Watford FC missed a golden opportunity to all but secure safety in the Premier League after they were comfortably beaten 3-1 by fellow strugglers West Ham United.
Three first half goals proved too much for the Hornets to deal with, despite a spark of a comeback thanks to a second half goal from Troy Deeney, but Watford left the London Stadium with nothing.
Watford were looking to get their third victory in a row after beating Norwich City and Newcastle United previously, and Nigel Pearson only made one change, replacing the injured Etienne Capoue with Tom Cleverley.
Red hot in-form striker Michail Antonio, who scored four goals in the Hammers’ last outing, gave David Moyes’s side a dream start after Watford couldn’t clear their lines on the sixth minute, allowing Pablo Fornals to slip a ball through to Antonio, who made no mistake with his finish. 1-0
It went from bad to worse just four minutes later, this time some excellent play from Jarrod Bowen whose inch perfect cross found the head of Tomas Soucek, leaving Ben Foster flat footed with no chance of keeping it out. 2-0
England international Declan Rice put the Hammers in dreamland on the 36th minute with a stunning effort from around 25-yards out. 3-0
Craig Dawson almost got one back just before the half time whistle, when Kiko Femenia’s cross found his head and his powerful effort just went over the bar.
There was a lifeline for Watford on the 49th minute after some stunning individual work from Abdoulaye Doucoure, he drove through the Hammers defence and hit the post, only for the rebound to find Deeney who made no mistake with his finish. 3-1
Despite looking brighter for the first 15 minutes or so of the second half, Watford never really looked like troubling the home side too much, despite Ismaila Sarr showing glimpses of a threat with his pace.
West Ham almost put the game beyond any doubt in the last 15 minutes, when Sebastian Haller’s first touch of the game was a half-volley which Foster has to expertly tip wide of the post.
The result leaves Watford above the relegation area by three points, but with fixtures to come against Manchester City and Arsenal, the Hornets are by no means out of the dark yet.
Watford welcome the former Premier League champions, Manchester City, to Vicarage Road on Tuesday (July 21), whilst Aston Villa welcome Arsenal straight after that. Bournemouth host Southampton on Sunday (July 19).
Photo courtesy of Watford FC.