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  • Julian Taylor at Vicarage Road

Frustrated Hornets held in drab stalemate against hardy Hull City



Watford 0 Hull City 0


Watford missed a chance to go third in the Championship table with Slaven Bilic’s side experiencing an afternoon of sheer frustration at Vicarage Road.


Resourceful Hull City held on for a precious point to aid their escape from the just above the relegation zone. However, after a dour first half, the Hornets were denied by fine saves by Tigers’ keeper Matt Ingram and their own maddening profligacy.


On another day, Watford would have possibly stolen a goal and the points for their improved second half display, but this was, unquestionably, an opportunity gone astray in front of 18.846 supporters. The Hornets sit in fifth place and are still very much in the play-off mix.

Amid freezing conditions, both sides had to cope with a taxing starts, with Hull’s Dimitrios Pelkas’ role limited to just eight minutes of action before succumbing to injury and the same fate befell Watford’s Hamza Choudhury shortly afterwards.

The low temperatures evidently had an effect on the fare, as the majority of the first half was, frankly, turgid, lacking in rhythm, with the Tigers hovering over the relegation zone – frustrating the one-paced hosts. Hull’s approach was hardly a surprise, facing a team who would be moving into an enticing third spot in the Championship. Other than a tame shot from Yaser Asprilla which was easily saved by Ingram.


Jaded


It was also a measure of the jaded action that another predictable effort, this time at the other end by Regan Slater, saved by Daniel Bachmann, was competing for first half low light status.


City started brightly after the interval, with Tyler Smith drawing a good save from the feet of Bachmann via an angled shot – the best moment of the encounter.


The scare – plus a half time lecture from Bilic, presumably – seemed to embolden Watford a little, with Joao Pedro unlucky to see his raking 54th minute shot through a forest of players expertly palmed away from danger by Ingram. Asprilla then had a go too, but his close range effort was also thwarted by the Tigers’ in-form Ingram. Popping up again and unmarked in the penalty area, Pedro was next to try his lack but the Hornets’ forward blasted over unconvincingly.


Without a breakthrough, Watford were still susceptible to a counter-insurgency from the east Yorkshire team – and, to that effect, Ozan Tufan, the Hull substitute, blazed over from a dozen yards when in acres of space. The sheer lack of accuracy from both sides in front of goal was increasingly grating for the frozen, frustrated fans.


Confidence


Ruthless Bilic then replaced Joseph Hungbo, originally a substitute, for Rey Manaj, in an attempt to provide extra attacking threat in the latter stages. Watford’s confidence and possession grew, but could they make capital from their industry?


Yet, in terms of keeper activity, Bachmann needed to be more alert. With ten minutes to go Cyrus Christie, on a dangerous Hull raid, stung his gloves with a rasping drive.


Still, with Manaj supplying a raking added time effort which skidded past the post, Watford spurned arguably their best chance. For all the late lurching towards the Humbersiders’ goal, and accompanying anguish from the Hornets’ fans, Liam Rosenior’s men earned their point. Watford now travel to Huddersfield next Saturday, where they hope of more fortune in front of goal.


Hornets: Bachmann, Ngakia, Choudhury, Cathcart, Davis, Pedro, Sema, Kamara, Asprilla, Dele-Bashiru, Kabasele

Subs: Hamer (KG), Gaspar, Troost-Ekong, Manaj, Bayo, Sierralta, Hungbo

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