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.

Flynn Downes sensationally bundled in a stoppage-time winner to keep Southampton in the Sky Bet Championship automatic promotion race with a 3-2 victory over Watford.

Will Smallbone and Che Adams had put Saints on course to capitalise on Leeds and Leicester’s earlier defeats before Ryan Porteous and Ismael Kone levelled things up.

But Downes crashed home at the back post deep into stoppage time to send St Mary’s and manager Russell Martin into raptures – with a play-off place confirmed at the very least.

Saints are now seven points off the top two with games in hand.

Saints were rapid out the blocks as Smallbone headed in their quickest goal of the campaign after 57 seconds.

Adam Armstrong provided a perfect cross from the left side to allow Ireland international Smallbone to celebrate his fifth goal of the season.

The midfielder almost bagged a quickfire brace when he won the ball with a tackle on the edge of the Hornets box before getting back to his feet to blaze over the crossbar.

The home supporters did not have to wait too long for a second goal, though, as Adams tapped home in the 20th minute.

His 15th goal, and third versus Watford, this season came after Kyle Walker-Peters’ cross was sliced by Tom Dele-Bashiru, with his clearance chased down by David Brooks to tee up the Scotland international.

The momentum suddenly turned towards Watford half an hour into the match with Yaser Asprilla twice shooting wide, the second after a skilful run off the right flank.

They capitalised in the 34th minute when lackadaisical defending saw Porteous pick up the ball and fire home, via a deflection off Jack Stephens.

Vakoun Bayo stabbed another Hornets chance wide as Saints’ advantage was almost completely wiped out.

But the hosts rallied either side of the interval. Adam Armstrong controlled and fired over a Joe Aribo lifted ball, before Brooks slapped over a first-time effort from the edge of the box.

Porteous almost notched for a second time in the 53rd minute but his header was cleared off the line by Taylor Harwood-Bellis, before Giorgi Chakvetadze sliced wide from six yards.

Ryan Fraser thought he had settled the nerves when he slotted home in the 83rd minute but had not timed his run from Armstrong’s through ball.

And his poor synchronisation was punished when Kone turned on the ball in midfield before driving into the box and coolly inserting into the bottom corner – which appeared to put Watford on course for a fifth straight draw.

Armstrong almost won it when he volleyed into the ground, but Daniel Bachmann brilliantly tipped over before Downes’ last-gasp heroics.

The on-loan West Ham midfielder met Harwood-Bellis’ knock-on from a corner to take the three points.

Scotland’s winless run became a concern after it was extended to seven games with a dismal 1-0 friendly defeat by Northern Ireland at Hampden Park.

The Tartan Army were looking for a response following a 4-0 defeat by the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday night but were shocked when midfielder Conor Bradley fired in for the visitors after 32 minutes.

The home side picked up the pace after the break but could not break down Michael O’Neill’s determined side, who stood firm to register Northern Ireland’s first win in Mount Florida in almost 50 years.

Scotland have not been on a seven-game winless run since August 2004 to March 2005 and they take on Gibraltar and Finland in June friendlies before they face hosts Germany in the Euro 2024 opener at the Allianz Arena.

Somehow they need to regain their groove or there could be more pain to come.

The Scots had long since booked their place in this summer’s Euros with a terrific qualifying campaign but they were under a bit of pressure following the Dutch defeat.

Manager Steve Clarke made two changes with centre-back Liam Cooper in for Ryan Porteous and striker Lyndon Dykes in for Lawrence Shankland.

There was a youthful look about O’Neill’s side which showed three changes from the team that started in the 1-1 draw in Romania, with former St Johnstone midfielder Ali McCann, Dan Ballard and goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell returning at the expense of ex-Celtic stopper Conor Hazard, Jordan Thompson and Paddy Lane.

Scotland tried to build some early pressure after midfielder Ryan Christie curled an effort from the edge of the visitors’ area wide of the post, but Northern Ireland were not unduly bothered.

The game drifted along with Peacock-Farrell having next to nothing to do before it took an unexpected turn.

Scotland wing-back Nathan Patterson recovered well to rescue an original mistake when a pass deep inside his own box was intercepted by Bradley and the 20-year-old Liverpool defender turned inside before firing high past goalkeeper Angus Gunn, with the aid of a slight deflection off defender Jack Hendry for his first international goal.

Then Scotland captain Andrew Robertson went off with an injury to be replaced by midfielder Lewis Ferguson and the home side returned to a back four with Kieran Tierney moving to left-back.

Northern Ireland almost doubled their lead on a speedy counter, with Shea Charles guiding the ball just wide, as did Scotland midfielder Scott McTominay – moments later – at the other end.

Boos from the home fans accompanied the half-time whistle.

Scotland started the second half with increased tempo but there still remained a lack of incision and guile and while Jamie Reid fired wide to end a Northern Ireland attack, at least it was an effort on goal.

In the 63rd minute, John McGinn’s free-kick came off Liam Cooper’s shoulder and skipped past the visitors’ goal and the home fans drove their side forward with increasing gusto.

Tierney was finding space down the left but the Scots could not capitalise.

Che Adams and Kenny McLean replaced Dykes and Gilmour in the 68th minute before Shankland and Stuart Armstrong also came on for Christie and McGinn.

Shankland soon had a close-range shot blocked by Brodie Spencer and Peacock-Farrell tipped a Ferguson header over the crossbar for a corner, before Shankland sent a header over and then four added minutes ran out.

Scotland have regressed recently in terms of results but it is this performance that should primarily concern Clarke.

Ryan Porteous admits Scotland have to tighten up after the 4-0 defeat by Netherlands on Friday made it 18 goals conceded in six winless games.

Steve Clarke’s side started well in the first half of the friendly at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam until the Dutch took the lead against the run of play five minutes from the break with a powerful Tijjani Reijnders drive.

Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland missed a glorious chance in the 62nd minute when he was through against Dutch goalkeeper Mark Flekken with the Hearts captain clipping the crossbar with his shot.

It started to go really downwards for the Scots 10 minutes later when Georginio Wijnaldum headed in a second before substitutes Wout Weghorst and Donyell Malen added late goals.

Scotland have gone six games without a win for the first time since a run from October 2007 to September 2008 and ahead of the friendly against Northern Ireland at Hampden Park on Tuesday, Watford defender Porteous conceded improvement was required.

He said: “It was disappointing. We were more than in it for long spells.

“We had a number of good chances to get ourselves on level terms or maybe even go in front but ultimately the goals we have conceded have stopped us getting anything from the game.

“It is going to be hard to focus on the positives because of the manner of the result.

“But even if we’re getting beaten in games we can’t concede the goals that we have done. That can’t happen.

“We’ll definitely take a look at them. But up until the 65th minute we’re more than in the game but the sloppy goals and things that we can do better has cost us.

“It’s tough when you’re playing against these teams but we’ve shown that we can do it.

“We are going through a spell right now with six games, we’ve conceded a number of goals and it’s definitely something we want to rectify as a team and, lucky for us, we’ve got another game on Tuesday to try to do that.”

The match, which serves as a first preparation game for the European Championship in the summer, may well have turned out differently had Shankland netted when he was through against Flekken, but former Hibs defender Porteous was understanding.

He said: “I thought he was excellent against arguably the best centre-half in the world (Virgil van Dijk).

“His game has come on leaps and bounds in the last year and he can hold his head up high after that performance.”

Ryan Porteous feels the last 18 months have “catapulted” him to a level where he is at home on the international stage and ready to excel for Scotland at Euro 2024.

The 24-year-old was first called up to the national squad in November 2019 but had to wait until a Nations League match against Ukraine in September 2022 to make his debut.

Since that night in Krakow, when he helped secure a spirited goalless draw, Porteous has become a mainstay in Steve Clarke’s defence, accumulating nine caps and starting eight of the last nine competitive matches.

Porteous feels his status within the squad has also been aided by the fact he has been playing regularly in the English Championship for the past 14 months after moving from boyhood club Hibernian to Watford in January 2023.

“I think it came at a good time for me, the move and my debut,” he said. “It catapulted me a little bit and made me feel more comfortable within the group and more comfortable within myself.

“I didn’t feel like I needed to show anything to anyone in particular but maybe just to myself to give me that peace of mind that I could do it.

“Everyone’s always learning but I’m still at an age where hopefully I’m just going to get better, and I need to keep doing that.”

Porteous, who earned a reputation during his time at Hibs for being rash and hot-headed in terms of his approach to defending, feels moving away from home last year has helped him mature as a footballer and a person.

“I think the move came at a good time,” he said. “It’s been an up-and-down season for Watford but I’m really enjoying it.

“Off the park, I’m down there myself a lot of the time but I think it brings you on as a person meeting new people from different cultures, especially within the changing room, where a lot of different languages get spoken as well. I think it’s brought me on a lot over the last 14 months.”

Porteous has got himself in prime position to be part of Steve Clarke’s 23-man squad for the Euros but, with fellow right-sided centre-back John Souttar now back in contention after his injury troubles, the former Hibs man is taking nothing for granted.

He is viewing the friendlies against Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday and Northern Ireland at Hampden next Tuesday as an opportunity to further enhance his claims for a seat on the plane to Germany.

“It’s been quite a quick 18 months since I’ve been starting games for Scotland and I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Porteous.

“I feel comfortable in there but nobody’s place is safe. You need to keep showing it in games and in training and for your club.

“Steve’s always been loyal to me, even when I wasn’t playing for the national team, he was still calling me up to squads and kind of developing me behind the scenes.

“It’s always good to repay someone that’s shown a lot of faith in you. Over the last qualifying campaign, I played my part in helping us to get there so hopefully I’ve repaid a little bit of that faith and showed him that I can be involved (at the Euros). There’s still a long way to go (before selection) though.”

With the Euros now less than three months away, any injury picked up in the weeks ahead could prove damaging, but Porteous – whose fellow Scotland defenders Aaron Hickey and Grant Hanley are battling to get fit for the summer showpiece – is adamant he will not change his approach to protect himself.

“I don’t think you can think about that too much,” he said. “I’ve got important games coming up for Watford so I’m going to be fully committed in every game I play.

“Touch wood, I’ve been fit and healthy for the last few years so hopefully that continues.”

Coventry manager Mark Robins was a relieved man after his side came from behind to beat Watford 2-1 with two Haji Wright goals at Vicarage Road.

Robins admitted he considered making changes in the first half, such was the disjointed nature of his side’s display.

But Wright’s penalty in the 40th minute cancelled out Ryan Porteous’ headed opener before the United States international completed the turnaround.

Robins said: “Watford played well in the second half the other night and carried that on. They have got some really talented individuals with a lot of pace and power who can hurt you. Thankfully they didn’t.

“But I thought we were poor in the first half. We didn’t start well enough. We didn’t have enough of the ball and then they scored out of nothing when we didn’t really compete for the header.

“Their goalkeeper bringing down Josh Eccles for the penalty gave us a lifeline. I was contemplating making changes before half-time before that because there were too many times when they had two-v-ones.

“The second half followed a similar pattern, except we were a little bit better. Then we scored with the best bit of play in the game.

“Haji has the confidence to take on that shot and thankfully he found the corner of the net.”

Robins acknowledged his team’s FA Cup quarter-final away at Wolves next Saturday made victory imperative in order to keep pace with their play-off rivals. Coventry now have a 20-day hiatus between Championship fixtures.

Robins added: “I’m delighted with the three points at this stage of the season. That’s what it’s all about.

“The Championship is so much better this season with the quality it has, so your levels have to be higher to get anything from games.

“Three points was a must today and I’m grateful that we got them. We’ve got the FA Cup next week while other teams play, so you have to think that they’ll pull away a bit and we will have to play catch-up after the international break.”

For Watford manager Valerien Ismael, the frustration at another home defeat was obvious. His side’s last league victory at Vicarage Road was on November 28.

Ismael said: “Finally we started strong in a home game and we continued from the second half against Swansea. We took the decision to have a mobile midfield again and had a great start with lots of chances.

“We should have scored a second goal, but then from nowhere they got the penalty. In the second half we continued to push, but they scored from their only shot on target, so it’s a real pity today.

“But we saw good energy and good dynamic on the pitch to change the way things are going at the minute.

“We had some crosses too high, some crosses too low, some crosses blocked, but at least we tried and our game was back.

“We didn’t see anything from Coventry today. It was just one of those days when things run against you.

“We kept pushing and we were dangerous, but when things don’t go your way, you start to think too much again. We know that we can compete, but it is about confidence, too.”

Haji Wright scored twice as Coventry came from behind to beat Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road.

The FA Cup quarter-finalists do not play another Championship fixture until March 29 and needed the three points to remain in the Championship play-off picture.

United States international Wright converted a 40th-minute penalty to cancel out Ryan Porteous’ headed opener and then struck a composed 72nd-minute winner from the edge of the area.

The result was harsh on Watford, whose vibrant and energetic display belied their recent poor run of form.

Valerien Ismael’s side have now won just one of their past 10 league games and are in danger of being sucked into the increasingly-congested relegation battle.

Watford began positively, with an Edo Kayembe shot through the legs of a Coventry defender that was tipped away by the outstretched left hand of Brad Collins.

After Ismael Kone had pushed another effort just wide, the home side took the lead in straightforward fashion after 20 minutes.

A Ryan Andrews long throw found the head of Porteous, whose flick dropped over Collins and into the far corner.

At the other end, Wright took advantage of two Watford players running into each other, but he could only find the midriff of Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann with his shot.

Having been outplayed for most of the half and looking disjointed, Coventry suddenly drew level.

Josh Eccles received a short pass from Ellis Simms before beating Porteous and then having his legs taken away by Bachmann, who had come rushing rashly out of his goal. Wright struck his spot-kick firmly into the corner.

The equaliser meant Watford extended their remarkable record of leading at half-time on just two occasions this season, the fewest of any club in England’s top four divisions.

With an FA Cup quarter-final at Wolves next weekend giving them a 20-day league hiatus, this felt like a match Mark Robins’ side needed to win.

Instead, it was Watford who continued to create the clearer opportunities, with another Kone shot followed by a Wesley Hoedt header that was held by Collins.

The Coventry keeper then stood firm at the near post to stop a strike from the impressive Yaser Asprilla.

But, just as they had in the opening period, Coventry conjured up a goal out of nothing.

Eccles played in Wright on the edge of the area and his shot was low and true into the bottom corner for his 13th league goal of the season.

Watford continued to press but lacked the ability to carve out any clear-cut openings before the final whistle that was greeted by boos from those home fans who remained inside Vicarage Road.

Ryan Porteous cancelled out Ryan Andrews’ unlucky own goal as Watford came from behind to share a 1-1 draw at home to Swansea.

The point enabled the mid-table Championship rivals to move further away from a relegation dogfight, although it also ended a two-match winning streak for the Swans.

Watford have still not won at home in the league since November 28.

Goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann was brought back for a first Watford appearance in the league since three days before that win.

The first chance in the 13th minute was for Watford as Yaser Asprilla skipped past Harry Darling to reach the Swans box but Ben Cabango was able to deflect the Colombian’s shot wide.

Centre-back Cabango had to do the same three minutes later when Jamal Lewis had a go from the left of the box, and Swansea’s reply was an 18th-minute opener that was all of Watford’s making.

Andrews stopped Przemyslaw Placheta from reaching a long ball into the inside left channel from Matt Grimes by heading the ball back towards his goalkeeper. Except that Bachmann had come rushing off his line without the right-back realising – and both were left watching in horror as the ball bounced into an empty net.

Bachmann made partial amends for his earlier error with a fine save to deny Ronald on the half-hour mark. The Brazilian, a January addition for Swansea, caught Lewis dozing in possession to get an unimpeded run at goal – but Bachmann was able to divert his shot behind.

Josh Tymon was booked for barging Andrews over – a challenge that home fans thought should have merited a red card – before Emmanuel Dennis saw a shot deflected behind and Porteous headed over from a corner.

The last chance of the half was Swansea’s however – a close-range header by Cabango from Jamie Paterson’s cross – but Bachmann did well to get a glove on it.

Placheta saw a drive deflected behind as Swansea began the second period strongly but Dennis soon saw a header saved at the other end.

Watford levelled in the 57th minute from a corner that was swung into the box by Giorgi Chakvetadze, who had replaced Ken Sema just before the break. Wesley Hoedt flicked it on from in front of the near post and Porteous was in the right place to divert it over the line from close range.

That pepped up the Hornets and, following good work down the left by Chakvetadze, Asprilla and then Lewis saw on-target efforts blocked by defenders.

Placheta fired Swansea’s best chance in a while across goal and wide in the 73rd minute before Dennis, who had earlier scuffed wide, saw a late Watford chance deflected over.

Ryan Porteous watched his Scotland team-mates gearing up for their summer holidays after Tuesday’s win over Georgia while preparing to start his next campaign the following day.

The defender was due back at Watford for a team meeting and day three of pre-season training hours after helping Scotland to victory in difficult conditions.

The former Hibernian player is happy to get back to England, though, and get to work under new head coach Valerien Ismael, who was appointed on May 10.

“All the boys are jetting off on holiday but I’m back in,” Porteous said. “There will be a big rebuild probably at Watford so I’m looking forward to getting started there.

“I had a holiday before. We finished up on the 10th (of May) so I got away for a couple of weeks.

“Listen, I will be in good shape going back. That’s what you want as a player. Pre-season is hard enough but if you are in good physical state, as you need to be in this day and age, then it will be of benefit to me.”

The defender’s return to club duty might have been delayed at one point as the Euro 2024 qualifier looked in severe doubt because of a waterlogged pitch, with rules stating any abandoned game continues the next day.

Porteous got away from Hampden after midnight but the fans were not far in front of him after a near two-hour delay while water was swept off the pitch following a torrential downpour.

Speaking after a 2-0 win for the Group A leaders, the 24-year-old said: “We wanted the game to go on because there were 50,000 fans there. For them to come to the game, spend all that money on travel and tickets and then go home very disappointed that the game was the next day, wasn’t what we wanted.

“We wanted to play the game. We understand why they (Georgia) wouldn’t because they were 1-0 down, that’s completely understandable, but most of the fans stayed to the end.

“The fans were brilliant, because it was a late night for a lot of kids and working people as well.”

The victory made it four wins from four in Group A, Scotland’s best start to any qualifying campaign, and sent them eight points clear halfway through their schedule.

Porteous said: “It’s exactly where we want to be, but the manager keeps reiterating to us and the press that we have done nothing yet.

“We have put ourselves in a fantastic position but it’s one game at a time that will get us there. We need to stay grounded.

“Four wins probably doesn’t get you there, you have to keep going.”

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