Watford 1-0 West Brom: Troy Deeney winner leaves Baggies eight points from safety
By Ron Walker
Last Updated: 03/03/18 8:19pm
Troy Deeney's second-half goal deepened West Brom's relegation woes and piled the pressure on Alan Pardew as Watford continued their resurgence with a 1-0 win at Vicarage Road.
Deeney beat the offside trap from Will Hughes' excellent through-ball and fired high beyond Ben Foster with 13 minutes to go to increase the Hornets' top-half credentials.
West Brom had chances to take the lead and might have got something from the game had Grzegorz Krychowiak hit the target early on, or Salomon Rondon done better when one-on-one after the break.
Watford: Karnezis (7), Janmaat (6), Prodl (6), Mariappa (6), Holebas (6), Capoue (4), Doucoure (6), Carrillo (6), Pereyra (7), Richarlison (5), Deeney (7).
Subs: Okaka (6), Hughes (7), Britos (n/a).
West Brom: Foster (6), Dawson (7), Hegazi (7), Evans (6), Gibbs (5), Krychowiak (6), Livermore (7), Brunt (6), Rodriguez (5), Phillips (6), Rondon (7).
Subs: McClean (n/a), Burke (n/a), Field (n/a).
Man of the match: Salomon Rondon
But Deeney's strike condemned West Brom to a sixth straight defeat and put them eight points from Premier League safety, while the Hornets move a point within eighth-placed Leicester.
The Baggies shaded the opening half, and Krychowiak tested the hosts' nervous looking-defence with a powerful drive inside four minutes, which may have put them ahead but for Adrian Mariappa's crucial block.
West Brom came to frustrate Watford and had done a real job on the hosts until one mix-up shortly before the break allowed Daryl Janmaat a clear route to goal, only for his finish to make life easy for Ben Foster who turned it behind.
The half-time team talks helped to liven up a limp encounter and Orestis Karnezis saved well at his near post from Rondon's 20-yard shot minutes after the restart.
Watford's one change was enforced, with Gerard Deulofeu missing out with injury and Andre Carrillo handed his first league start in nearly two months.
Chris Brunt was kept in the West Brom starting line-u despite his dressing room dissent of Alan Pardew, while Gareth Barry missed out with a knee injury.
But the key moments again evaded Pardew's side, who were inches from scoring when Jonny Evans' header was tipped onto the post by Karnezis.
And soon after they were behind when Hughes spotted Deeney in space and with Evans trying to step up, the Hornets captain raced through before finishing with real confidence into the top of the net.
Pardew threw on Oliver Burke and Sam Field in the dying moments in a desperate attempt to draw level, but will be increasingly concerned about his own prospects, as well as West Brom's, following a run of eight points from 15 Premier League games.
- West Brom have lost five successive Premier League games for the first time since January 2011.
- Watford have won 10 points in five Premier League games under Javi Gracia (W3 D1 L1), more than they won in their first five under Marco Silva (8).
- The Baggies have won just one of their last 27 Premier League games (W1 D11 L15).
- Will Hughes has been involved in four goals in his last four Premier League appearances for Watford (two goals, two assists).
Javi Gracia: "We got three important points in a tough game. It's not easy to win back-to-back home games, and I'm proud of the players. I'm very pleased for the supporters and we will try to do the same next week against Arsenal.
"Troy has scored two very important goals in two games, and I always say the captain is an important player on and off the pitch. I'm very happy for him.
"There are more possibilities to choose players and for our selection. First of all, I'm happy for them because the players have been injured for a long time and to come back with the team is something special for them."
Alan Pardew: "People will turn this situation into a personal situation with myself, but it's about West Brom, it's not about me. If the consequences are I lose my job, that will be what it is.
"All I can hope and what was on the surface today from the players was a commitment to try to address the situation. We know it's very, very tough. There's nine games left, there's a lot of to play for.
"A win can change the dynamic, but of course, when you look at our win ratio and our goal ratio you question that. So we've got to try to get a win and go from there."
Man of the match - Salomon Rondon
Rondon proved a real handful for the Watford defence all afternoon, drawing a foul and a booking out of Mariappa after half-time.
With some better finishing he could have put West Brom ahead, and he had more shots than anyone else on the field.
Even then, his physical presence helped relieve pressure on their defence and allow them to get up-field time after time, and his defending from the front won possession back for the Baggies more than any other player on their side.
Watford face the first of a pair of tough looking away games at Arsenal next Sunday, live on Sky Sports, before travelling to Anfield the following weekend.
West Brom host Leicester City at the Hawthorns next Saturday, before travelling to AFC Bournemouth.