Watford vs Brentford match report: Manager No 3 McKinlay gets off to a winning start

Watford 2 Brentford 1

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The Independent Football

Consistency is one of the key ingredients all promotion-aspiring teams strive to have in their armoury. But, manager-wise, that has proved to be a greater challenge for Watford this season.

On Tuesday night, with the Vicarage Road side starting only their 10th Championship game of the campaign, they were unveiling their third manager of the season.

Billy McKinlay, the former Scotland and Blackburn midfielder, is the latest to take the managerial reins and his tenure started with a win. He resigned yesterday as Northern Ireland assistant manager, stressing that all his attentions must be on Watford.

The Watford players, unwitting victims of this managerial maelstrom, showed the same one-track mindset as they notched their sixth league win this campaign.

They took a 42nd minute lead with Odion Ighalo’s first goal for the club on his second league start. The Nigerian striker, awarded a penalty after tumbling to James Tarkowski’s challenge, saw his spot-kick parried by keeper David Button but he tapped home the close-range loose ball.

Ighalo had already shown his attacking intent with a header from a Lloyd Dyer cross that hit the bar.

The Brentford manager, Mark Warburton, a former City trader, was looking for his side to build on their steady start to the season after promotion from League One.

They levelled on 57 minutes when Jonathan Douglas received an Alan Judge pass and drilled his shot beyond the stretching hands of keeper Heurelho Gomes and inside the far post.

Czech striker Matej Vydra restored Watford’s lead on 70 minutes with a fine  20-yard half-volley. But they lost Danil Pudil on 89 minutes, sent off for two yellows It left Brentford, after their 2-0 victory over Leeds on Saturday, seeking that old ingredient... consistency.

Watford (4-2-3-1): Gomes; Paredes, Ekstrand, Cathcart, Pudil; Munari, Tozser; Fabbrini (Anya, 58), Vydra (Hoban, 84), Dyer; Ighalo (Abdi, 74). Substitutes not used: Bond, McGugan, Murray, Mensah.

Brentford (4-2-3-1): Button; McCormack, Craig, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga (Proschwitz, 79); Odubajo, Judge, Jota (Pritchard, 69); Gray. Substitutes not used: Bonham, Dean, Tebar, Torl, Betinho.

Referee: G Salisbury (Lancashire).