Watford 2-0 West Ham: Ighalo double downs Hammers
By Jefferson Lake
Last Updated: 31/10/15 10:32pm
Odion Ighalo scored either side of half-time as Watford broke into the Premier League top 10 with a 2-0 win over West Ham.
The hosts were worthy winners and although Ighalo's first goal owed a debt of gratitude to a critical touch from Hammers defender Aaron Cresswell, his second was an excellent strike which ended the game as a contest early in the second half.
To add to West Ham's troubles, they had centre-back James Collins sent off five minutes from time for a clumsy challenge on Ighalo.
Watford are now ninth in the Premier League as a result, while their opponents have slipped to fifth courtesy of Manchester United's draw at Crystal Palace.
Ighalo will claim the first goal although his foot appeared to make a connection with the ball a fraction of a second before Cresswell's did.
The chance itself came about after a poor mistake by Andy Carroll, who failed to clear inside his own box and was dispossessed on the touchline by Nathan Aké, whose pass across goal arrived at the feet of Ighalo via a deflection off goalkeeper Adrian.
Although it was a fortuitous way to take the lead, Watford deserved it, having had almost all of the attacking play in the game up to that point as West Ham played liked a shadow of the side which has won this season at Arsenal and Manchester City.
Troy Deeney had a shot blocked close to the goalline by what looked suspiciously like Carroll's hand on 10 minutes and the striker twice caused problems at corners.
The Nigerian striker forced Adrian into a good save after the referee played a good advantage following a foul on Deeney and then produced some superb skill down the left week before crossing to Almen Abdi, who scuffed his effort straight at Adrian.
The goalkeeper did not get close to Watford and Ighalo's second goal, a fine left-footed strike after James Tomkins had failed to deal with Ikechi Anya's low cross from the left wing.
With a two-goal lead and West Ham in poor form, the home side were able to complete the match in a counter-attacking system, allowing their opponents to have the ball for long spells as they patiently waited for gaps to exploit.
Enner Valencia, on as a substitute hit the left-hand post after seizing on Craig Cathcart's poor pass back to Gomes after an hour but it was as close as the Hammers would come to a breakthrough.
A difficult situation for them become almost impossible five minutes from time when Collins was dismissed for a frustrated challenge on Ighalo, who was substituted off afterwards and given a deserved standing ovation from the Vicarage Road crowd.
Watford: Gomes (6), Nyom (7), Cathcart (6), Britos (7), Ake (7), Watson (7), Capoue (7), Anya (7), Deeney (8), Abdi (7), Ighalo (8).
Subs: Paredes (7), Behrami (7), Guedioura (7).
West Ham: Adrian (7), Jenkinson (6), Tomkins (5), Collins (4), Cresswell (6), Kouyate (5), Noble (5), Lanzini (5), Payet (6), Moses (5), Carroll (5).
Subs: Zarate (5), Valencia (6), Jelavic (5).
Man of the match: Odion Ighalo.