Ipswich Town 1 Watford 2: Boothroyd forsakes style to send Watford top

And so there it went, just like that. The last unbeaten home record in the Football League this season was lost with scarcely a whimper. The snarling and the attitude all came from Watford. To wit, four yellow cards for Aidy Boothroyd's victorious men, none for Ipswich.

The attractive football that has been so pleasing on the eye in this campaign from Ipswich Town was also absent. Jason De Vos, the Ipswich captain, could accept defeat, even though he said "I hate losing", but not in this weak manner. "This is a bitter pill to swallow," added the Canadian centre-half. "I'm very disappointed to lose at home. If you lose when you play below your standards that's hard to take."

This was a collective failure on Ipswich's behalf, as they faced up to Watford's straightforward, belt and braces approach. Boothroyd's style does not change and the home side would have been aware of what they were about to face. However, forewarned was not forearmed and they never looked like playing their way out of the trouble they faced when going a goal down, to Tommy Smith's header, after little more than half-an-hour.

At Ipswich there is no Plan B when things get worse, as they did when Nathan Ellington was unmarked eight yards out and finished past Stephen Bywater. Jonathan Walters tapped in later but they never threatened an equaliser.

It was not an exercise in making friends by Watford, despite Boothroyd saying he loves the way Ipswich play the game. In the same breath he reminded people he used to work down the road at Norwich City.

This win, with Al Bangura impressing in midfield, sent the Hornets back to the top of the Championship, a place Boothroyd said "he hated to be." With West Bromwich Albion losing, Watford are in charge of the division again, but Boothroyd's reasoning was that when they were top earlier this season, other teams simply refused to play an open game against them.

Not that the Hertfordshire side were playing into Ipswich's hands at Portman Road. Boothroyd said: "For that performance I would give it 10 out of 10 for winning, and five out of 10 for style." Time-wasting, after going two up, was top of their agenda, much to the exasperation of the home fans, even if the Ipswich manager, Jim Magilton, and De Vos refused to complain about the tactics. In defeat, Ipswich might have learnt a thing or two if they are to keep their promotion hopes alive.

Goals: Smith (33) 0-1; Ellington (56) 0-2; Walters (71) 1-2.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Bywater; Wright, Bruce, De Vos, Harding; Norris, Miller (A Lee, h-t), Garvan (Sumulikoski, 60), Quinn; Walters, Counago (Haynes, 60). Substitutes not used: Colgan (gk), Naylor

Watford (4-4-2): R Lee; Mariappa, Bromby, Shittu, Sadler; Smith (Kabba, 82), Eustace, Bangura, Ainsworth (Stewart, 54); Ellington (O'Toole, 76), Henderson. Substitutes not used: Poom (gk), Doyley

Referee: A D'Urso (Hampshire)

Booked:Watford Eustace, Henderson, Bromby, Bangura.

Man of the match: Bangura.

Attendance: 24,227

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all