On a day in March that saw sunshine over Hertfordshire, Ipswich were the visitors to the in form Hornets at Vicarage Road.
Watford are somewhat of a bogey team to the Tractor Boys, who hadn’t beaten the Golden Boys in 14 attempts before their meeting at the start of spring.
Both teams had seen there seasons take a turn for the better in recent months as the threat of relegation had been eased and even an outside chance of making the playoffs had appeared. The table predicted a tight affair with both teams sitting on 51 points with Ipswich only sitting above the Hornets on goal difference.
It was the team sitting higher in the table that had the brightest start and had the majority of the play during the first half. Watford created the first chance of the day with impressive on loan fulham winger Alex Kacaniklic burrowing and weaving his way past two Ipswich defenders and finding Troy Deeney on the edge of the box who should have put Watford in front only to be denied by the legs of Alex McCarthy.
Ipswich took control of the game after that with a few half chances, and almost capitalised on poor defending from Watford when an in swinging corner was put into the heart of the Watford box and Damien Delaney heading only inches wide.
The Tractor Boys then took the lead through Jay Emmanuel-Thomas when a tame Adam Drury ball was put in from the left flank which was not dealt with by either Carl Dickinson or Thomas Kuszczak and Emmanuel-Thomas simply prodded the ball home.
After the break Watford manager Sean Dyche saw Prince Bauben as the ideal subsitute to start the second half revival. While not having a distictly eventful or exciting game, Bauben seemed to move the play deeper into the Ipswich half. The former Dundee Utd midfielder defended between the halfway line and the edge of the Ipswich penalty area, allowing Watford to press further forward. Soon after Chris Iwelumo was introduced and the big striker’s impact was immense.
A poor pass was then played by Kacaniklic through for Deeney but the Watford striker had the look of a man determined to be first to the ball and put great pressure on Delaney who was facing his own goal. It was Deeney who came up with the ball and saw his shot blacked by Delaney witht the ball falling greatfully at the ever improving Sean Murray’s feet. He took a composed touch and then finshed the ball into a virtually empty net.
Ipswich offered almost nothing in the second half and a second comeback in a row at Vicarage Road was complete when Deeney finsihed the game off in the 82nd minute. A poor backpass from Carlos Edwards was once again intercepted by Deeney. The keeper who was neither in the goal or at Deeney’s feet was in trouble.
Deeney tried a looping, curling, dipping effort at the goal. It seemed to hang for what seemed an eternity, Watford fans then saw the ball evade the defender on the line and the net ripple with the home crowd releasing the breath they had held watching Deeney’s strike and then thousands of voices bellwoing out Deeney’s name.
Watford now sit six points away from a play-off place after another impressive comeback and even more impressive form. Sean Dyche continues to impress as Watford manager and the likes of Danny Graham, Don Cowie and Malky Mackay seem a long way away now