If there is one thing you can depend on in the Championship it is that it will nearly always provide one more chance. At Vicarage Road relegated Scunthorpe out-played a Watford side who, despite one win in 13 games, remain in control of their own destiny.
"We've got more lives than a cat," the Watford manager, Aidy Boothroyd, said. "The problem with that is eventually they run out and you have to take responsibility for your own life and your own future. We're afraid at the moment and when you're afraid you have a choice to stand and fight or run. We have to stand and fight."
A victory at Blackpool in their final game on Sunday, will confirm Watford's participation in the play-offs and keep alive the possibility of a return to the Premier League, after relegation last season, which Boothroyd says will the "greatest achievement" of his managerial career.
He believes his players have the stomach for the fight but there was no evidence of this on Saturday. Scunthorpe could have been three up by the time they took the lead with a smartly-worked goal in the 69th minute. Paul Hayes met Jonathan Forte's cross with a firm header to set up a victory which moved his side on to 45 points, a total which would have seen them survive last season.
Watford's Jay DeMerit said his manager retained the support of the dressing room. "We're behind the manager; we have to be," he said. "As players, whether we agree with his decisions or not, ultimately he makes the decisions and that's football. We all take that on board and that sometimes he doesn't make the right decisions – and he's usually man enough to admit it. Then you move forward and that's what it's about."
Instead of doing the lap of honour that usually marks the last home game of the season, Boothroyd and his men left the pitch to boos. They will look for a chance – in the play-offs – to make amends with their supporters. This being the Championship, they are likely to get it.
Goal: Hayes (69) 0-1.
Watford (4-4-2): Lee; Doyley, DeMerit, Shittu, Stewart; Smith, Eustace, O'Toole, McAnuff (Ellington, 61); Henderson (Ainsworth, 61), Priskin. Substitutes not used: Poom (gk), Williamson, Mariappa.
Scunthorpe United (4-4-2): Murphy; Byrne, Iriekpen, Butler, Williams; Forte (Winn, 88), Cork, Morris, Hurst (Sparrow, 45); Hayes (Weston, 89), May. Substitutes not used: Wright, Picton.
Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).
Booked: Watford Doyley, Priskin; Scunthorpe Morris.
Man of the match: Morris.
In the frame for promotion
* CHAMPIONSHIP Stoke, West Brom, Hull and Bristol City are guaranteed at least a play-off spot.
* LEAGUE ONE Swansea win title. Doncaster, Nottm Forest and Carlisle guaranteed play-off spot and could secure automatic promotion, as could Leeds pending outcome of a legal challenge. Southend also in play-offs.
* LEAGUE TWO MK Dons win title. Peterborough and Hereford are promoted. Rochdale, Stockport, Darlington and Wycombe in the play-offs.Reuse content