Danny Welbeck's stunning overhead kick sent Norwich a step closer to relegation from the Premier League as Watford boosted their own survival chances with a 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road.
Norwich, who remain bottom of the table with only four games left to play, did take the lead in the fourth minute through Emiliano Buendia but Craig Dawson's header (10) quickly brought the scores level.
- £18 Premier League, Football channel offer
- How the teams lined up | Match stats
- Premier League table | Premier League fixtures | Live on Sky
It then took something special from Welbeck early in the second half to seal all three points for the hosts, who move 10 points ahead of Norwich and four clear of the relegation places.
The defeat leaves Norwich's top-flight status hanging by a thread. Daniel Farke's side are 10 points adrift of safety with only 12 points left to play for. A loss against West Ham at Carrow Road at the weekend would confirm their relegation to the Championship.
How Watford boosted their survival chances
Norwich looked to make an immediate impact as Buendia's free-kick forced Ben Foster into an early save. and it was not long before the visitors then scored their first Premier League goal since the restart.
In the fourth minute, Onel Hernandez drove at the heart of the Watford defence before playing in Buendia, who cut inside Adam Masina and curled the ball into the far corner.
Watford: Foster (6), Femenia (7), Kabasele (7), Dawson (8), Sarr (8), Capoue (7), Doucoure (7), Hughes (6), Masina (6), Welbeck (8), Deeney (7).
Subs: Cleverley (6), Chalobah (n/a).
Norwich: Krul (6), Aarons (5), Godfrey (6), Klose (6), Lewis (5), Tettey (5), Vrancic (6), Stiepermann (6), Buendia (7), Hernandez (7), Pukki (5).
Subs: McLean (6), Idah (6), Drmic (n/a), Martin (n/a).
Man of the match: Danny Welbeck
It was the perfect start for the Premier League's bottom club, however, Farke's side did not hold onto their lead for long.
Dawson headed home at the far post from an Etienne Capoue free-kick to level the game with less than 10 minutes played.
Norwich looked to get on the front foot as the first half wore on but they nearly caught out when Tim Krul had to keep out Welbeck's glancing header at the near post.
Watford went close to taking the lead again just before half-time, but this time Ismaila Sarr's cross was headed just over the Norwich bar by Welbeck.
- Watford manager Nigel Pearson made two changes from the side which was beaten 3-0 at Chelsea, as his team looked for their first win since the Premier League restart against Norwich. Adam Masina and Danny Welbeck replaced Adrian Mariappa and Nathaniel Chalobah in the starting line-up.
- Norwich recalled striker Teemu Pukki in one of three changes from their defeat to Brighton on Saturday as they continued their search for their first point since the resumption. Mario Vrancic and Marco Stiepermann also started, with Kenny McLean, Ondrej Duda and Josip Drmic rested by Daniel Farke.
After the break, the visitors enjoyed plenty of possession, but they could not make a similar breakthrough, although Dawson had to block Hernandez's powerful effort before Foster had to stretch out his leg to deny Max Aarons his first goal of the season.
However, the Canaries were eventually caught out by a quick break from the home side, and Sarr's cross was deflected before the ball looped to Welbeck, who scored his first Premier League goal for the club with a spectacular overhead kick.
The home side were nearly caught out in the final stages, but Adam Idah directed a flick from Josip Drmic just wide of Foster's goal.
Although Norwich tried to force their way back into the game and claim a point, Nigel Pearson's side were able to hold out for their first win since their shock victory over Premier League champions Liverpool in February.
Man of the Match - Danny Welbeck
His goal was a strike worthy of winning the man-of-the-match award.
And it will be a goal remembered for a long time by the Watford fans if it helps their side secure their top-flight status for next season.
Speaking about the goal, Welbeck said: "It means a lot to me and means a lot to the whole team. It is one that puts us on our way now. We will give it our all from now, but I am speechless after the goal. I knew I had caught it, kept my eye on the ball and it went in the top bins. It was a great goal and I am very pleased with that one."
Watford boss Nigel Pearson on Welbeck's performance: "He's a player with a lot of ability and he's had a really good career. To have a winner of such quality is great for us because it was a difficult game.
"I'm pleased for Danny, but I know him, he will just see this as a step in the right direction for himself having had a frustrating time with injury, so for him I know he will feel that all the hard work that he's put in to get himself back to match fitness has paid off. The goal was an added bonus, but I thought he played and worked exceptionally hard for his team today. He had a good game."
Welbeck's crucial strike
Welbeck scored his first Premier League goal since August 2018, when he scored for Arsenal against West Ham; it was his ninth attempt at goal for Watford in the Premier League this season.
What the managers said
Pearson: "I thought we showed a lot of character - not always composure - but the result was always more important than the performance. I feel for Norwich because they played pretty well and we've had to fight very hard. Their ability to keep the ball made it difficult.
"We desperately needed three points and we got it. It's only us who can keep us, we've got to win enough points. Sometimes clubs are in a position like this because there's not enough care. I know that's not the case here. We're going to do everything we can to stay up."
Norwich boss Daniel Farke: "We knew before, we are not naive, that this game we are in a difficult situation and it's not likely we will stay in the league. I feel sorry for the lads, they left their hearts out on the pitch. We won more or less all statistics but the one that matters is the goals.
"That bit of luck and quality was with Watford today. The lads tried everything possible today. I can't accuse the players too much. If you always feel unlucky after a game it's not unlucky, it's a bit of quality missing. But I can't accuse the lads."
Opta stats - Watford back to winning ways
- Watford registered only their second win in their last 12 Premier League matches (D3 L7) and their first since beating champions Liverpool 3-0 in February.
- The Hornets came from behind to win a Premier League game for the first time since January 2019 away at Crystal Palace.
- Norwich have lost six consecutive league matches for the first time since May 1995, when they lost seven in a row in the Premier League.
- Farke's side ended a run of seven hours and 53 minutes without a Premier League goal, with Emiliano Buendía's strike after four minutes their first since February against Leicester City. Buendía scored his first Premier League goal with his 37th shot in the competition.
Watford host Newcastle on Saturday at 12.30pm in the Premier League, while Norwich welcome West Ham to Carrow Road at the same time.