Watford on top of Championship after Bournemouth drama

Watford were left a point clear at the top of the Championship as the manic scrap for promotion to the lucrative English Premier League took another twist on Saturday.

Watford on top of Championship after Bournemouth drama

London: Watford were left a point clear at the top of the Championship as the manic scrap for promotion to the lucrative English Premier League took another twist on Saturday.

Bournemouth, despite being down to 10 men following Simon Francis`s red card, were all set to regain top spot after goals from Yann Kermorgant and Matt Ritchie put them 2-1 up at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

But five minutes into stoppage time at the end of the match the visitors were awarded a penalty and Chris Maguire scored to ensure the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

However, it was referee Paul Tierney`s failure to award south coast club Bournemouth a penalty in the 65th minute for a foul on striker Callum Wilson that sparked a furious reaction from home fans at Dean Court.

The lack of a spot-kick left Cherries boss Eddie Howe a frustrated man.

"I don`t even know what to say because I don`t want to get myself in trouble," Howe said. "Let me say I disagree with the decision.

"That for me is the most clear-cut penalty I`ve seen this season involving my side. And a red card."

Wilson has won several Bournemouth several penalties in recent matches and Howe added: "I can`t understand why it wasn`t given.

"You will have to ask the referee whether the amount of penalties he (Wilson) has got has worked against him. Who knows? For me a penalty is a penalty and it has got to be given.

"Callum is quick and an athletic player and because of the way he plays he naturally draws fouls. If there is a limit to the amount of penalties that can be given then the Football League should let us know."

Watford leapfrogged both Middlesbrough and Bournemouth into top spot after defender Craig Cathcart`s overhead kick midway through the second half secured a 1-0 win over Birmingham at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets are now a point clear of both Bournemouth and Middlesbrough, level on 84 points, with two matches of the regular season remaining and fourth-placed Norwich on 82 points.

Only the top two teams at the end of the regular season are guaranteed a place in next season`s Premier League, with the next four having to suffer the lottery of the play-offs in the battle for the third promotion place.

"This competition is very tough and complicated and we found the same today," said Watford coach Slavisa Jokanovic.

"I must be happy with our performance, I must be proud with how we played in the first half and in the second half we made many chances."

Derby`s bid for automatic promotion came to a spectacular end with a 4-4 draw at Huddersfield.

Rams winger Tom Ince, son of former England midfielder Paul, scored the first and last goals of an extraordinary contest.

Oscar Gobern, Mark Hudson and Reece James gave Huddersfield a 3-1 lead after Ince`s opener but Simon Dawkins and Jesse Lingard levelled the match for Derby.

Nahki Wells equalised for the home side before Ince completed the scoring.