Hornets sting Ipswich

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Ipswich missed the chance to move six points clear at the top of The Championship as they crashed to a 2-1 home defeat against Watford.

Joe Royle's side had been beaten only once at Portman Road all season and Watford, who were without key men Heidar Helguson and Brynjar Gunnarsson, were without a win in 11 away games.

Yet goals from Jay Demerit and Bruce Dyer gave Watford all three points as Ipswich fluffed their lines in front of goal.

The hosts had enough chances to win with something to spare, but Tommy Miller and Darren Bent were especially guilty of squandering clear opportunities.

Miller missed a hatful of chances, including three in the first half which would have opened the scoring, although his late penalty, awarded when Neil Cox handled, sparked a frenzied finale.

The Ipswich midfielder tested Paul Jones early on with a fierce right-foot drive and then shot wide from eight yards with his left foot.

Watford's stubborn resistance was rewarded when they took the lead shortly before the interval, Neil Cox crossing for Demerit to angle a header beyond Kelvin Davis.

Bent should have equalised early in the second half but nudged his shot wide of the post before Jones parried Currie's shot and Miller could only turn the rebound wide.

Johnnie Jackson fired a volley inches wide as Watford threatened and Ray Lewington's side then doubled their advantage when Jackson swung in a corner and Dyer headed in unchallenged.

Ipswich refused to give up; Miller dragged another shot wide from Bent's knock-down before Bent's header was tipped over by Jones. From the resulting corner David Unsworth somehow blazed a shot over from six yards.

Bent then lifted a shot over Jones and onto the crossbar, before Miller's penalty gave Royle's men a lifeline.

Darren Currie's left-foot drive which fizzed a yard wide was the closest they came to equalising and Dyer squandered a great chance to add a third with the last kick of the game.