Town too good for stubborn Watford
PUBLISHED: 17:09 14 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:11 03 March 2010
Ipswich Town 4 Watford 2: IPSWICH Town grabbed a precious three points with a 4-2 victory over Watford at Portman Road.
Goals from Tommy Miller and Richard Naylor gave Town a 2-0 lead at half-time.
Ipswich Town 4 Watford 2
IPSWICH Town grabbed a precious three points with a 4-2 victory over Watford at Portman Road.
Goals from Tommy Miller and Richard Naylor gave Town a 2-0 lead at half-time. Tommy Smith pulled a goal back for Watford early in the second half only for Pablo Counago to restore Town's two-goal cushion.
There was still time for Neil Cox to put the home crowd on edge heading in from a corner but Marcus Bent returned to action for Ipswich with a goal five minutes from time to secure the win.
Town made the most of their limited chances in a scrappy first half and went in at half time with a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Miller picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and the Town midfielder lashed the ball into the top corner of the net with a thunderous shot.
It was a great goal which settled the Town's nerves and Ipswich looked more in control of the game without truly threatening the Watford goal.
Town boss Joe Royle would have been pleased to take a lead into the break but must have been delighted when Naylor doubled the Blues' advantage on 33 minutes.
Counago did great defensive work deep in the Town half before sending a glorious pass to find Naylor. Naylor carried the ball 30 yards before firing the ball past Alec Chamberlain in the Watford goal.
But any thoughts of an easy win for Town were dispelled just four minutes into the second half. A mistake by Thomas Gaardsoe put Town under pressure and Heidar Helguson flicked the ball through to Smith who stroked the ball past Andy Marshall.
Watford made the most of this opportunity to get back in the match and put Town under increasing pressure.
Marcus Bent made his comeback for Town, replacing Naylor on the hour mark, and just five minutes later he was involved in the move which led to Counago's goal.
Miller received the ever-willing Counago was first to the rebound and restored Town's two-goal advantage with a good finish.
But Watford were right back at Ipswich and after a succession of corners they were again back in the game.
On 73 minutes Neal Ardley curled over another corner and Cox rose highest to head home for Watford.
It looked to have set up a grandstand finish but Marcus Bent made things easy for Ipswich with a goal just five minutes from time.
Cox failed to clear a long ball forward and Marcus Bent was on the loose ball in a flash and lashed the ball into the net to seal the three points for Town.
This wasn't the greatest performance from Town but three points will have delighted the Ipswich camp and it sets things up nicely for the crucial Christmas period.
If Town can take maximum points from their matches between now and the New Year play-off promotion may still be a possibility for the Blues.
We can but hope!