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Sky Bet Championship

Riverside Stadium (ATT 17,499) 12th January 2013 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Brown

M'boro Middlesbrough vs Watford Watford

M'boro 1

S McDonald (90+4)

ft

Watford 2

M Vydra (45+1, 83)

Matej Vydra hit a brace as Watford earn 2-1 Championship win at Middlesbrough

Last Updated: 13/01/13 2:37pm

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Matej Vydra: At the double for Watford

Matej Vydra: At the double for Watford

Matej Vydra hit a brace as Watford pulled off a classic smash-and-grab to earn a 2-1 Championship win at Middlesbrough.

Vydra struck his 13th and 14th goals of the season as away-day specialists Watford ended Middlesbrough's impressive home run.

Czech Republic striker Vydra fired home in time added on at the end of the first half and struck his second in the 83rd minute to ensure Watford consolidated their play-off place. Scott McDonald headed home a consolation for Boro in the third minute of stoppage time.

Boro made all the running in the first half. Emmanuel Ledesma's 30-yard effort in the second minute warmed Manuel Almunia's hands and Lukas Jutkiewicz's shot from inside the penalty area was blocked by Watford defender Joel Ekstrand.

Watford saw enough of the ball, but by the time Almunia had turned away Ledesma's angled shot in the 42nd minute, the visitors had failed to muster a single effort on goal.

But in time added on at the end of the first half Watford struck against the run of play with their first shot of the game. Vydra pounced on a loose ball in the area and drilled a left-footed shot beyond Boro goalkeeper Jason Steele into the bottom corner.

Boro were still reeling after the restart and Vydra forced Steele into his first save when blocking the striker's 20-yard shot.

Almen Abdi, back from a pelvic injury, and Ledesma traded long-range strikes that flew wide before Boro's on-loan Chelsea teenager Josh McEachran was forced off injured in the 57th minute and replaced by Adam Reach.

Reach (twice), Ledesma and Faris Faroun all tried their luck from outside the area, the latter's superbly held by Almunia before Boro boss Tony Mowbray sent on Ishmael Miller for Jutkiewicz in the 69th minute.

Substitute midfielder Merouane Zemmama was then sent on for Ledesma as Mowbray looked to salvage a point, but Watford went close to extending their lead when Vydra's close-range effort forced a fine reflex save from Steele.

But Steele was helpless when Vydra steered home his second in the 83rd minute, taking Abdi's cross from the left in his stride to bury another finish into the bottom corner.

McDonald headed home Reach's cross in the 93rd minute, but it was a mere consolation.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Derby County 13 26
2 Watford 13 25
3 Middlesbrough 13 23
4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 13 23
5 Norwich City 13 22
6 Nottingham Forest 13 22
7 Charlton Athletic 14 22
8 Bournemouth 13 21
9 Ipswich Town 13 20
10 Cardiff City 13 19
11 Blackburn Rovers 13 19
12 Brentford 13 19
13 Sheffield Wednesday 13 18
14 Rotherham United 13 16
15 Leeds United 13 16
16 Huddersfield Town 13 16
17 Reading 13 15
18 Millwall 13 14
19 Fulham 14 14
20 Wigan Athletic 13 12
21 Brighton and Hove Albion 13 12
22 Birmingham City 13 11
23 Bolton Wanderers 13 8
24 Blackpool 13 6