Watford (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Troy Deeney scored his 100th league goal for Watford as they took a significant step towards Premier League survival on Tuesday with a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
Deeney, 28, set up M’Baye Niang for a spectacular opener and then scored early in the second half to give Watford seven home wins in a top-flight season for the first time since 1986-87.
More importantly, it left Walter Mazzarri’s side 10 points clear of the relegation zone on 37 points — just three points short of the 40-point threshold that traditionally guarantees safety.
Watford held on for victory despite seeing defender Miguel Britos — scorer of the winner against Sunderland on Saturday — sent off for two bookable offences midway through the second half.
West Brom sit one place above Watford in eighth, safety long secured, European qualification a long way off.
Watford manager Mazzarri recalled Deeney after illness and the captain was quick to make his presence felt as he teed up Niang’s 13th-minute opener at Vicarage Road.
Deeney’s header found the Frenchman wide on the left and he cut inside, slipping past Craig Dawson, before unleashing a fierce right-foot shot from the edge of the box that flew past Ben Foster.
Nacer Chadli had threatened for West Brom prior to Watford’s opener and he went close again shortly before half-time with a 25-yard free-kick that clipped the post.
Sebastian Prodl also made his return to Watford’s starting XI, but he went off clutching his ribs in first-half stoppage time, with Daryl Janmaat taking his place.
The visitors started the second half purposefully, Chris Brunt firing over, but within four minutes of the restart they were 2-0 down.
This time Niang repaid the favour by turning provider for Deeney, who chested down the on-loan AC Milan striker’s lofted through ball before bundling a shot past Foster.
Chadli and Hal Robson-Kanu both went close for West Brom, whose manager Tony Pulis sent on striker Salomon Rondon for Jake Livermore.
It was for a tug on Rondon that Britos was shown a second yellow card in the 65th minute, but the hosts succeeded in safeguarding their two-goal advantage.