Watford’s first game of the new year ended in defeat in South Wales against Swansea City, despite the Hornets taking the lead in the first half through a Tom Cleverley strike.
The defeat was Xisco Muñoz’s second game in charge, as they failed to build on the impressive victory over league leaders Norwich City on Boxing Day, with Jamal Lowe bagging a brace for the Swans.
Muñoz named one change for the game, bringing in Nathaniel Chalobah for the recently departed Etienne Capoue, who joined Villarreal this week.
The Hornets looked bright in the early stages of the game and the first real chance fell to Andre Gray, after some impressive work from
Ben Wilmot, who was facing his former club, to win the ball back, but the effort was easily saved by the Swansea goalkeeper.
Andre Ayew went close for the Swans just moments later after Manning’s cross found him in the box, but the shot went just over the bar.
Tom Cleverley opened the scoring on the 20th minute mark after the ball fell to him just outside the box, allowing the former England international to arrow an effort into the far corner to give the Hornets the lead.
Swansea were pressing hard for an equaliser just before half time, with Ayew going close again, this time Watford needing a save from Foster to keep him out.
However, the equaliser did come before half time despite the best efforts of Foster, after Jamal Lowe curled a fantastic shot into the corner from the edge of the area.
Swansea though they had the lead on the 55th minute through Bidwell after he poked the ball into the net, but play was brought back for an earlier offside on Andre Ayew.
On the 67th minute, the hosts did manage to get the breakthrough after Korey Smith’s cross found Lowe in the box and he made no mistake with his header.
Troy Deeney went the closest to equalising for Watford with just over 10 minutes to go, after Cleverley’s corner found him. He turned and shot, but it deflected wide.
The result leaves the Hornets in sixth place and just about remain in the play-off positions, but do have a game in hand over some of their rivals.
Next up for Muñoz’s side is a trip to Old Trafford next Saturday against Manchester United in the FA Cup third round.
Picture credit: Watford FC