Watford 2 Coventry City 1: Boothroyd's men keep cool heads to reheat push for promotion

Never mind the quality, just feel the points. Despite an extremely poor performance, this win lifted Watford to within one point of second place in the Championship and given their recent run, Aidy Boothroyd will take victory any which way it comes.

The Hornets have won the fewest home games of any of the top six but this result – their first home or away triumph in nine games – banished, possibly only temporarily, fears that their automatic promotion hopes had disappeared. Given their poor form at Vicarage Road, the fact they have three more games there in the run-in is little cause for comfort. Goals here by Nathan Ellington and Tommy Smith, with Coventry's Leon Best scoring in between, were enough.

You can guarantee that the Hertfordshire side will be involved in a scrap at one end of the table or other at this time of year. In Boothroyd's three years in charge, his CV reads: avoided relegation, won promotion, and relegated. Instant promotion is expected now, but he himself has mixed feelings about that.

He said: "Sometimes experience in these situations helps, and sometimes it can make you anxious. Here we kept a cool head and ground out a result and we have to make sure we keep winning.

"Compared to 2006 [when they were promoted via the play-offs] we're a better team than then. We're also a team that's expected to get promotion. In the Premiership last year I set the ceiling too high but that's the guy I am and this year we're experiencing expectation which is different again. All the emotions and every different thing a team has, we've had in a very short space of time. I think that's helped me and helped the players too."

Boothroyd himself is looking for that something extra – "I'm trained in certain aspects of sports psychology" – to squeeze his team into the top two. He said: "As for finding an edge, there are lots of things I think we can do and we've had a meeting about that. It's a tense time, everybody thinks they can win it, everybody knows if they're not right they can lose it."

Coventry could lose their Championship status if they are not careful, something manager Chris Coleman reminded his players of after their dire first-half showing, but they only lost due to a defensive misjudgment by Dan Fox, letting in Smith for his late winner.

Goals: Ellington (7) 1-0; Best (59) 1-1; Smith (80) 2-1

Watford 4-4-2: Lee; Doyley (DeMerit, 87), Bromby, Shittu, Sadler; Smith, Williamson, O'Toole, McAnuff (Stewart, 83); Ellington (Mariappa, 83), Kabba. Substitutes not used: Poom (gk), John.

Coventry City 4-4-2: Schmeichel; Duffy (Mifsud, h/t), Ward, Dann, Fox; Osbourne, Doyle, Hughes, Gray (Thornton, 89); Best, Simpson (Hines, 72). Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), Hall.

Referee: D Deadman (Cambridgeshire)

Man of the Match: Ellington.

Attendance: 17,188.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk