Who needs Marlon King? Without the Championship's leading goalscorer, suspended after being sent off on Good Friday, Watford cemented their grip on third place yesterday with a return to winning ways after two draws and two defeats.
Having already assured their place in next month's play-offs, this was all about jockeying for position and the game was won with a pair of textbook headers from Darius Henderson.
In Adrian Boothroyd, Watford have one of the League's most innovative managers. After the game, he asked the fans to stay behind for a mock penalty shoot-out between two sets of Watford players - just in case they need a real one in the play-offs. "We're a young team and we have to be as prepared as we can," Boothroyd explained.
"You can practise penalties all you want but you can't recreate it. We want to go into the play-offs being everyone's second favourite team. After all, we were candidates for relegation."
Joe Royle made six changes after Ipswich's home defeat by Brighton on Saturday, with Nicky Forster alone up front, but his side had their moments, Alan Lee and Forster both bringing saves out of Ben Foster. But on 33 minutes Anthony McNamee made a driving run down the left and crossed for Henderson to head home at the far post.
Royle made two half-time substitutions and Ipswich quickly scored. Soon after referee Colin Webster waved away penalty appeals for Malky Mackay's trip on Lee, Forster met Darren Currie's free kick to score. Then, 12 minutes from time, Henderson scoredhis second, though Ashley Young looked offside.
Royle was furious: "The goal was three yards offside and the penalty was the most blatant one I've seen - apart from the last two we haven't been given," he said. "Their players were laughing in the tunnel. Once again we've been poorly served by the officials and I shall be writing to the League though I'm wasting my breath."
Watford (4-4-2): Foster; Doyley, Carlisle, Mackay, DeMerit; Eagles (Chambers, 72), Mahon, Bangura, McNamee (Stewart, 83); Young, Henderson. Substitutes not used: Chamberlain (gk), Mariappa, Robinson.
Ipswich Town (4-5-1): Price; Castro, Naylor, De Vos, McEverley; Lee (Peters, 90), Richards, Juan, Brekke-Skard (Currie, 46), Bowditch (Haynes, 46); Forster. Substitutes not used: Supple (gk); Wilnis.
Referee: C Webster (Tyne and Wear)Reuse content