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Watford Stop Leicester From Reaching 10 Wins In A Row

Tuesday 11th February 2014
James Dean reviews an action packed week in the Championship where Leicester drop two points and Burnley start to close the gap on the league leaders.

After nine straight league wins, table toppers Leicester hosted Watford at the King Power Stadium. It was the visitors who set the early pace, taking the lead inside the opening 10 minutes. Troy Deeney picked the ball up 25 yards out and fired a shot towards goal which was met by a superb diving header from Fernando Forestieri. Leicester looked to draw level quickly as defender Marcin Wasilewski should have a scored with a header from a corner. Jamie Vardy also went close with a clever back heel. Watford threatened again as Gabriele Angella tested Kasper Schmeichel with an acrobatic effort. The lead was extended the 41st minute as Ikechi Anya squared the ball for Sean Murray to drill home from 25 yards out. Leicester quickly brought themselves back into the game as Matty James swept home a Ritchie De Laet cross on the volley just before half time. Leicester applied pressure for much of the second half, with Watford happy to counter attack. The Hornets did have the opportunity to put the game to bed as the ever dangerous Deeney and Forestieri broke clear but failed to add the third goal. David Nugent missed a header from a Lloyd Dyer cross in what appeared to be the last act of the game but in the 94th minute, a clearance dropped to the edge of the area and was helped on to Danny Drinkwater, who crashed home a half volley, rescuing a point for the league leaders. Watford remain 14th in the league with Leicester 11 points clear at the top.

With QPR playing on Monday night, Burnley had the chance to go second in the league, and did so in beating Milwall at Turf Moor. It was Milwall who took the lead in the 27th minute, was Martin Woolford struck a low volley into the corner of the goal. Burnley drew level within 2 minutes though as Danny Ings scored his 23rd minute with an eye catching left foot strike on the turn. Ings then had a penalty saved after a Jimmy Abdou challenge. However, the Clarets pushed in front in stoppage time before the interval as Dean Marney added to an impressive individual performance with a fine left footed strike from 20 yards. The points were safe just after the hour mark as Ings scored again, superbly controlling a through ball and rolling it into the net past Stephen Bywater. The Lions are still perilously close to the drop zone with just 1 win in their last 10 games.

After 12 goals in their previous two home games, Reading suffered a surprise defeat at home to the ever improving Sheffield Wednesday. Reading almost took advantage of a makeshift Wednesday defence early on as Adam Le Fondre broke clear, only to be foiled by Chris Kirkland. The Owls then began to press their opponents culminating in the turning point of the game after 9 minutes. Benick Afobe outmuscled Alex Pearce before being tripped by the defender, resulting in a penalty being awarded and Pearce receiving his marching orders. Chris Maguire scored the spot kick, sending Alex McCarthy the wrong way. Wednesday began to assert their dominance, hitting the woodwork 3 times throughout the course of the match and with Reading failing to muster a shot on target. The lead was doubled in the 58th minute as Maguire fired towards goal, with Afobe pouncing on the rebound. Wednesday are now eight league games unbeaten with Reading struggling to find consistency whilst remaining in the play off places.

Barnsley let a two goal lead slip in the final minutes as they drew with Ipswich. Chris O'Grady fired the Tykes in front after 12 minutes, controlling in the area and curling the ball into the far corner. Ipswich then had the better of the game, having more than double the efforts of their hosts,but found themselves two down in the 74th minute. Tomasz Cywka hammered a free kick into the net, deflected on the way. Christophe Berra pulled a goal back in the 81st minute as he converted a goal mouth scramble. Ipswich levelled four minutes later as top scorer David McGoldrick fired another deflected free kick into the net to break Barnsley hearts. They remain in the relegation zone as Ipswich closed the gap on Reading to three points.

Blackpool went another game without a win in a 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest. Jamaal Lascelles put Forest in front on the stroke of half time, deflecting an Andy Reid free kick into the corner of the net, Billy Davies' side's only shot on target. Blackpool will have felt they should have taken more than a point from the game, but did equalise in the 86thminute as Andy Keogh headed home a cross from 10 yards. Blackpool are now 13 without a win but are showing signs of improvement, while Forest are unbeaten in 15 games sat in 5th place.

Middlesbrough have now gone four games without a goal after a 0-0 draw with Blackburn. In a game of few clear cut chances, it was the visitor's goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, who thwarted ‘Boro saving well from Mustapha Carayol on three separate occasions. The former England stopper also saved attempts from Danny Graham and Albert Adomah late on. Blackburn sit just four points outside the play offs in 9th place with Middlesbrough in 12th.

Struggling Bolton squandered a two goal advantage at home to Eddie Howe's Bournemouth. Wanderers took the lead in the 21st minute as Chung Yong Lee picked up a clearance from his corner, burst into the area and flashed the ball high into the net. Bolton were two to the good 10 minutes later as new signing, Lukas Jutkiewicz broke onto a ball forward and lobbed home over the stranded goalkeeper. The Cherries immediately struck back though with top scorer Lewis Grabban notching his 13th goal of the season with a blistering strike from 25 yards. Bournemouth clawed themselves level after the hour mark when Simon Francis somehow glanced in a diving header at the near post, beating a defender on the line. The points were shared which on the balance of play was a fair result but the Bolton fans could not hide their frustration at the final whistle as they hang just five points above the relegation zone.

Yeovil remain rooted to the bottom of the league after a third straight defeat, at home to Leeds on an incredibly windy day at Huish Park. After an unsettled week of controversy at Elland Road, the players looked to set the early pace with Ross McCormack firing just over from distance. Just after the half hour mark however, Yeovil took the lead as Ishmael Miller met a corner with a bullet header and found the net for his fifth goal in nine games. They had the opportunity to double the lead before half time as Sam Byram brought down Yeovil's Dawson with a clumsy challenge in the penalty area. Miller stepped up and blasted the spot kick high over the bar and out of the ground, a crucial chance missed for the Glovers. Leeds drew level straight after the interval, as Marek Stech kicked the ball from his hands only to see it caught in the wind and swirling back towards his goal. McCormack pounced and as the defenders attempted to get back in shape, he picked his spot from 20 yards, curling a glorious effort into the top corner. Brian McDermott's team then took the lead with another assist from the wind as Stephen Warnock's free kick from all of 45 yards swirled over the head of Stech and flew into the goal. The visitors then began to lay siege to the Yeovil goal in an attempt to seal all three points with Jimmy Kebe and Matt Smith both fashioning chances, but it finished 2-1 with Gary Johnson's team six points from safety. Leeds are in 10th after back to back wins.

In a big game at the Valley, Charlton suffered a 2-0 defeat against Birmingham. Blues took the lead in the 22nd minute as one of their several on-loan players from Manchester United, Federico Macheda, flicked a header into the net from a free kick. Charlton are the lowest scorers in the Championship, and they're failure to equalise allowed Birmingham to extend their lead further. In the 79th minute, Tom Adeyemi picked up the ball in the centre of the park and charged forward, beating several Charlton defenders before squaring for Macheda to place home his second goal of the game. The Addicks have now lost four games on the spin and are two points from safety with a game at home to QPR up next. Birmingham stay 18th.

Brighton maintained their play off push with a 1-0 victory at home to Doncaster. It took until 75 minutes for the Seagulls to finally break down their opponent's resolute defence as their top marksman, Leonardo Ulloa, met a Stephen Ward cross with a good header. This was soon after Ulloa had had a goal disallowed for offside. Doncaster were down to 10 men with five minutes left to play as a frustrated Billy Sharp was involved in an altercation with Gordon Greer, seeing red from referee Gavin Ward. Doncaster drop a place to 20th, but Brighton's win sees them close the gap on 6th place Reading to four points.

In a tight mid table clash, Huddersfield edged out Uwe Rosler's Wigan. With only three shots on target in the game, some of the best efforts came from Huddersfield's Oliver Norwood, who tried his luck from range on more than one occasion. It was his team mate however, Adam Clayton, who broke the deadlock with an eye catching drive in the 85th minute. Huddersfield's 1st win in four games sees them go 13th with Wigan's momentum slowing in 11th.

Monday night's live fixture between Derby and Queens Park Rangers finished in a hard fought encounter. The Rams took the lead after 20 minutes as veteran John Eustace scored his first goal for two years with a looping header after Rob Green failed to connect with a punch from a corner. QPR struggled to create many chances of note in the first period, despite good spells of possession. They almost equalised just before time though as Aaron Hughes, forward from right back, headed towards goal only to be denied by Lee Grant. The second half was a scrappy affair with Rangers dominating possession but again failing to find a clear opening despite throwing on Modibo Maiga and Junior Hoilett. Hoilett went close with a half volley from the edge of the area but amazingly Lee Grant wasn't tested in the Rams' goal. Derby are now only one point behind QPR and Burnley in joint second place.

With the FA Cup looming next weekend, there are a selection of midweek fixtures including Brighton vs Leeds, Bolton vs Burnley and Huddersfield vs Nottingham Forest. Next weekend's fixtures include Reading travelling to QPR in the televised fixture and Bournemouth hosting Burnley.

 
James Dean
A lover of football. Season ticket holder at Sheffield Wednesday and known as the "Andrea Pirlo of the North".

Total articles: 24

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