Troy Deeney ended his scoring drought and revived Watford’s promotion push as the Hornets thrashed Fulham 5-0 at Craven Cottage tonight.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s side had lost their last four games to drop to seventh in the Championship and the Serbian boss had spoken in advance of this game of the need for his team to get back on track. They certainly did that, utterly dominating a one-sided contest, even before Marcus Bettinelli was sent off midway through the first half. That changed Fulham’s approach from counter attacking to damage limitation – but with ten men they were fighting a losing battle on both fronts.
Kit Symons’ hopes of a fifth home win in six matches always looked fancifully after Watford made an accomplished start. The excellent Almen Abdi broke the deadlock with a fine free kick and Bettinelli was sent off for bringing down Matej Vydra as the Czech striker bore down on goal. Deeney clinically dispatched the penalty to end a run of six league games without a goal and made it three before the break after pouncing on Gianni Munari’s flick on that had caused chaos in the Fulham defence.
Abdi added a superb second after the interval – a wonderfully curling strike from 25 yards finding the top corner – and Deeney rounded off the scoring in injury-time, completing his hat trick by racing away from the remnants of the Fulham backline to fire past substitute goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly.
FULHAM (4-1-2-1-2): Bettinelli; Grimmer, Stafylidis, Bodurov, Burn; Parker; Fofana (Williams 61), Christensen; Ruiz (Kiraly 19); McCormack, Rodallega. Subs (not used): Hutchinson, Zverotic, Hyndman, Roberts, Dembele.
SENT OFF: Bettinelli.
WATFORD (3-5-2): Gomes; Cathcart, Angella, Bassong; Paredes, Anya (Pudil 86), Munari, Tozser (Guedioura 83), Abdi; Deeney, Vydra (Forestieri 66). Subs (not used): Bond, Doyley, Dyer, Ighalo.
GOALS: Abdi (15, 51), Deeney (pen 20, 37, 90+3).
REFEREE: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).