underside of the bar and the danger was cleared.

Watford scored with their next two attacks, with Daniel Tozser's providing the impetus on both occasion – first with his long delivery into the box and then with a darting run to the byline.

Beppe Sannino said: "Tozser's the only player I can't change in this team because I don't have any other players with his characteristics. He gave us the right balance. He's the only player that knows he's going to play in advance."

The Watford manager declined to assess his side's promotion hopes. McCarthy and his Ipswich players, on the other hand, are painfully aware of the significance of defeat on a weekend when their rivals had already slipped up.

"The players have all got iPads, iPhone, they're all on the internet, they all follow football, so yes of course [they knew Friday's results] and we all thought they were great results for us, but it doesn't make a blind bit of difference. You have to look at your own results."

Jonny Weeks (The Observer)

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