Watford grabbed a vital three points in their bid to survive the drop as a pair of Troy Deeney penalties secured a 2-1 victory over Newcastle at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
The Magpies had led in the first half as Dwight Gayle turned home Federico Fernández's flick on from close range, with only a selection of fine Ben Foster saves keeping Newcastle's advantage to just a single goal.
However, Deeney leathered home two penalties in the second half after Kiko Femenia was tripped by Matt Ritchie and Javier Manquillo brought down Ismaila Sarr to take Nigel Pearson's side a step closer to survival.
Key Talking Point
Watford were easily second best in the first half. They were slow and sluggish in the final third lacking a bit of quality in the final third with a selection of poorly executed final balls.
However, they came out for the second half transformed, with a real energy, intensity and zip about them. Femenia's darting run to win the penalty demonstrated just the sort of urgency and daring that the Hornets had been missing in the first half.
Watford started pressing Newcastle high up the pitch, and the front three started combining effectively, looking menacing. Deeney should have had another after capitalising on Federico Fernandez's mistake, before turning provider for Danny Welbeck whose close range effort narrowly deflected over. When the Watford captain slammed home his second penalty, Watford were well on top and it was a deserved victory.
Starting XI: Foster (8*), Masina (6), Dawson (8), Kabasele (6), Femenia (7), Hughes (7), Capoue (6), Sarr (7), Dacoure (6), Welbeck (7), Deeney (8)
Subs: Cleverley (5), Gray (5)
While Troy Deeney's match winning penalty brace will grab the headlines, the game would have been beyond Watford by half time without the heroics of Foster.
Newcastle could have been out of sight in the first half. The Watford goalkeeper saved well from Miguel Almiron's half volley at the near post, and kept Allan Saint-Maximin at bay with his feet as the Newcastle winger bore down on goal.
Key Talking Point
Newcastle were much the better team in the first half. They were a particular threat from corners, with only a selection of Foster saves preventing them from extending their lead.
However, Watford's goal early in the second half really knocked the stuffing out of them. The Magpies struggled to cope with Watford's high, energetic press and rarely threatened in the second half.
Newcastle can have no complaints about either penalty; it was clumsy defending from both Femenia and Manquillo. In the end, Steve Bruce's side paid for not making the most of their first half opportunities, and they let the game slip away from them.
Starting XI: Dubravka (6), Manquillo (5), Lascelles (5), Fernandez (5), Rose (6), Saint-Maximin (6), Schar (5), Shelvey (5), Ritchie (6), Almiron (6), Gayle (7*)
Subs: Joelinton (5), Bentaleb, (5) Krafth (5)
Lockdown has been good for Dwight Gayle. Having not scored in the Premier League all season, the forward made it three goals from three appearances since the top flight returned to open the scoring.
His finish was instinctive but simple, but it was his all round link up play that really caught the eye. He put Saint-Maximin clean through on goal with a delightful touch in the first half, and sent Miguel Almiron away with a deft flick in the second.
Watford visit relegation rivals West Ham on Friday night, while Newcastle welcome Tottenham to St James' Park on Wednesday evening.