Ozan Tufan’s penalty blunder left Hull facing a mammoth task to make the play-offs after a 0-0 draw at Watford.

Home keeper Daniel Bachmann saved the Turkish forward’s spot-kick in the 11th minute of a lacklustre match and now the Tigers, who have three games to play, are six points off the top six.

Hull had started the day desperate for points to keep in touch with the promotion pack.

Fifth-placed West Brom’s defeat at Leicester in the lunchtime kick-off gave the Tigers an extra incentive and they looked full of purpose at the start.

Watford were given a taste of what to expect when Matty Jacob’s well-flighted pass to Jaden Philogene completely took out right-back Ryan Andrews. Unfortunately for Philogene, his cross was easily gathered by Bachmann.

Soon after, Philogene earned a talking-to from referee Ben Toner for bundling over Hornets defender Ryan Porteous in the Watford penalty area.

Then Hull were were presented with a golden opportunity – and wasted it.

Abdulkadir Omur and Tufan combined to send Fabio Carvalho racing into the box from the left, where Wesley Hoedt brought him down.

Tufan, once rejected after a trial at Watford, stepped up to take the spot-kick in front of the home end and was taunted by the Hornets supporters.

That might have unnerved him – or it could have been Watford’s defenders agitating because the ball was not on the penalty spot – but Bachmann guessed correctly, diving to his left to keep out the kick to the joy of the home fans.

Predictably, that fired up Watford, with Yaser Asprilla and Emmanuel Dennis trying their luck.

But the visitors always looked more dangerous in the final third, and Bachmann rescued the Hornets again midway through the first half. Tufan came close to redeeming himself with a close-range backheel but Austrian stopper Bachmann somehow got down to the foot of his right-hand post in time to keep it out.

Watford, chasing their first home win since November 28 – this was their 12th attempt – just could not match Hull’s attacking menace and the home side reached the break without a shot on target.

Tufan did finally manage to get the ball into the net in the 52nd minute only to be foiled by a late offside flag.

Andrews’ shot on the hour whistled wide of the post – meaning Watford still had not troubled Tigers keeper Ryan Allsop.

Finally, in the 64rd minute, Allsop had a save to make – but it was so easy from Ismael Kone’s soft, low shot.

Watford looked woefully short of ideas, and soon after, Vakoun Bayo’s attempt to score with a header almost hit a corner flag.

Substitute Mileta Rajovic livened up Watford after coming on in the 72nd minute, winning a free-kick after being bundled over by Alfie Jones and forcing a flying save from Allsop with a 25-yard free-kick.

Hull sub Liam Delap matched that with a shot across the box that flashed just wide of the far post.

Then, with six minutes of normal time left, Bachmann made a crucial save from a Carvalho free-kick.

Jon Dahl Tomasson felt lacklustre defending was the key factor behind the 3-2 defeat at Hull as Blackburn slipped to a fourth consecutive defeat in the Sky Bet Championship.

Rovers were twice sloppy early in the game when Liam Delap and Aaron Connolly gave the hosts a commanding lead.

Sammie Szmodics and Harry Pickering thrust the visitors back into the match by half-time but Alfie Jones scrambled home a 63rd-minute winner to condemn Blackburn to another loss.

Tomasson, whose plight was not helped by Dominic Hyam’s 74th-minute dismissal, said: “We are very disappointed to lose the game.

“We knew it would be difficult against a very good side and we should not forget that this is a very young team.

“But we are very disappointed with the goals we conceded. The first two were nothing to do with shape – we had extra players and it’s not like they were in one-on-one situations – but we should have done much better.

“I must give the players credit to make it 2-2 as we showed great togetherness and resilience. We looked very good at that time and of course we should go for the game.

“It was a very equal game in the second half and then we conceded a goal from a corner.

“We are very disappointed with those moments.”

Blackburn, who have now conceded 12 goals in their last four games, were always up against it when Delap scored at Leopold Wahlstedt’s near post after 11 minutes.

Aaron Connolly doubled Hull’s advantage seven minutes later but Rovers made it 2-1 when Sammie Szmodics lobbed Matt Ingram to claim a 15th goal of the season.

Harry Pickering, on his 25th birthday and 100th start for the club, equalised in first-half injury-time, but Jones cashed in on some poor defending with the winner off Tyler Morton’s corner.

Tomasson said: “We have players that are not used to playing three games in a week and that is something that we need to develop.

“Our structure is not risky at all – we had spare players in every situation – but we just need to be in control of situations.

“The team played some great stuff – even with 10 men.

“I also thought we played excellent in the first half – it was only with those moments when we should have done much better.”

Liam Rosenior felt defeat of Blackburn could be a season-defining victory as Hull moved back into the play-offs.

He said: “I’m so happy we don’t have to play Blackburn again – they are a credit to Jon. I thought there were outstanding and they made for a really good football match.

“The first half kind of sums up our season: we were in control and then we shoot ourselves in the foot.

“We were still in control of the game but we lose possession and then it’s 2-2.

“There were a lot of frustrated players at half-time but credit to them – they went out and did it and I’m really proud of them.

“It’s the biggest win of the season by far in terms of momentum.”

Rosenior added: “We had to manage the game in a different way, I felt.

“Second half, we got the press better but we had to be patient. We also scored from a set-play, which we are getting better at, so I’m delighted.

“It’s massive for the club (to end the year in the play-offs). It doesn’t mean anything now but I want it to mean something in May.

“That was a character-mentality game and I think the players showed that in bucket-loads.

“It’s about staying calm and consistent but we are in a good place.”

Ten points from Jake Clifford helped give Hull FC’s testing Super League season a belated lift-off as they clung on to sink leaders Wigan 14-10 in a thrilling clash at the MKM Stadium.

Tony Smith’s men made a storming start then withstood serious late pressure to seal their second win on the bounce with a performance unrecognisable from their April travails that included a 40-0 derby thumping by Hull KR.

In contrast to the hosts’ gutsy spirit, embodied by two stellar shifts from Brad Fash in the front row, Wigan were flat-footed and error-strewn, and only a comeback double by Iain Thornley either side of the interval kept them in contention.

It was a surprising reaction from Matty Peet’s side who had oozed into Yorkshire on the back of six straight wins.

Hull were on the front foot from the start and struck after just six minutes when Darnell McIntosh chased down Clifford’s kick to the corner, with the Australian adding the first of his two conversions.

Liam Farrell set the alarm bells ringing as he cut through the defence with ease but Wigan could not convert and Hull extended their lead on the quarter-hour, Clifford stretching over after electing to run the last tackle.

The visitors, for whom five players featured in England’s thumping win over France at the weekend, looked flat-footed, coughed up errors and spurned their best chance so far when Thornley failed to grasp a high pass to the wing.

Clifford opted to stretch Hull’s lead to 14 by kicking the two after Chris Satae was penalised for a high tackle, before Thornley was sent spurting down the left by Bevan French but Hull held firm.

Thornley, making his first appearance of the season, looked most likely to break Wigan’s duck and after another jinking run, the 31-year-old finally got his reward five minutes from the break when he speared over from another French set-up.

Harry Smith’s cool conversion from the touchline reduced the deficit to 14-6 at the interval, and the shift in momentum continued within four minutes of the restart when Thornley darted over for his second.

As the rain poured down Wigan’s pressure was relentless, and Hull’s cause was not helped when Cam Scott and McIntosh both dropped kicks deep in their own territory.

But Peet’s men failed to capitalise on their territorial dominance and Hull, shored up by the reintroduction of Fash, scented another change in the game’s direction.

A mistake by Thornley deep in his own territory piled pressure on the visitors but Danny Houghton’s grubber bobbled free and was pounced upon by French, who burst half the length of the field before the danger was snuffed out.

In a dramatic final few minutes, Junior Nsemba knocked on from a set restart on the 10-metre line, Hull debutant Jake Trueman was sin-binned for holding down Joe Shorrocks, then Jez Litten’s error went unpunished as Wigan knocked on under the posts as the seconds ticked down.

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