since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 1 - 2 (1) Watford

Coca-Cola Championship 2007-08

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Referee: AP DUrso

Manager: Jim Magilton

Portman Road 15:00

Attendance: 24,227

Manager: Adrian Boothroyd

Match Number: 3242


 Jon Walters (71)
 Smith (33)
 Ellington (56)


AinsworthStewart (54)
EllingtonOToole (77)
SmithKabba (82)


 Eustace (42)
 Henderson (51)
 Bangura (70)
 Bromby (72)





















Match Report

Boothroyd wins ugly to breach Ipswich fortress

This was not just a promotion battle, but a clash of contrasting styles. In compiling a hitherto unbeaten home record, Ipswich have relied on a fluent passing game. Watford, meanwhile, have bullied their way to the top of the pile. Here, it was the bullies who won as Watford meanly and effectively steamrollered the Tractor Boys. It was ugly, unforgiving stuff. 'I thought the better team won,' Jim Magilton said. 'I thought they came and did a real professional job on us. Anybody who finishes above them will be promoted.'

'It wasn't easy,' Aidy Boothroyd said. 'On winning it was a 10, on stylish and nice it was a five. We are in the business of winning and that's what we do.'

Watford, seemingly twice the size of the Ipswich team, had the majority of the play during an extremely quiet opening. They were rather ponderous, but Ipswich lacked cohesion.

Twenty minutes in, Ipswich finally completed a fluent passing movement, but the final ball went awry. It was desperately thin stuff. 'We were sloppy,' Magilton said. The ball was passed to Darius Henderson, but he was offside. That was as good as it got. 'Boring, boring Watford,' sang the home fans.

And slowly everyone drifted off to sleep, including the Ipswich defence, who made a group decision not to bother defending a corner from Mathew Sadler and allowed Tommy Smith to head in from six yards. 'Boring, boring Watford,' sang the away fans.

That the game needed a goal was an understatement, but it proved to be so somnambulant that it was resistant even to that cliché. John Eustace of Watford was booked in the 40th minute. Jonathan Walters shot 10 yards wide, the nearest Ipswich had come. Inspired, he cut in from the right and drew an actual save from Richard Lee. Everyone needed half time to recover.

Magilton brought on Alan Lee for Tommy Miller and, at last, there was a moment of high skill, Lee running on to a through ball from David Wright and delicately chipping his namesake only for the ball to bounce back off the crossbar.

It was a matter of inches. A matter of minutes later Watford bludgeoned their way further ahead, the ball pinging across the Ipswich penalty area before falling to Nathan Ellington to drive it into the net. 'Boring, boring, Watford,' sang their fans.

They were bigger, they were stronger and they were better. Magilton brought on his remaining substitutes in an attempt to keep the home record intact. Twenty minutes from time they found a lifeline as Walters stretched to poke the ball past Lee.

Everything was up for grabs. Watford resorted to time-wasting, Leigh Bromby taking for ever to cross the field for a trademark long throw and then seemingly longer to deliver it. He was rightly booked.

Players fell to ground and stayed there. The wrong player walked achingly slowly over to be substituted and then another one had to be summoned. Watford were trying to strangle the life out of what had been a dead game.

It was not edifying. Their tactics, allied to the way they play the game, left a sour taste. Wimbledon of old may have been direct, but at least they got on with it. Referee Andy D'Urso played only four extra minutes. 'I'm always disappointed with Mr D'Urso,' Magilton said. Watford will probably go up, but, unless they change their ways, their grinding approach will add neither grace nor style to the Premier League.

At the end, home and away fans sang 'Boring, boring, Watford'. There's winning ugly, there's winning uglier and there's winning Watford.

Will Buckley (Guardian)

Match Gallery


2007-08 Reports