(Reuters) - Watford gave their Premier League survival hopes a shot in the arm with a 3-0 home win over Aston Villa on Saturday, thanks to Troy Deeney’s brace and despite playing with 10 men for more than half an hour.
Watford were leading 1-0 when Adrian Mariappa was shown a second yellow card in the 57th minute for upending Villa’s Henri Lansbury, although replays suggested he did not make contact in an attempt to win the ball.
Deeney had opened the scoring after Tom Heaton made a brilliant save to parry Abdoulaye Doucoure’s shot, with the Villa goalkeeper unable to prevent the Watford skipper from firing home the rebound.
The home side earned a penalty 10 minutes after Mariappa’s dismissal when Deeney was barged off the ball. He made no mistake from the spot, striking the ball straight down the middle to score his third goal in three games.
Watford then made it 3-0 in the 71st minute when they pounced on a loose ball from Villa’s Jack Grealish to counter attack in numbers, with Etienne Capoue delivering an inch-perfect cross from the left for Ismaila Sarr to bury home.
Watford, 19th, have now won seven points in their last three games under new boss Nigel Pearson to move within three points of the safety zone while Villa remain in 18th.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Chadband