Watford maintained their slim hopes of snatching the Championship's second automatic promotion spot with a nervy win at play-off hopefuls Leicester.

Troy Deeney swept in Joel Ekstrand's knockdown before Nathaniel Chalobah rifled in a stunning 35-yard strike to put third-placed Watford in command.

Clinical Watford

Watford have scored 44 league goals away from home this season - seven more than any other side in the top four divisions.

Statistic courtesy of Opta

Leicester hit back through Harry Kane's header but could not find an equaliser.

Watford are one point behind second-placed Hull, who can secure promotion with a win at Barnsley on Saturday.

Defeat means seventh-placed Leicester know their play-off ambitions could be ended on Saturday if top-six rivals Crystal Palace and Bolton win their respective matches.

Fifth-placed Palace visit Blackburn, while Bolton travel to Championship title winners Cardiff, and victory for each team will leave the Foxes four points adrift of the play-off spots heading into the final day of the season.

Gianfranco Zola's men are praying they will go into their final game - at home to Leeds on 4 May - with something still riding on its outcome.

Now they are relying on relegation-threatened Barnsley to do them a favour against Hull after doing their own job at Leicester.

Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson

Leicester travel to East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest on the final day of the season

Nigel Pearson's team knew nothing other than a win at a noisy King Power Stadium would suffice but they were undone by Watford in a devastating two-minute spell shortly before half-time.

The home side dominated possession for long periods of the first half without being able to stretch Hornets goalkeeper Manuel Almunia - and they were punished after poor organisation at a Watford corner.

An unmarked Ekstrand was allowed space to head down Almen Abdi's inswinging corner for Deeney to pounce for his 19th goal of the season.

While suspect defending contributed to Watford's opener, Foxes boss Pearson could not blame his players for Chalobah's sensational second.

The England Under-21 midfielder, on loan from Chelsea, latched on to a loose ball before unleashing a long-range shot which flew past Kasper Schmeichel.

Leicester were left shocked by the double, but managed to regain their composure after the break.

Falling Foxes

Leicester have won only one of their last 12 league games but have only dropped two places to seventh in that spell.

Substitute Kane halved the deficit after beating the Watford offside trap to nod in Paul Konchesky's deflected cross and also stung the palms of Almunia with another fierce shot moments later.

The home fans were lifted and had a strong penalty appeal turned down when Chris Wood was sent tumbling by Jonathan Hogg.

Referee Craig Pawson allowed play to continue as the New Zealand striker appealed and the ball fell to Ben Marshall, who was denied by a smart stop by Almunia.

Leicester refused to give up, but could not find an equaliser which would have boosted their slim play-off hopes.

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson:

"The two goals, at the time that they came, knocked us for six. It affected the players visibly and we could have conceded another one before half-time as well.

"We had a go in the second half and it's just not happened for us again. We had to make a fist of it in the second half and I think we did.

"The players worked hard to try and get back into it but it just didn't happen for us. I couldn't have asked for much more from them.

"But it wasn't enough and unfortunately that's been the story too often this season."

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola:

"I think it will go down to the final day, I hope so. In this league nothing is certain - it has been that way all season.

"Any team can beat any team - as we have seen. I'm sure it will go right down until the end and it will be exciting.

"I will keep an eye (on the Hull game) but I will also try to relax.

"We have done what we needed to do and now we have to hope that a good result will come from somewhere else."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Leicester City

  • 01 Schmeichel
  • 02 De Laet
  • 03 Konchesky
  • 05 Morgan
  • 15 M Keane
  • 10 King
  • 11 Dyer (Kane - 58' )
  • 16 James
  • 24 Knockaert (Marshall - 65' )
  • 18 Schlupp Booked (Nugent - 46' Booked )
  • 39 Wood

Substitutes

  • 13 Logan
  • 06 Whitbread
  • 22 Moore
  • 04 Drinkwater
  • 07 Marshall
  • 35 Nugent
  • 37 Kane

Watford

  • 01 Almunia
  • 12 Doyley
  • 18 Pudil
  • 27 Cassetti
  • 39 Chalobah (Yeates - 79' )
  • 40 Ekstrand
  • 08 Hogg
  • 21 Anya (Briggs - 71' Booked )
  • 22 Abdi (Battocchio - 83' )
  • 09 Deeney
  • 20 Vydra

Substitutes

  • 30 Bond
  • 17 Briggs
  • 07 Yeates
  • 16 Murray
  • 38 Battocchio
  • 36 Geijo
  • 41 Forestieri
Ref: Pawson
Att: 25,091

Match Stats

Shots

9 10

On target

4 6

Corners

9 7

Fouls

12 8

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +5:37 Full time

Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.

90:00 +4:57

Shot on goal by Michael Keane from just inside the area clears the crossbar.

90:00 +4:31

Cristian Battocchio takes a shot. Save made by Kasper Schmeichel.

90:00 +3:13

Corner taken short by Matej Vydra.

90:00 +2:39

Matej Vydra fouled by Ritchie De Laet, the ref awards a free kick. Matej Vydra takes the free kick.

90:00 +2:02

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Troy Deeney by Wes Morgan. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.

88:25

Matej Vydra challenges Ritchie De Laet unfairly and gives away a free kick. Kasper Schmeichel takes the direct free kick.

87:12

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Manuel Almunia by Harry Kane. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.

86:43

Corner taken right-footed by Matty James.

82:14 Substitution

Substitution Almen Abdi goes off and Cristian Battocchio comes on.

80:38

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris Wood by Almen Abdi. Kasper Schmeichel takes the direct free kick.

79:57

Marco Cassetti restarts play with the free kick.

79:57 Booking

Booking Booking for David Nugent.

79:49

David Nugent challenges Mark Yeates unfairly and gives away a free kick.

78:02 Substitution

Substitution Nathaniel Chalobah leaves the field to be replaced by Mark Yeates.

76:40

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Matej Vydra by Wes Morgan. Daniel Pudil takes the direct free kick.

74:58

Kasper Schmeichel restarts play with the free kick.

74:58 Booking

Booking Booking for Matthew Briggs for unsporting behaviour.

74:47

Foul by Matthew Briggs on Wes Morgan, free kick awarded.

71:37

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Wes Morgan by Troy Deeney. Free kick taken by Kasper Schmeichel.

70:18

Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.

70:18 Substitution

Substitution Matthew Briggs joins the action as a substitute, replacing Ikechi Anya.

70:18

Chris Wood is caught offside.

69:03

Corner taken right-footed by Matty James.

68:50

David Nugent takes a shot. Manuel Almunia makes a save.

68:09

Outswinging corner taken by Matty James from the right by-line.

66:15

Free kick awarded for a foul by Chris Wood on Joel Ekstrand. Free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.

64:40

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Almen Abdi played to the near post, clearance by Andy King.

64:40 Substitution

Substitution Ben Marshall replaces Anthony Knockaert.

63:02

Harry Kane takes a shot. Save by Manuel Almunia.

60:25

The assist for the goal came from Paul Konchesky.

60:25 Goal scored

Goal! - Harry Kane - Leicester 1 - 2 Watford Harry Kane scores a headed goal from inside the penalty box. Leicester 1-2 Watford.

57:48 Substitution

Substitution Lloyd Dyer leaves the field to be replaced by Harry Kane.

56:27

Centre by Daniel Pudil, clearance by Michael Keane.

54:44

Corner taken by Almen Abdi from the right by-line, Chris Wood makes a clearance. Inswinging corner taken by Almen Abdi, Anthony Knockaert manages to make a clearance.

49:54

Marco Cassetti concedes a free kick for a foul on Ritchie De Laet. Matty James crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, clearance by Troy Deeney.

48:07

Corner from the left by-line taken by Matty James, clearance by Troy Deeney.

45:48

David Nugent produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution David Nugent comes on in place of Jeff Schlupp.

45:00 +2:05 Half time

Half Time The referee blows for half time.

45:00 +0:08

Foul by Andy King on Ikechi Anya, free kick awarded. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.

44:39

Corner taken by Matty James, clearance made by Ikechi Anya.

43:51

Matej Vydra takes a shot. Clearance made by Ritchie De Laet. Almen Abdi takes a shot. Ritchie De Laet makes a clearance.

42:14 Goal scored

Goal! - Nathaniel Chalobah - Leicester 0 - 2 Watford Nathaniel Chalobah scores a goal from outside the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal. Leicester 0-2 Watford.

41:37

Chris Wood is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.

40:08

The assist for the goal came from Matej Vydra.

40:08 Goal scored

Goal! - Troy Deeney - Leicester 0 - 1 Watford Troy Deeney grabs a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Leicester 0-1 Watford.

39:49

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Almen Abdi from the left by-line.

33:02

Anthony Knockaert takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.

28:46

Andy King has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.

27:36

Effort on goal by Almen Abdi from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.

21:29

Jonathan Hogg gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Chris Wood. Andy King takes the direct free kick.

18:46

Marco Cassetti concedes a free kick for a foul on Jeff Schlupp. Anthony Knockaert takes the direct free kick.

17:57

Jonathan Hogg takes the free kick.

17:57 Booking

Booking Jeff Schlupp receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

17:53

Jeff Schlupp gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Joel Ekstrand.

15:49

Jonathan Hogg takes a shot. Kasper Schmeichel makes a save. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Almen Abdi. Nathaniel Chalobah has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.

14:53

Almen Abdi fouled by Wes Morgan, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.

13:41

Ritchie De Laet takes a shot. Marco Cassetti gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken by Matty James from the right by-line.

13:02

Short corner taken by Matty James from the right by-line.

12:14

Effort from the edge of the area by Joel Ekstrand goes wide of the right-hand upright.

11:42

Anthony Knockaert gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Hogg. Jonathan Hogg takes the free kick.

10:29

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Matty James from the left by-line to the near post, Wes Morgan takes a shot.

4:37

Shot by Marco Cassetti missed to the left of the net.

3:18

Matty James takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Jonathan Hogg manages to make a clearance.

2:29

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Joel Ekstrand by Jeff Schlupp. Direct free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.

1:49

Unfair challenge on Ritchie De Laet by Daniel Pudil results in a free kick. Kasper Schmeichel restarts play with the free kick.

1:20

Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Almen Abdi.

0:41

Wes Morgan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Joel Ekstrand. Nathaniel Chalobah restarts play with the free kick.

0:00

The match begins.

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