EFL

Ipswich top of Championship table after comeback win over Watford

By Sports Desk December 12, 2023

Ipswich came from behind to win 2-1 at Watford and claim the Championship summit from Leicester.

Yaser Asprilla’s early Hornets goal lengthened the odds on Kieran McKenna’s visitors getting the victory they required to overtake the Foxes, who host Millwall on Wednesday.

But George Hirst’s equaliser set up an entertaining contest that was settled in the 80th minute by Town captain Sam Morsy.

Mileta Rajovic headed the first chance of the evening over the Ipswich crossbar in the fourth minute. The visitors replied in the 11th with a header from Marcus Harness that was straight at Hornets goalkeeper Ben Hamer.

Ipswich then gifted Watford the lead a minute later. Axel Tuanzebe played the ball back to goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky – who passed straight to Asprilla instead of a team-mate.

Asprilla set up Rajovic in front of goal and Hladky partially redeemed himself by parrying the striker’s shot, which lacked venom. The rebound went directly to Asprilla, however, and this time the Colombia striker smashed the ball high into the net.

Conor Chaplin volleyed a shot that Hamer was behind in the 18th minute as Ipswich attempted to get a grip on the game – and the visitors levelled through Hirst in the 24th minute.

Omari Hutchinson, having been supplied by Harness, cut in from the right to unleash a low drive that took a deflection off Jamal Lewis. Hamer, having to readjust hastily, could only palm the ball out to the striker who made no mistake from close range.

Chelsea loanee Hutchinson went close soon after with a shot that curled beyond the far post. A snapshot from Harness followed, but Hamer dived to save.

Hirst then headed home a Leif Davis free-kick but referee Darren England had already blown for an infringement. The Ipswich striker was booked in added time for sending Ryan Porteous to the turf by using a forearm.

The attacking football continued at both ends after the break but both defences had tightened up, though Hirst thumped Hamer’s near post from close range on the hour mark.

Lewis burst forward for a shot that was deflected wide for a corner that flashed across the Ipswich box. Rajovic only needed a touch to divert the ball over the line, it seemed, and was replaced straight after.

Hamer was almost robbed outside his box by substitute Freddie Ladapo, who snuck up behind him. Edo Kayembe fired over at the other end.

It looked likely that whoever managed to score again would win the contest – and it turned out to be Ipswich thanks to Wesley Hoedt’s error in the 80th minute.

The Dutch defender was guilty of losing possession to Morsy as he tried to bring the ball out from the back, and the Egypt midfielder strode forward to slot past Hamer.

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