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Football | English Championship

Watford © Reuters Images

Watford boost promotion push



Gianfranco Zola's Watford boosted their surprise bid for promotion to the Premier League as the in-form Hornets thrashed Nottingham Forest 3-0 on Saturday.

Zola's side climbed to fourth in the Championship thanks to a fifth win in their last six league games and are just one point behind second placed Leicester in the race for automatic promotion.

Inspired by the former Chelsea forward's leadership, Watford have scored in every league game since November 6 and Matej Vydra, the Czech striker signed on loan from Udinese, continued that remarkable run and his own fine form when he netted in the 20th minute at the City Ground.

Vydra turned provider for strike partner Troy Deeney to double the advantage in the 34th minute and the Czech made it 10 goals in his last five Championship starts with his second, a cool lob 18 minutes from fulltime.

With several Championship fixtures postponed due to the weekend's FA Cup fourth round action, attention switched to the bottom of the table, where Bristol City improved their survival chances with a 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Ipswich.

Ipswich led thanks to Daryl Murphy's 30th minute goal, but just two minutes after the break City substitute Steven Davies levelled with a fine finish.

That set the stage for former Ipswich striker Jon Stead to hit the winner in the closing moments and lift City within seven points of their fourth bottom opponents.

Sheffield Wednesday moved six points clear of the relegation zone with a dramatic 2-1 win at Charlton.

Dave Jones' side trailed to a 47th minute goal from Johnnie Jackson, but Reda Johnson equalised in the 84th minute and five minutes later on-loan Swansea striker Leroy Lita fired the winner on his Wednesday debut.

Birmingham also left it late to take the points as Marlon King's stoppage-time strike secured a 2-1 win at 10-man Burnley, who had Dean Marney sent off after Ross Wallace had cancelled out Curtis Davies's opener for City.

Elsewhere, Liverpool transfer target Thomas Ince underlined his quality with both goals in Blackpool's 2-1 victory at Wolves.

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