Dean Bowditch scored a hat-trick for Division One play-off chasers Ipswich as
Watford goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley endured a torrid afternoon at Portman Road.
the England youth international the opener after five minutes as he attempted
to clear a Sean Dyche backpass - only for the ball to bobble off his standing
foot, leaving Bowditch with a simple finish.
whose only other Ipswich goal came in the Carling Cup victory at Kidderminster
earlier this season, then showed composure beyond his years to slot home his
second midway through the half.
Pidgeley was again
at fault for the third on the hour after a misunderstanding between defender
Jerel Ifil, as the on-loan Chelsea stopper let in Bowditch to complete his hat-trick.
a lifeline on the stroke of half-time as Scott Fitzgerald netted his 11th goal
of the campaign to make it 2-1 - but the visitors offered little in the second
half, and Jermaine Wright sealed a comfortable victory with a fourth goal at
Ipswich made one
change to the side which returned to winning ways at Walsall in midweek, with
John McGreal replacing Richard Naylor. Watford handed a debut to Chris Baird,
who signed on a month's loan from Southampton this week.
Town striker Darren
Bent, who scored a hat-trick against the Saddlers, had the first chance of the
game after four minutes - but his first-time shot flashed wide.
Ipswich did take
the lead a minute later, though, as Pidgeley's error allowed Bowditch - chasing
a lost cause - to score into an empty net.
The home side were
dominating and extended their advantage in the 24th minute.
Bent picked out
Bowditch with a pinpoint cross, and he coolly chested the ball down under pressure
and slotted past Pidgeley for his second.
Matt Elliott headed
straight at the goalkeeper shortly afterwards as Town looked likely to add a
third, before Watford hit back - with Heidar Helguson spurning three quickfire
He was one-on-one
with Kelvin Davis but failed to poke the ball past the advancing goalkeeper
after 32 minutes - and from his team's next attack the Iceland international
was inches away from connecting with an inviting low cross from Baird.
He then drove a
right-footed shot past the post as the Hornets began to look increasingly threatening.
They managed to
pull a goal back in first-half stoppage time when Fitzgerald turned sharply
in the area and drilled the ball home.
Bent had the first
noteworthy chance of the second half for Ipswich. But his low shot whistled
past the post, and moments later Ian Westlake thundered an effort wide.
his hat-trick in the 61st minute as he took advantage of hesitation in the visitors'
defence to score, and that killed the game as a contest.
gamely, but Ipswich were always on top, and a superb passing movement culminated
in a fourth goal in injury time.
the ball on the edge of the area and slammed home.