Watford 2 (Chalobah 35, Deeney 68)
Wolves 1 (Sako 54)
Wolves found themselves reduced to ten men in the opening half for the second game in succession after Christophe Berra was red carded at Watford to leaving the Molineux men one short with over an hour to play.
Despite a fine rear-guard effort, Wanderers slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Vicarage Road to make it seven games without a win.
There were three changes to the team that started against Brighton with Tongo Doumbia coming in for the suspended Karl Henry, Richard Stearman for Kevin Foley at the back and Björn Sigurdarson for Sylvan Ebanks-Blake in attack.
Watford kicked-off attacking the end that housed 1,800 Wolves supporters and in only the second minute Bakary Sako drilled in a low cross that home keeper Manuel Almunia dived to cut out.
Wolves dominated the possession in the opening minutes but a Watford break led to a close call after Mark Yeates’ shot was blocked. This resulted in a scramble in the visitors area before the ball was played back to Daniel Padil who shot high and wide.
On 20 minutes Marco Cassetti’s challenge on Sako was penalised near the left corner of the home area but Sako’s free-kick was headed away. Penalty appeals following Roger Johnson’s tackle on Jonathan Hogg were ignored before Wanderers were reduced to ten men in the 24th minute.
Troy Deeney and Berra were vying for possession as they headed towards Carl Ikeme’s goal. The striker got his shot away but when it was saved by the keeper the referee pulled play back and awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box before producing the red card and waving it at the disbelieving Berra.
Yeates’ free-kick was saved by Ikeme before Ståle Solbakken replaced Jermaine Pennant with central defender Danny Batth.
There was then a brief hold up when sprinklers on the far side of the ground suddenly burst into life but they were too far away to cool the incensed Wolves supporters behind the goal.
A kind bounce of the ball presented Deeney with a chance that he hooked wide but the striker gave Watford the lead in the 35th minute.
A Sako corner was cleared upfield and Fernando Forestieri raced down the left before squaring the ball to Nathaniel Chalobah whose first effort was superbly blocked by Ikeme. The keeper couldn’t hold on to the ball though, and Chalobah tapped it over the line.
Chalobah almost did it again shortly before the break with a 20-yard effort that drifted just wide and Pudil wasn’t far away with an angled drive.
Half-Time: Watford 1 Wolves 0
Ikeme almost got caught out by a Yeates cross that slipped from his grasp under the bar, but the keeper quickly clung on to the ball. Then Jonathan Hogg had a clear chance but his shot on the turn was wide.
Hogg’s aerial challenge on Batth left the Wolves man in need of treatment whilst the Watford man was punished with a yellow card.
A mistake by Almunia saw Wolves drawing level in the 54th minute. Sako, from 15-yards inside the Watford half, hoisted a free-kick into the home area and the Spanish keeper appeared to mis-judge the flight of the ball and he could only help it into the net.
Pudil was hurt as he attempted to restore the Hornets lead before, on the hour mark, Sako let fly from 30-yards with an effort that took a slight deflection and flew inches wide.
Watford went back in front after 68 minutes when Deeney headed home a cross from Yeates.
Another controversial decision saw Dave Edwards going into the book for diving after a challenge deep in the home area by Joel Ekstrand shortly after David Davis had replaced Doumbia.
Davis was soon involved with a shot that drew a flying save from Almunia and Chalobah was just wide with a low shot went Watford went upfield seconds later.
Davis almost did the trick when he connected with a low cross from Sako but once again he was denied by Almunia.
The five minutes of stoppage time was played out almost exclusively in the home half of the field but unlike the game against Brighton, there was to be no last minute reprieve for Solbakken’s men.
Watford: Almunia (capt), Yeates (Smith 70), Hogg, Deeney, Doyley (Thompson 72), Pudil, Cassetti (Vydra 45), Hoban, Chalobah, Ekstrand, Forestieri.
Unused subs: Bond, Beleck, Murray, Anya.
Bookings: Hogg (52 – foul), Pudil (90 – foul).
Wolves: Ikeme, Stearman, Ward (capt), Edwards, Johnson, Berra, Pennant (Batth 27), Doumbia (Davis 75), Sigurdarson, Doyle (Ebanks-Blake 86), Sako.
Unused subs: De Vries, Nouble, Forde, Foley.
Booking: Edwards (78 – simulation).
Sending-off: Berra (24 – professional foul).
Referee: G. Scott.
Attendance: 13,588 (1,825 away supporters).