Watford 3:2 Leicester City
City’s play-off hopes look ever more distant after a 3-2 defeat at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night.
An unchanged City set out looking for their first back-to-back wins in a year, but suffered an early setback. In the 5th minute a Peltier fouled Garner on the left. Murray swung in a free-kick that was glanced beyond Schmeichel by the head of Mariappa.
Six minutes later City were level when Nugent cut in from the left and beat Loach with an accurate drive, Beckford helping to distract the keeper.
By the 18th minute the 1,400 City fans were celebrating again as Beckford and Nugent, showing an increasing understanding, combined to give City the lead. Beckford’s flick to Nugent on the edge of the area set him up nicely for a full-blooded half-volley that flew past Loach.
Drinkwater then went close as City pushed forward looking to extend their lead.
However, the teams would go in level at the break after a Watford enjoyed a slice of luck. A Murray free-kick took a big deflection off the wall, leaving Schmeichel stranded.
Nigel Pearson brought on Morgan for Peltier and Danns for Drinkwater at the start of the second half as the game tightened up.
St Ledger, now operating down the right, capped a good run with a fine cross but Beckford missed a big opportunity to regain the lead for City.
Loach was tested by efforts from Beckford and Gallagher, and Morgan went close with a header, before the home side began to gain the upper hand in the final twenty minutes.
Eustace almost caught Schmeichel out with a chip but the Dane managed to reach it after some furious back-pedalling.
The decisive moment of the game arrived with ten minutes to go, when substitute Forsyth fired home a low shot from 18 yards.
City desperately tried to find a leveller but Wellens sent an effort off target before some late controversy.
Nosworthy tripped Beckford just inside the area, but Doyley was shown the red card and referee David Webb awarded a free-kick on the 18 yard line.
Gallagher could not repeat his trick against Cardiff and City’s league season was all but over.
A bullish Pearson did not agree: “I’ve just told the players that I don’t want to hear anybody talking about the season being over. It doesn’t enter my mindset as far as I’m concerned and I don’t expect anybody else within our ranks to be talking in those terms as well.”
Watford: Loach, Hodson, Nosworthy, Mariappa, Doyley, Murray (Forsyth 46), Eustace, Hogg, Kacaniklic (Dickinson 90+4), Iwelumo, Garner (Buaben 81). Unused subs: Gilmartin, Yeates.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier (Morgan 46), Mills, St Ledger, Konchesky, Gallagher, Wellens, Drinkwater (Danns 46), Dyer (Howard 85), Nugent, Beckford. Unused subs: Logan, Marshall.
Referee: David Webb (CountryDurham). Attendance: 11,800.