Watford 2, Ipswich Town 0: Saturday all right for Elton in Boothroyd's no-frills approach

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The Independent Football

It had been 16 months since Elton John last took in a game at Vicarage Road. The last occasion Watford's honorary life-president was in attendance his side were about to enter the play-offs, which ultimately saw them gain promotion to the Premier League, where they spent the majority of their stay stuck to the bottom of the table. He picked a good period to stay away.

On Saturday, as a guest of the manager, Aidy Boothroyd, Sir Elton sat in the dressing room before the game and then watched Watford defeat a below-par Ipswich and move to second place in the Championship. This came at the end of a week where the club did some spending that even he would be proud of, breaking their transfer record in signing Nathan Ellington from West Bromwich Albion for £3.25m.

Their new signing started on the bench, but put in an impressive 20-minute cameo, hitting the post and nearly scoring another. Boothroyd claims that the striker had "lost his way a little bit", but added, "I've got big hopes for him and I think he's going to be a terrific player for the club."

Ellington, who converted to Islam three years ago, paid tribute to his new club and manager. He described Boothroyd's approach as "different", and said: "He's clued up about everything. He makes sure your mind's right, your body's right and everything is right for the game."

Saturday's contest was a contrast between two teams seeking the same goal but with different ways of going about it. Watford started with relish and determination which, coupled with their all-action style, at times makes them resemble a prison team in a grudge match against the guards. This does them some injustice, however. With Jobi McAnuff and Tommy Smith, they have players who can make a real difference in the final third of the pitch.

Ipswich's passing game did not come together until the second half, at which point they already trailed to a Darius Henderson goal after six minutes. Henderson could have had at least two more before Smith deservedly secured Watford the points, cutting in from the right-hand side and curling a beautiful left-footed shot into the corner with 15 minutes to go. After a comprehensive three points against one of their main promotion rivals, Watford must be hoping that Sir Elton comes along more often in the future.

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