Watford 3-0 Portsmouth

In-form Watford powered into the Championship play-off positions with an emphatic victory over Portsmouth.

Watford were probably the better side in the first half but for long periods, it looked like the teams would end the half with the deadlock still unbroken. However, Watford should have opened the scoring when Taylor delivered the ball to the back post where Graham cushioned a deft header down to Will Buckley, who lashed wildly over the top.

But the game was lit up by a moment of magic from Taylor in the 42nd minute as he gave the Hornets a deserved lead. It was an absolutely stunning volley on the edge of the box after Jordon Mutch’s corner was punched out by Jamie Ashdown and thundered in the back of the net giving Jamie Ashdown no chance of saving it. If that was Taylor’s last appearance, then he has left the club in style, he is on loan from Middlesbrough.

That was the only goal of the first half so the teams went in to the dressing room at 1-0 to Watford. The Hornets were 45 minutes away from being sixth place in the Npower Championship League table.

The Hornets doubled their advantage seven minutes into the second half when Pompey lost possession cheaply and were caught with a clinical counter-attack. Graham played the ball through to Sordell who was in on goal and made no mistake, slotting coolly past Ashdown and in to the back of the net.

Graham then notched his 15th goal of the season in the 69th minute with a carbon copy of Sordell’s goal. Kanu lost the ball in the centre circle and Mutch released Graham, who accelerated away from Ibrahima Sonko and clipped a left-footed finish past Ashdown to put the game to bed and give Pompey no chance of snatching a point.

Nugent headed straight at Loach in the dying seconds. To compound even more misery on Pompey, Halford was dismissed. The midfielder lunged in on Taylor and, after taking offence to the defender’s protests, was sent off for a headbutt by referee Andy D’Urso.

The Hornets’ fourth straight win was completed in the same impressive manner as recent wins against fellow promotion contenders Cardiff and QPR, and propels Malky Mackay’s side into sixth spot.

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