Hornets pay the penalty
By Rob Lancaster
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
David Healy struck a late penalty to give Preston all three points against Watford.
David Healy struck a late penalty to give Preston all three points against Watford at Deepdale.
The Northern Ireland international made the visitors pay from the spot after Paul Devlin's reckless tackle gave the striker the chance to give the hosts a 2-1 win.
The final scoreline could have been different, though, but Watford missed a penalty of their own near the end as captain Neil Cox saw his effort stopped by home keeper Andy Lonergan.
The away team had started the game brightly as Preston took their time to get into the match.
The hosts first real chance fell to Richard Cresswell but he saw his effort blocked by Watford custodian Richard Lee, although the forward soon had his revenge as he put his team in front just after the half hour mark.
The former York City player notched Preston's first goal of the new season after he made the most of a floated free-kick from Claude Davis to fire home.
The hosts held onto the lead up until half-time but allowed the opposition to come back into the contest straight after the interval.
Ironically, it was Devlin who was to be the hero for the Hornets as he latched onto an excellent cross from Paul Mayo to ram the ball home and make it 1-1.
However the former Birmingham forward's delight was to be short-lived as he gave the Lillywhites the chance to go back in front 13 minutes from time as he needlessly hauled down Eddie Lewis inside the box.
Healy kept his cool from the spot and, after Cox had fluffed his chance to draw Watford level for a second time, the hosts managed to hang on to pick up a morale-boosting win on the first day of the Championship.