Ipswich held by Watford as they miss chance to go top


Ipswich missed out on the chance to take over at the Sky Bet Championship summit but did move up to second after they were held to a goalless draw at home to Watford.

After promotion rivals Leicester and Leeds dropped points on Tuesday, victory for Kieran McKenna’s men would have been the perfect tonic to Saturday’s 1-0 loss at bitter foes Norwich.

However, Tom Cleverley’s Watford proved stubborn opponents and Town had to settle for a point, which does lift them above Leeds with four games left in the battle to secure automatic promotion.

Ipswich were eager to bounce back from their East Anglian derby defeat and McKenna made four changes but watched his team almost fall behind after eight minutes.

Watford youngster Yaser Asprilla tried his luck from by the halfway line although, much to the relief of goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky, it sailed a few inches over.

Town dominated possession and created their first chance when the recalled Harry Clarke burst forward and passed into Kieffer Moore, who teed up Nathan Broadhead but his low effort was saved by Daniel Bachmann.

Moore went close himself after 28 minutes when Kayden Jackson raced away down the right but his cross was swept wide by the Bournemouth loanee.

Ipswich impressively fashioned another chance eight minutes later when Hutchinson passed out wide to Broadhead, whose left-footed strike hit the inside of the post and rolled across the goal line to safety.

The Hornets were on the ropes and the next opportunity for the hosts was inadvertently blocked by Broadhead, who got in the way of a Jack Taylor shot.

After Bachmann had watched Ipswich lay siege to his goal, the Austrian stopper sprung into action three minutes before half-time with a superb save to deny a flying header by Moore from Clarke’s cross.

It ensured it was goalless at the break but Watford provided a reminder of their threat early in the second period when Asprilla sent in a dipping effort that Hladky could only parry away.

McKenna had seen enough and made a triple substitution with 26 minutes left.

The tension around Portman Road was palpable and gaps started to open up but Hladky thwarted Jamal Lewis’ low effort before Ipswich captain Sam Morsy slid in to deny Ismael Kone’s follow-up.

Town substitute Ali Al-Hamadi had a late shot deflected wide before Watford almost stole the points but Hladky batted away Edo Kayembe’s speculative effort deep into stoppage-time.



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