Watford FC narrowly beat Wayne Rooney’s Derby County last night thanks to goals from Joao Pedro and Will Hughes, which puts them level on points with second-placed Brentford.
An own goal from William Troost-Ekong late in the second half meant a tense ending at Vicarage Road, but Xisco Munoz’s men held on to secure their third victory in a row.
Munoz named just one change to the side that beat Preston North End at Deepdale on Tuesday night, bringing in Troost-Ekong for Francisco Sierralta.
After a even opening 15 minutes to the game, a slice of luck allowed the Hornets to take the lead in the 19th minute after Kiko Femenia was set free down the right hand side of the pitch. His cross looked to have been dealt with by the Preston defence, but the clearance ricocheted off Pedro and beyond the goalkeeper.
Just two minutes later, Watford were in dreamland after an initially cleared corner fell to the path of Nathaniel Chalobah on the edge of the penalty area, who then set up Hughes to strike the ball fiercely into the bottom left corner.
Watford looked relatively comfortable from that point, with both Pedro and Ismaila Sarr having chances for the third goal to kill off the game, but neither could take advantage.
A nervous final 10 minutes was set up when a dangerous cross into the Watford penalty area was too difficult for Troost-Ekong to deal with, and he inadvertently sliced the ball into his own net to give Derby some hope.
Derby were pressing for the equaliser and it almost came on the 85th minute when Daniel Bachmann was forced into a wonderful save directly from a Byrne corner.
Despite the tense ending, the Hornets managed to hold on for the all-important three points, which sees them move level on points with Brentford who are in the automatic promotion spots. Brentford face Coventry City away from home at midday on Saturday.
The games keep coming thick and fast the Hornets as they look to continue their recently improved form with a trip to Ewood Park to face Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday evening.
Picture credit Watford FC