Saturday, September 12

Nigeria's Ighalo gives Watford first win of the season

Watford secured their first victory since their promotion to the Premier League as their 10 men held on to beat Swansea City 1-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Odion Igahlo scored the decisive goal just before the hour, Troy Deeney picking up on a long ball forward and feeding his team-mate, who fired past Lukasz Fabianski for the hosts' first home goal of the season.

Just five minutes later, Quique Flores's men were hit by a red card to Valon Behrami, who stepped awkwardly on Andre Ayew's leg, but the Hornets were able to quell the Swans' attempts at a fightback as they inflicted a first defeat of the campaign on Garry Monk's side.

Swansea's best chances fell to top scorer Bafetimbi Gomis but he was ultimately unable to find the goal that would have seen him equal the record for scoring five times in the first five games of a Premier League season.

Loan recruit Victor Ibarbo was named on the bench for the hosts, having received his international clearance, but fellow newcomer Obbi Oulare was not deemed fit enough to feature and defender Miguel Britos missed out through suspension.

Swansea, meanwhile, fielded an unchanged side from those who started the win over Manchester United, with in-form winger Jefferson Montero recovering sufficiently from his thigh problem to take a place on the bench.

A low-key opening to the game produced little in terms of goalmouth action, although Watford did threaten on a couple of occasions as Sebastian Prodl fired over and Almen Abdi saw his goalbound effort deflected wide by Neil Taylor.

Hornets goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes then did well to keep out a low drive from Gomis after 21 minutes and Deeney saw his 20-yard strike fizz narrowly wide moments later.

Those missed chances failed to ignite the contest, which remained cagey right through to the break, though Watford did at least get an effort on target for the first time in over two hours of play when Ighalo forced a smart stop from Fabianski just before the break.

Fabianski then made a regulation save from the lively Abdi early in the second half but, just short of the hour, the home side's goalscoring woes finally came to an end and the goal itself could hardly have been simpler, a long ball into the box from Gomes nodded on by Deeney and Ighalo calmly finding the net from close range.

The game took another twist soon afterwards as Behrami's apparent stamp on Andre Ayew earned him a red card, forcing Watford to negotiate the final quarter with only 10 men.

But negotiate it they did and the men in yellow could in fact have won by a more emphatic margin, Fabianski doing well to keep out a well-struck effort from former Tottenham midfielder Etienne Capoue.

The result brought Swansea's unbeaten start to the campaign to an end and they will look to bounce back at home to Everton next week, while Watford will make the long trip to Newcastle in buoyant mood.

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