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  • By Yann Tear

Hornets stay in the hunt - just - but give Vicarage Road faithful only moderate cause to believe


Watford (1) 2 Cornick og 6, Joao Pedro 54

Bristol City (0) 0

Watford remain just about in the hunt for a play-off place after showing the greater finishing power, to end a poor run of four without a win.


They were far from convincing, having long spells without the ball, and with only four games remaining, the three points they still need to close the gap on sixth place still looks a long shot.


But if they can follow up this victory with another at home to Cardiff City on Wednesday, the picture might seem a little more promising.


They finish the season with trips to Hull City and Sunderland before concluding with a final home game against Stoke City on May 8.


It would be fair to say that the mood at Vicarage Road is not exactly one of unbridled optimism. And the constant change of personnel in charge is not helping.


It has become so confusing for Hornets fans in recent times that they can’t quite be sure of who is in the dugout from one game to the next.


They gave a rousing cheer to ‘former boss’ Nigel Pearson, but a few would have been forgiven for thinking he was still the home boss, and Chris Wilder the visiting team’s coach.


Three different head coaches per season is taking things a bit far when it comes to not wanting any sense of complacency to set in.


This was a curious fixture in which the away side dominated but looked unlikely to score. Had an extra 90 minutes been added, it would probably have made no difference.


When Bristol City last visited, they were hit for six and although that came during the freewheeling rush towards promotion two years ago, with few expectations of a repeat, the Hornets got off to an ideal start, taking the lead after just six minutes.


Joao Pedro was allowed to turn in the box from a chipped free-kick from Imran Louza, and his low drive to the far post was turned into his own net by former Luton striker Harry Cornick.


More joy almost followed when Ismaila Sarr took a pass inside from Hamza Choudhury and forced keeper Max O’Leary into a fine save,


Daniel Bachmann had to be alert to keep out Nahki Wells at the start of the second half but the points were as good as in the bag when Joao Pedro worked his way in from the left to unleash a shot through a crowd of defenders and into the net in a rare attack for the home side during the second half.


Wells hit the bar from a free-kick as City continued to dominate the ball to little avail. A quiet Vicarage Road crowd departed happy enough, but not so blinkered as to see this win as a sign of a rousing finale to a mostly subdued campaign.


Hornets: (4-1-4-1) Bachmann – Andrews (Asprilla 85), Porteous, Hoedt, Kamara – Bacuna (Kone h/t) – Sarr (Ngakia 76), Choudhury, Louza, Joao Pedro – Davis (Sema 62). Subs not used: Hamer, Araujo, Kabasele


Robins: (4-2-3-1) O’Leary - Tanner, Vyner, Pring, Dasilva – King (Naismith 63), James – Cornick (Scott 56), Weimann (Mehmeti 76), Bell (Conway 76) – Wells. Subs not used: Wiles-Richards, Taylor-Clarke, Leeson


Attendance: 19,148

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