• Second-half Miguel Britos header secures three points for the Hornets
• Golden Boys dominate large portions of the game
• Kaboul hobbles off injured in the first-half
• Watford climb to 10th position in the Premier League
The Hornets secured all three points with a deserved victory over Sunderland on Saturday afternoon.
A second-half headed effort from Miguel Britos, his first for the club, ensured Walter Mazzarri’s side climbed to 10th position in the Premier League, on a day that saw some unexpected results towards the bottom of the table.
There were four changes from the Palace defeat - Jose Holebas, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Nordin Amrabat and Stefano Okaka all came into the side for Sebastian Prödl, Valon Behrami, Daryl Janmaat and Troy Deeney.
Just past the opening minute the Hornets went close as Okaka’s header at the far-post from Amrabat’s brilliant cross was deflected over.
Heurelho Gomes was forced to produce a finger-tip save as Adnan Januzaj’s cross evaded everyone inside the box and nearly drifted in.
Shortly after Jordan Pickford denied Doucouré with an equally impressive save, as the midfielder spun his man and hit a low shot towards the bottom left corner.
Some fluid build-up play saw Étienne Capoue collect a pass to the left of goal. The French-man shifted the ball onto his stronger right foot and arrowed a powerful drive just wide.
The Hornets were forced into their first change of the match as Younès Kaboul over-stretched in a challenge and had to come off.
Cathcart took up position in the middle of the defence, with Janmaat slotting in on the right.
Sunderland were inches away from taking the lead as Januzaj’s shot took a deflection and just bounced wide.
The Hornets broke quickly from the corner with Amrabat switching the ball to M’Baye Niang. He fired an effort goalwards but Pickford was equal to it as he tipped wide.
Mazzarri made his second change of the afternoon on 54 minutes, showing intent as Isaac Success came on in place of Amrabat.
The wide-man made an instant impact as he saw a volley just deflect wide for a corner.
From the resulting set-piece, the Hornets took the lead.
Okaka saw a header deflect onto the bar, and fall to Cathcart. The defender guided the ball back to the far post allowing Britos to nod down and into the back of the net.
It was so nearly two soon after. Okaka slipped in Success and he raced through at goal. Pickford did well to deny him though, and Doucouré’s shot on the rebound was nudged wide.
Holebas saw a finely struck left-footed shot from range deflect just over the bar, before Janmaat too had a shot go wide for a corner.
Sunderland were looking lively late-on as substitutes Wahbi Khazri and Didier N’Dong made a difference. Forward Fabio Borini saw a curling effort well saved by Gomes as the half neared an end.
The final substitution for the Hornets saw Niang come off in place of Camilo Zúñiga.
A nervy four added minutes were negotiated with relative ease to ensure the Hornets claimed a much needed three points, ahead of the visit of West Brom on Tuesday evening.
HORNETS: Gomes (GK); Cathcart, Kaboul (Janmaat, 41), Britos, Holebas; Doucouré, Cleverley, Capoue; Amrabat (Success, 54), Niang (Zúñiga, 87); Okaka.
Subs: Pantilimon (GK), Prödl, Mariappa, Deeney, Success.
Goals: Britos (59)
Yellow Cards: Capoue (90)
BLACK CATS: Pickford (GK); Kone, O'Shea (C), Denayer; Jones, Gibson (N’Dong, 61), Rodwell, Oviedo; Borini, Januzaj (Khazri, 70); Defoe.
Subs: Manone (GK), Djilobodji, Cattermole, Larsson, Manquillo.
Yellow Cards: Jones (72), Khazri (77), Koné (79)
Referee: Lee Probert