Watford returned to winning ways under Slaven Bilic as they beat Norwich 2-1 in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday night.
Imran Louza responded to an early penalty miss by giving the Hornets the lead at Vicarage Road, while Keinan Davis soon doubled their lead.
Josh Sargent then pulled one back for Norwich, but they could not get level as they missed the chance to go top of the table. They drop to third after Burnley won earlier in the day to move above them and Sheffield United to the summit.
For Bilic it was a much-needed win after back-to-back defeats, as Watford moved to 10th in the table.
Watford come out on top at Vicarage Road
Louza had the opportunity to give Watford the lead after 13 minutes when Ismaila Sarr was brought down in the box by Liam Gibbs, but Angus Gunn made a brilliant save low to his left to deny him from the penalty spot.
Gunn had no chance to keep him out on 18 minutes, however, as Louza struck on the volley after brilliant work from Sarr, driving the ball into the ground and across the goalkeeper to give Watford the lead.
Sarr was the instigator for Watford’s second, too. On 31 minutes his run and ball eventually found its way to Davis a few yards out, who took a touch and found the back of the net.
On the stroke of half-time Norwich found their way back into the game, as Kieran Dowell drove forward and found Sargent on the edge of the box, and he steered a low shot just inside Daniel Bachmann’s near post.
Norwich pushed for an equaliser in the second half and came extremely close to finding it on 55 minutes as the ball fell to Grant Hanley at a corner, but he could only rattle the crossbar from close range.
What the managers said…
Watford’s Slaven Bilic: “I would like to congratulate the lads for a great win against a team like us who played in the Premier League and were top of the table with Sheffield United. We absolutely deserved it. The first half was amazing, almost the only bad thing about it was the result. It could have been 3-0 or 4-0.
“Second half I thought the guys continued like that on the front foot and tried to pass the ball forward. We knew we’d suffer second half because they have a good team who can hurt you, but apart from that if we raise the fitness a bit more then we should be able to continue like we did in the first half, to prolong and stretch it through the whole game. Then we can have a really good team.”
Norwich’s Dean Smith: “I thought it was pretty even up until the penalty. They got a bit of fortune in that there was a clip of legs, but it was just people crossing over each other. They got a lift from that and the bit between their teeth, and after that they got stronger from there and we lost that fight. The second goal is a perfect example of that.
“Sargent gave us a lifeline just before half-time, and we got a reaction in the second half. But then we didn’t sustain the first 20 minutes.”
Man of the Match: Ismaila Sarr
Too good for the Championship. He didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he earned a penalty, got a brilliant assist and his work created Watford’s second. With him in the side the Hornets always have a chance.
Norwich are back in action on Tuesday night as they host Luton in a 7.45pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports Football Red Button and the Sky Sports app. Watford head to Millwall on Wednesday night in an 8pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports Football.
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