Writer: Colin Cowan
Date:Wednesday February 20 2013
WATFORD continued their push for an automatic promotion spot by grinding out another away win at Portman Road on Tuesday night.
Ikechi Anya put the Hornets ahead after 18 minutes with his second goal in as many games before Nathaniel Chalobah doubled the lead on the break as many minutes from time.
Watford coach Gianfranco Zola made three changes to the side that beat Birmingham City away last Saturday with defender Joel Ekstrand replacing Daniel Pudil who was struggling with illness. Jonathan Hogg also came in for Cristian Battochio whilst striker Fernando Forestieri was preferred to Matej Vydra.
Zola`s men started the brighter and almost took the lead in the opening minutes when Hogg found space just outside the box and his thunderous strike cannoned off the bar and bounced out for a goal kick.
Watford again had another chance to open the scoring, this time Troy Deeney with the chance but his goal bound shot was blocked and went out for a corner which was easily cleared by the Town defence.
Finally the Golden Boys broke the deadlock after 18 minutes. After some nice play down the left hand side the ball found its way to Anya who slotted the ball past Tractor Boys` goalkeeper Stephen Henderson to give Zola`s side a 1-0 advantage.
Following the opener, Ipswich began to grow into the game. Their first real chance came just before half time when sloppy defending from Nyron Nosworthy let in David McGoldrick but his shot was easily saved by Manuel Almunia.
Ipswich almost found an equaliser on the stroke of half time when a Richard Stearman cross found ex-Watford loanee Michael Chopra; his acrobatic overhead kick found the target but Almunia was equal to the shot.
After the half time interval the Tractor Boys started the brighter and won a corner in the opening minutes of the half, however Ekstrand was equal to this and was able to clear for the Hornets.
Ipswich did find the back of the net on the 55th minute, unfortunately for them a foul was given against Town defender Tommy Smith and the goal was disallowed.
As the second half wore on, Watford found their way back into the game. This started with Hogg, who almost increased the lead, but shot wide of Henderson`s goal.
Watford made the game safe with 18 minutes left when Chelsea loanee Chalobah was sent clean through on goal after an excellent pass from Hogg.
The England U21 player showed great composure to calmly slot the ball past Henderson to give the visitors a crucial two-goal lead.
Ipswich substitute Frank Nouble tried to find a way back into the game for his side, but his shot went past Almunia`s post, causing the Spaniard little trouble.
As the game entered its final minutes the Golden Boys kept their shape and did a professional job at the back to keep a clean sheet and come away with a vital victory.
The win keeps Watford in third place in the npower Championship standings, three points behind second-placed Hull City and eight behind leaders Cardiff City.
With 13 games remaining Zola will be optimistic that his side can keep up their form and make a push for one of the two automatic promotion spots.
Ipswich Town: Henderson; Stearman, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell; Edwards, N'Daw, Martin (Mclean), Hyam; Chopra & McGoldrick (Nouble).
Subs not used: Loach (GK), Hewitt, Kisnorbo, Drury & Murphy.
Watford: Almunia (c); Doyley, Nosworthy, Ekstrand; Cassetti, Chalobah, Abdi, Hogg, Anya (Forsyth),; Forestieri (Geijo) & Deeney (Yeates).
Subs not used: Bond (GK), Murray, Battochio & Vydra.
Referee: Mr R East (Wilthshere)
Attendance: 16 821 (954 Watford fans)
Written by Colin Cowan @Colinic
Date:Wednesday February 20 2013
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