• Dawson own-goal secures all three points late in the game
• Kaboul and Pereyra both hit the woodwork early on
• Amrabat named Man of the Match after an impressive display
• Watford are four unbeaten, with three clean sheets on the spin
Watford were the superior team throughout against Hull City but ultimately needed a Michael Dawson own-goal to secure a fourth Premier League win of the season.
Chances came and went, with Younes Kaboul and Roberto Pereyra hitting bar and post early on and any number of other chances going begging during a dominant display at Vicarage Road.
But just as it seemed the Hornets might have to settle for a frustrating point, Dawson turned substitute Daryl Janmaat’s cross into his own net and Watford had their winner with 82 minutes gone.
That’s four unbeaten and a third consecutive clean sheet for the Golden Boys, who were up to seventh in the table as the final whistle sounded.
Walter Mazzarri made one change to his starting XI following last weekend’s draw at Swansea. Nordin Amrabat was preferred at right wing-back over Camilo Zuniga, while Janmaat was back on the bench after a shoulder injury.
Clearly intent on a speedy start, the Hornets hit the woodwork twice within the opening four minutes. First Kaboul slammed a header against the bar from Jose Holebas’ corner, then Pereyra curled in an exquisite effort from 25 yards which just clipped the post.
Amrabat was more than justifying his recall early on. One of numerous crosses fell at the feet of Valon Behrami, whose shot from the edge of the area was held low down by Hull keeper David Marshall in the ninth minute.
Hull’s record signing Ryan Mason struck the visitors’ first opening low and goalwards, but it was an easy save for Heurelho Gomes, then at the other end Michael Dawson headed the Watford keeper’s clearance straight to Troy Deeney, who fired wide first-time.
An unmarked Deeney had a great chance to open the scoring with 41 minutes played, but headed uncharacteristically wide at the back-post when Amrabat’s shot bounced into the ground and fell kindly for the Watford skipper.
The Hornets were without doubt the dominant side during an open first-half, but were yet to make a breakthrough when referee Jon Moss signalled half-time.
It was the Tigers who went closest early in the second-half, Uruguay international Abel Hernandez running beyond the Watford back-line to meet a Will Keane flick-on before firing straight at Gomes.
Deeney found himself in a great position with 53 minutes played, collecting Odion Ighalo’s lay-off in the area, but the captain’s effort was well blocked as two Hull defenders threw themselves in front of the shot.
Amrabat was still Watford’s most dangerous outlet, and when the Moroccan planted a 70th-minute cross onto the head of Ighalo, the Nigerian dragged a difficult header narrowly wide of the target.
The Hornets finally scored the goal their dominance deserved with eight minutes to go, but there was confusion over the scorer – not that anyone inside Vicarage Road minded. Substitute Janmaat’s cross appeared to take a deflection off defender Dawson on its way past Marshall and into the net, with both Pereyra and Deeney wheeling away in celebration.
That was that at Vicarage Road, with Watford rarely troubled throughout four minutes of stoppage time, securing three thoroughly deserved points.
HORNETS: Gomes (GK); Kaboul (Janmaat, 71), Prödl (Kabasele, 86), Britos; Amrabat (Zuniga, 84), Pereyra, Behrami, Capoue, Holebas; Deeney (c), Ighalo.
Subs not used: Pantilimon (GK), Watson, Guedioura, Sinclair.
Goal: Dawson OG (82)
Yellow card: Behrami (53)
TIGERS: Marshall (GK), Maguire, Davies, Hernandez, Clucas, Livermore, Keane (Meyler, 78), Dawson (c), Henriksen (Bowen, 89), Mason, Elmohamady.
Subs not used: Jakupovic (GK), Huddlestone, Maloney, Weir, Tymon.
Yellow card: Mason (57), Clucas (58)
Referee: Jon Moss