Troy Deeney scored his 100th league goal for Watford as the Hornets brushed aside West Bromwich Albion 2-0 at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night. The talisman also becomes the first Hornets player to net in four consecutive home games in a top flight campaign after M'Baye Niang opened the scoring early on.
It was a relatively comfortable victory for Walter Mazzarri's side, who move up to ninth in the Premier League table. West Brom remain in eighth as their poor first half showing proved the difference in Hertfordshire.
The game's first effort fell to the visitors, when Nacer Chadli burst clear after a through ball from Darren Fletcher. The Belgian tried to lift his effort over the on-rushing Heurelho Gomes but the Brazilian managed to get something on the ball before Chadli could only toe poke the rebound across the face of goal.
That was all that Tony Pulis' side could muster before they went behind to Niang's wonder strike. A long ball was hoisted over the top and Deeney managed to angle his header out wide to the unmarked Niang. The AC Milan loanee was allowed to advance with the ball and cut inside Craig Dawson and curled his effort beyond a helpless Ben Foster with just 13 minutes gone.
The goal lifted the home crowd as the Hornets began to enjoy their fair share of possession and asked questions of Pulis' side. Jonny Evans and Dawson gave away needless free-kicks and a Tom Cleverley corner was headed wide by Miguel Britos.
The Baggies did begin to put their stamp on the game as Allan Nyom tried to manufacture a chance against his former employers. It was almost full pantomime effect as the home crowd booed and heckled the full-back's run down the left flank but West Brom did come close shortly afterwards.
Hal Robson-Kanu chested down a long ball into the path of Chris Brunt who took the ball in his stride. The Northern Irish international brought the ball down but his second touch just evaded him as Gomes cleared.
Chadli was next to try his luck after a free-kick grazed the post with Gomes well beaten. Hit from all of 25 yards, the ball curled agonisingly the wrong side of the post and out for a goal kick.
26 - A league-high 26% of Watford's goals have been in the first 15 minutes of their games this season (9/35). Stingers.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 4, 2017
The second half began with Matty Phillips replacing James McClean with the former proving so vital for the visitors, but it was Watford's captain fantastic that managed to double the home side's advantage on 49 minutes.
Niang pinged a superb first time through ball straight over the top of the West Brom defence and Deeney raced onto it and brushed off the advances of Evans before sliding the ball home. The striker slipped as he approached Foster but managed to steer his effort goal bound.
Former Tottenham man Chadli came close again for the Baggies when he fired wide but Niang almost replicated his first-half strike on the hour mark. Cutting in from his favoured right side, his powerful effort was blocked by Dawson.
The tide of the game looked like it was about to shift after Miguel Britos was given his marching orders on 65 minutes. The Argentine was judged to have pulled at Solomon Rondon's shirt as he tried to bustle his way through on goal. It looked like a relatively soft decision but a second yellow was deemed fair from ref Paul Tierney.
Walter Mazzarri was visibly upset with the decision and he began to make defensive changes in a bid to shut up shop. Substitute Rondon began to worry the Watford defence as he began to threaten all to frequently but to no avail.
Fletcher then dragged a shot wide from distance before the home side applauded the efforts of Niang as he was replaced by Isaac Success on 80 minutes. It was a fine performance from the 22 year-old and rightfully cheered as he proved a thorn in the West Brom defence throughout.
Watford absorbed a final splurge of pressure from the visitors but as the final whistle blew, it was a deserved victory for the seemingly always under pressure Mazzarri.
#watfordfc XI v West Brom: Gomes (GK); Cathcart, Prödl, Britos, Holebas; Doucouré, Cleverley, Capoue; Niang, Amrabat; Deeney (c).— Watford FC (@WatfordFC) April 4, 2017