Troy Deeney reignited Watford’s promotion bid with a hat-trick in this demolition of 10-man Fulham at Craven Cottage last night.
The visitors had lost their previous four matches to slip from top of the table to seventh, but they rediscovered their early-season form in style while putting a dent in Fulham’s recent revival under new manager Kit Symons.
The hosts were looking for a fifth win from their last six home games, but it never looked on the cards as calamity struck in the first 20 minutes.
First Almen Abdi opened the scoring for Watford from a free-kick, drilling a low shot through Deeney’s legs and underneath the jumping Fulham wall.
The home side’s goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli was then sent off with barely after clipping Matej Vydra as the Czech striker attempted to round him.
Gabor Kiraly was summoned from the bench to face Deeney’s spot-kick, but the Watford player was soon celebrating his first goal in six matches as he fired his team 2-0 ahead. He added a third before half-time as he dispatched Gianni Munari’s header into the box.
Abdi scored his second just after the break, collecting Vydra’s pass and unleashing a powerful, curling drive from 25 yards into the top corner.
Deeney completed his hat-trick deep in stoppage time, racing clear to beat Kiraly. and cap a welcome return to form for the Hornets. Fulham barely created a chance all game.
Fulham: Bettinelli; Grimmer, Bodurov, Burn, Stafylidis; Parker, Christensen, Fofana (Williams, 61), Ruiz (Kiraly, 19), Rodallega, McCormack. Substitutes not used: Hutchinson, Zverotic, Roberts, Dembele, Hyndman.
Watford: Gomes; Bassong, Cathcart, Angella, Paredes; Abdi, Tozser (Guedioura, 83), Munari, Anya (Pudil, 86) Deeney, Vydra (Forestieri, 66). Substitutes not used: Doyley, Dyer, Ighalo, Bond.
Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire).Reuse content