Troy Deeney scores again as Watford move into top half with win over Norwich
Watford have climbed into the top half of the Barclays Premier League after a 2-0 victory over Norwich at Vicarage Road.
Captain Troy Deeney scored for the fourth consecutive game as he converted from the penalty spot in the first half before Odion Ighalo completed the win in injury time.
The Hornets moved up to ninth in the table while Norwich, with just one victory in their last nine league outings, are 16th.
Norwich skipper Alex Tettey returned to Alex Neil's starting XI after missing the 1-1 draw against Norwich with a groin problem.
Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, taken off on a stretcher with a neck injury at Aston Villa last weekend, lined up for the visitors.
On a cold and blustery day, it was Norwich, 3-0 winners both home and away against Watford in the Championship last season, who enjoyed the best of the early exchanges.
But as the half wore on, the hosts began to take a stranglehold on what was turning out to be a rather scrappy affair.
With 13 minute gone, Ben Watson took aim at the Norwich goal, but his 20-yard effort deflected off the heels of Sebastian Bassong for only a corner.
Seven minutes later, Ikechi Anya found space on the right-hand side, but his cross lacked any quality and went straight into the body of a grateful Declan Rudd.
But then, after half an hour, the breakthrough came. Etienne Capoue dispossessed a dithering Tettey and in his attempts to make amends for his error, the returning Norwich skipper hauled Ighalo down.
Referee Mike Dean immediately pointed to the penalty spot and Tettey was booked. It could, and probably should have been worse, with Ighalo denied a clear goalscoring chance. Deeney made no mistake from 12 yards to score his fifth goal in six games.
Watford upped the ante and Ighalo appeared to double his side's advantage with the interval approaching, but his effort - teed up by an Allan Nyom header - was ruled out for offside. Television replays suggested it was the wrong decision.
Shortly after half-time Nathan Ake, the on-loan Chelsea defender, was left flat out on the turf after a nasty collision with Andre Wisdom.
Norwich's Wisdom charged in for a header, but in the process wiped out Ake, who landed on his neck. Fortunately after several minutes of treatment, Ake was back on his feet and was able to play on.
With Dieumerci Mbokani now on for Nathan Redmond, Norwich appeared to carry a greater threat going forward and Mbokani perhaps should have hauled the visitors level. A free-kick from the left-hand side missed everyone, and fell to Mbokani, but the Congolese striker failed to make any significant contact and Gomes gobbled up the ball.
At the other end Ighalo fluffed his lines when put through by Etienne Capoue. Ighalo, a constant threat for Watford, then produced a fine save from Rudd who dived down low to his left before Bassong did enough to put Ighalo off his stride and the hosts were denied once more.
But in the 91st minute, Ighalo finally got the goal he deserved, holding off the challenge from Bassong, before slipping the ball under the legs of Rudd.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"Well done Watford. I'm sure it's not escaped the attention of @davidmcnally62 & our gaffer that Watford have a match-winning striker..." - BT Sport presenter and Norwich fan Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) congratulates Watford but points out the lack of an attacking presence up front for the Canaries.
Heurelho Gomes 6
Allan Nyom 6
Miguel Britos 7
Jose Manuel Jurado 7
Troy Deeney 7
Craig Cathcart 6
Nathan Ake 7
Ikechi Anya 6
Ben Watson 6
Odion Ighalo 8
Etienne Capoue 7
Juan Carlos Paredes 6
Almen Abdi 6
Adlene Guedioura 6
Declan Rudd 6
Andre Wisdom 6
Sebastien Bassong 5
Lewis Grabban 5
Jonny Howson 6
Robbie Brady 6
Graham Dorrans 6
Nathan Redmond 5
Martin Olsson 6
Ryan Bennett 6
Alex Tettey 5
Dieumerci Mbokani 6
Cameron Jerome 5
Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe 5
Odion Ighalo caused Sebastien Bassong problems all afternoon, and he got the goal his hard work warranted. With nine strikes in the Premier League this term, Watford will do well to hang on to their star man.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Vicarage Road was rocking when Ighalo sealed the win in injury time and their imaginative chant for the French striker - sung to the tune of Spandau Ballet's Gold - was the best moment of this Premier League clash.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Alex Neil looks like a man under pressure. He exchanged harsh words with Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores, and was at odds with referee Mike Dean and fourth official Darren England throughout Saturday's match. The Canaries are in trouble.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Norwich fans will wonder how they drew with Arsenal, but then turn in such a limp display against Watford. Heurelho Gomes was barely tested in the Watford goal.
WHO'S UP NEXT?
Sunderland v Watford (Barclays Premier League, Saturday, December 12)
Norwich v Everton (Barclays Premier League, Saturday, December 12)