Watford #Football Club will be enjoying the riches of the #Premier League next season after the weekend's latest edition of 'unpredictable' football, otherwise known as the Championship in England. While their fellow promotion rivals were unable to take all three points, the Hornets continued their recent surge to the summit of the table.
With Middlesbrough dramatically losing and Norwich drawing, Watford's 2-0 success at Brighton saw them promoted with a game to spare. Bournemouth play on Monday at home to Bolton, knowing that a victory would almost certainly guarantee their promotion as well, given their vastly superior goal difference over the other clubs.
The Championship has been the place to be this season for excitement and drama. Four clubs have been battling for the two automatic promotion places in recent weeks. It had been expected that the close tussle would go down to the final week, but those final games may now become a formality should Bournemouth win tonight. Watford's place in England's top league next season is already confirmed, thanks to Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra's goals at Brighton's Amex Stadium on Saturday lunchtime. They now lead the table by four points from Bournemouth, who are the only side that can deny them the Championship title.
A victory for the Cherries against Bolton would see Eddie Howe's men promoted as well, barring an unlikely change to the respective goal differences in the final fixtures. Bournemouth already hold a massive 16 goal advantage over Boro, who are the only side that could catch them if Bolton are vanquished.
While Watford did what they needed to do, the sides nearest to them had a day they would rather forget. Middlesbrough squandered their opportunity to keep up the pressure on the top two places by losing a see-saw encounter 4-3 away at Fulham. They somehow came back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to draw level at 3-3, before a last minute winner for the home side was their undoing. More impressive was the fact that they were battling at the end with just ten men, after George Friend was sent off with over 20 minutes remaining. Goals from Michael Turner and a hat-trick for Ross McCormack eventually gave Fulham the points. Adam Reach, Daniel Ayala and Kike's goals for Boro proved not quite good enough on the day..
Norwich City also all but blew their chances of staying in the automatic promotion hunt, with a disappointing 1-1 draw away at Rotherham United. Like Boro they were also reduced to ten men, as Lewis Grabban saw red in the 25th minute for seemingly throwing a punch at United's Craig Morgan. Despite their lack of numbers, City took the lead on 56 minutes when Gary Hooper's crisp strike found the top corner of the net. Their lead remained intact until just four minutes from time, when Jordan Bowery headed in the equaliser.
Norwich now trail Middlesbrough by just a point in fourth place, with both teams already certain of at least a play-off position. One additional side will gain promotion to the Premier League via the end of season play-off route, with the teams finishing third to sixth in the regular season featuring in that.