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Coventry 0-0 Watford: Xisco Munoz’s Hornets lose ground in race for automatic promotion

Watford's William Troost-Ekong (left) and Coventry City's Maxime Biamou battle for the ball
Image:Watford’s William Troost-Ekong (left) and Coventry City’s Maxime Biamou battle for the ball

Watford lost further ground in the race for automatic promotion from the Sky Bet Championship as they were held to a goalless draw by Coventry at St Andrew’s.

Mark Robins’ men passed up a series of chances to break the deadlock in the first half but held firm as the Hornets – who saw captain Troy Deeney strike the crossbar – piled on the late pressure.

They climb above QPR into 17th, five points above safety, ahead of the remainder of Saturday’s action, while Watford move into fourth, five points away from the top two, having played one game more than second-placed Swansea.

It wasn’t immediately clear which team was vying for promotion and which one was hoping to stay in the division for much of the first half; Coventry imposed themselves early on and fired a warning shot when Max Biamou collected Sam McCallum’s direct ball forward and flashed a shot across the six-yard box.

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A smart save from Marko Marosi kept out a deft chip from Andre Gray but the hosts, almost immediately, broke forward, with Gustavo Hamer’s 15-yard header Jamie Allen’s cross held by Daniel Bachmann.

Within minutes, the Sky Blues had gone close again, when Adam Masina flicked Gustavo Hamer’s free-kick into the path of Dominic Hyam, who headed over the bar and, five minutes before the break, Biamou had members of the Coventry bench off their seats when he headed Julien Dacosta’s cross just inches wide.

Xisco Munoz had highlighted Watford’s lack of intensity in Monday’s 2-1 defeat to QPR and, while Bachmann was the busier goalkeeper throughout, the second half brought a slight improvement.

The Hornets started to assert themselves inside the final 10 minutes and came within a crossbar’s width of the opener when Deeney’s late header struck the woodwork, but with Coventry’s inability to convert their chances, they escaped with a point.

Both sides are next in action on Saturday, February 13 at 3pm. Coventry travel to the Cardiff City Stadium to take on Cardiff, while Watford host Bristol City at Vicarage Road.

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