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Leicester City's play-off hopes hanging by a thread


Leicester City's promotion dream could be over for another season after they lost their penultimate game of the season at home to Watford.

City must hope Bolton Wanderers do not win at champions Cardiff City this afternoon so City can take their play-off challenge to the last game, at Nottingham Forest next Saturday.

Two goals just before half- time, from Troy Deeney and Nathaniel Chalobah, left City with too much to do and, despite Harry Kane's strike after 61 minutes, they could not pull another game out of the fire and have now won just two of their last 17 games.

City were expected to have some say in the automatic promotion race, but not in the way that it transpired for Nigel Pearson's men.

City's hopes of finishing in the top two were ruined through their poor run of results in February and March and they were left needing to win their last two games just to stand a chance of reaching the play-offs.

By contrast, Watford needed a win to keep the pressure on Steve Bruce's Hull City for second spot.

Pearson said before the game that whoever grabbed second spot would do so on merit, but there were many questioning the merit of Watford's achievement after they found a loophole in the loan transfer rules to bring in a host of foreign temporary signings.

In fact, seven of their starting line-up belonged to other clubs.

Regardless of the debate over the ethics of their transfer policy, one thing not in dispute is that Zola's team are a very good side on their day, and they demonstrated that fact in the first half. As expected, with both sides desperate for the win, it was a barnstorming first period and City showed plenty of spirit, cheered on by a fantastic home crowd.

Wes Morgan headed over from a corner, Andy King went close with a half-volley and Chris Wood couldn't convert from close range as City had some bright moments.

But it was the visitors who looked more in control as their midfield five played some fluent attacking football, with City struggling to cope with Ikechi Anya down the right and Almen Abdi's ghosting runs beyond City's back line.

City were hanging on at times and some good defending, coupled with Watford's tendency to opt for one pass too many, kept the Hornets at bay.

But City finally yielded just before half time.

Kasper Schmeichel, who had produced some wonderful saves to deny Abdi, was left helpless as Troy Deeney scored from close range after City had failed to deal with a corner .

Two minutes later, they were hit by a thunderous strike from Nathaniel Chalobah, whose shot from 25 yards arrowed into the top corner.

City had to go for broke as Pearson threw on David Nugent and Harry Kane, and it was the latter who pulled City back into the game with a header in the 61st minute.

City were now the dominant force as Watford tried to hold on to what they had.

There was no lack of effort on City's part but they could not force the equaliser and the season could go down to a nervy encounter at the City Ground.

Leicester City's play-off  hopes hanging by a thread

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