Watford 2 Brentford 1
Matej Vydra’s excellent strike condemned unlucky Brentford to defeat at Vicarage Road.
Trailing to Odion Ighalo’s first-half opener, the Bees hit back 12 minutes after the break when a fine move culminated in Jonathan Douglas latching on to Alan Judge’s lovely pass and firing home.
But Vydra’s 70th-minute half-volley from near the edge of the penalty area won it for Watford, who ended the match with 10 men after Daniel Pudil was sent off for a second bookable offence following a cynical foul on Andre Gray.
Both the Hornets’ goals came against the run of play, although they dominated much of an opening half an hour.
Ighalo headed Lloyd Dyer’s delivery against the bar and Bees full-back Jake Bidwell needed to produce a fine last-ditch challenge to thwart Diego Fabbrini.
But Brentford then began to assert themselves and keeper Heurelho Gomes was called into action, saving from Douglas at the far post following Judge’s cross.
Jota created a chance for himself with some lovely skill to beat two men before his effort was pushed away by Gomes.
And Judge, who was outstanding in midfield, volleyed narrowly wide four minutes before half-time.
But just as Brentford seemed to be in control, they found themselves behind.
Ighalo was adjudged to have been fouled by James Tarkowski and saw his resulting penalty saved by David Button, but was able to slot home from the rebound.
Undeterred, the visitors continued to press after the restart and got their reward when Douglas netted – much to the delight of the 2,000 away fans.
However, Watford again scored out of nothing while Brentford were well on top.
Moses Odubajo missed their best chance of a second equaliser, shooting wastefully wide following yet more good work from Judge.
And in injury time, Gomes produced a superb save to keep out Judge’s header.
Brentford: Button; McCormack, Tarkowski, Craig, Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga (Proschwitz 79); Odubajo, Judge, Jota (Pritchard 69); Gray.
Subs not used: Bonham, Dean, Tebar, Toral, Betinho.