Troy Deeney's first-half goal helped Watford beat Hull to move to within one point of an automatic promotion place.

The Hornets striker curled the ball into the top corner of the net four minutes before half-time.

Hull goalkeeper David Stockdale denied Deeney a second goal with a fine save after the break.

The result sees Watford remain third in the table, one place and a point behind Hull, who trail Championship leaders Cardiff by seven points.

Despite earning only five points from a possible 15 in March, Gianfranco Zola's Watford side travelled north knowing that a win would put their hosts under increased pressure with games starting to run out.

Great on the road

  • Watford's win means they have now collected 36 points away from Vicarage Road this season, the best away record in the division

Hull's inconsistent form, which saw them win at Huddersfield having lost at home to Nottingham Forest, seemed to return in a lacklustre first half in which they were second best.

Cristian Battocchio lashed the ball over the bar and Matej Vydra was thwarted by Abdoulaye Faye in Watford's best chances before they took the lead in fine style.

Almen Abdi and Vydra were involved in the build-up before Deeney unleashed a curling effort with his right foot from the corner of the area that gave Stockdale no chance.

Hull's best chance of the half came in stoppage time, but George Boyd wasted the opportunity, shooting against Watford keeper Jonathan Bond's feet from eight yards out.

Bond was the busier of the two keepers early in the second half, making saves to deny Jay Simpson, Robert Koren and Robbie Brady.

Hull's resurgence prompted Watford back into action, and Deeney came close to his second goal of the night - and 17th of the season - when his fierce shot was parried away by Stockdale to his left.

Watford were rarely troubled after that and looked comfortable as they secured their 11th away win of the season.

If they beat Cardiff at Vicarage Road next Saturday and Hull fail to beat Middlesbrough at home, Watford will move into second place.

Hull manager Steve Bruce:

"In the first half I think they edged it, in the second half I thought we dominated it but we just didn't get that break. For me, the best player was their goalkeeper - in the second half in particular.

"The one bit of real quality was their goal but I thought a fair result was a draw. I thought the two teams were very evenly matched.

"If we're going to do it (automatic promotion), we're going to do it the hard way like you'd expect the Championship to be, even with six games to go I'd still expect there to be twists and turns in it."

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola:

"This was a six-pointer, they would have gone seven points clear with six games to go and you can imagine with the good team that they are, and with a good manager like Steve (Bruce) is, it would have been such a difficult thing to catch up with them.

"This team never lets me down. Every time there's a game which is very important they always perform. That shows you the character and temperament of this group."

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (6)

Hull City

  • 34 Stockdale
  • 05 Chester
  • 06 Hobbs (Proschwitz - 77' )
  • 28 Bruce (Quinn - 68' )
  • 10 Koren
  • 23 Faye
  • 27 Elmohamady
  • 11 Simpson
  • 22 Gedo (Evans - 69' )
  • 30 Brady
  • 37 Boyd

Substitutes

  • 01 Jakupovic
  • 02 Rosenior
  • 17 Fathi
  • 08 Evans
  • 14 Cairney
  • 29 Quinn
  • 33 Proschwitz

Watford

  • 30 Bond
  • 06 Hall (Doyley - 26' )
  • 17 Briggs (Pudil - 55' )
  • 27 Cassetti
  • 39 Chalobah
  • 40 Ekstrand Booked
  • 21 Anya
  • 22 Abdi
  • 38 Battocchio
  • 09 Deeney
  • 20 Vydra (Buaben - 83' )

Substitutes

  • 34 Bonham
  • 12 Doyley
  • 18 Pudil
  • 07 Yeates
  • 19 Buaben
  • 36 Geijo
  • 41 Forestieri
Ref: Robert Madley
Att: 20,043

Match Stats

Shots

15 6

On target

10 3

Corners

8 1

Fouls

11 11

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +5:05 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +4:14

Troy Deeney challenges Robbie Brady unfairly and gives away a free kick. David Stockdale takes the direct free kick.

90:00 +3:27

Corry Evans produces a cross, Joel Ekstrand makes a clearance.

90:00 +2:18 Booking

Booking Joel Ekstrand booked for time wasting.

90:00 +1:27

Marco Cassetti concedes a free kick for a foul on George Boyd. Robbie Brady takes the direct free kick.

90:00 +0:20

Free kick awarded for a foul by James Chester on Cristian Battocchio. Nathaniel Chalobah restarts play with the free kick.

89:38

Ahmed Elmohamady sends in a cross, save made by Jonathan Bond.

88:31

The ball is swung over by Ahmed Elmohamady, Unfair challenge on Joel Ekstrand by Nick Proschwitz results in a free kick. Jonathan Bond takes the direct free kick.

87:30

Centre by Stephen Quinn, save by Jonathan Bond.

87:07

The ball is swung over by Ikechi Anya, save made by David Stockdale.

85:59

Ahmed Elmohamady delivers the ball, Jay Simpson takes a shot. Save by Jonathan Bond.

84:23

Corry Evans has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses right.

82:13

Direct free kick taken by Robbie Brady.

82:13 Substitution

Substitution Prince Buaben joins the action as a substitute, replacing Matej Vydra.

82:13

Lloyd Doyley challenges Jay Simpson unfairly and gives away a free kick.

81:08

Ahmed Elmohamady crosses the ball, Jay Simpson takes a shot. Save made by Jonathan Bond.

80:32

The ball is swung over by Stephen Quinn, Marco Cassetti makes a clearance. Corry Evans takes a shot. Joel Ekstrand gets a block in.

76:55

Robbie Brady takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Nathaniel Chalobah.

76:55 Substitution

Substitution Jack Hobbs leaves the field to be replaced by Nick Proschwitz.

74:40

Corner taken by Robbie Brady from the right by-line, Joel Ekstrand manages to make a clearance.

74:30

The ball is delivered by Robbie Brady, clearance made by Daniel Pudil.

73:58

Unfair challenge on Stephen Quinn by Almen Abdi results in a free kick. James Chester takes the direct free kick.

72:38

The referee gives a free kick against Robert Koren for handball. Free kick taken by Joel Ekstrand.

70:58

The ball is crossed by Ahmed Elmohamady, clearance by Marco Cassetti. Inswinging corner taken by Robbie Brady from the right by-line played to the near post, Cristian Battocchio manages to make a clearance.

69:01

Unfair challenge on George Boyd by Marco Cassetti results in a free kick. Robbie Brady fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, save by Jonathan Bond.

68:13 Substitution

Substitution Corry Evans is brought on as a substitute for Mohamed Gedo.

67:50 Substitution

Substitution Stephen Quinn on for Alex Bruce.

67:38

Centre by Cristian Battocchio.

66:47

Centre by Robbie Brady, Jonathan Bond makes a save.

66:03

Troy Deeney takes a shot. Save by David Stockdale.

65:28

Ahmed Elmohamady sends in a cross, Robert Koren produces a mishit right-footed shot from 20 yards. Save by Jonathan Bond.

64:16

Shot from just outside the box by Matej Vydra goes over the bar.

63:08

Cristian Battocchio fouled by George Boyd, the ref awards a free kick. Nathaniel Chalobah takes the free kick.

59:10

Ahmed Elmohamady gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Cristian Battocchio. Nathaniel Chalobah takes the direct free kick.

57:04

George Boyd challenges Nathaniel Chalobah unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jonathan Bond restarts play with the free kick.

54:43

Free kick taken by Joel Ekstrand.

54:43 Substitution

Substitution Matthew Briggs leaves the field to be replaced by Daniel Pudil.

54:43

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Matthew Briggs by George Boyd.

53:28

Robert Koren takes a shot. Save by Jonathan Bond.

52:52

Unfair challenge on Jay Simpson by Joel Ekstrand results in a free kick. Jay Simpson takes the direct free kick. Ahmed Elmohamady delivers the ball, Matthew Briggs makes a clearance.

51:43

The ball is delivered by Ahmed Elmohamady, Effort from 18 yards by Robbie Brady. Save made by Jonathan Bond.

49:27

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Robbie Brady, Headed effort from inside the area by Jack Hobbs misses to the left of the goal.

49:08

Jay Simpson takes a shot. Jonathan Bond makes a save.

46:52

Ahmed Elmohamady crosses the ball, Robert Koren produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.

45:32

The referee blows for offside. Jonathan Bond restarts play with the free kick.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:00 +3:45 Half time

Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.

45:00 +2:38

A cross is delivered by Ikechi Anya, Alex Bruce makes a clearance. Alex Bruce concedes a free kick for a foul on Troy Deeney. Free kick crossed right-footed by Almen Abdi from right wing, clearance by James Chester.

45:00 +0:40

The ball is crossed by Ahmed Elmohamady. Shot by George Boyd. Jonathan Bond makes a save. Short corner worked by Robert Koren. The ball is sent over by Robert Koren, Cristian Battocchio gets a block in. Corner taken right-footed by Robert Koren to the near post, Foul by George Boyd on Lloyd Doyley, free kick awarded. Jonathan Bond takes the free kick.

44:59

Robbie Brady fouled by Almen Abdi, the ref awards a free kick. Robbie Brady takes the free kick.

43:03

Foul by Robbie Brady on Ikechi Anya, free kick awarded. Nathaniel Chalobah takes the direct free kick.

42:47

Joel Ekstrand gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jay Simpson. Direct free kick taken by Alex Bruce.

40:13

The assist for the goal came from Almen Abdi.

40:13 Goal scored

Goal! - Troy Deeney - Hull City 0 - 1 Watford A goal is scored by Troy Deeney from just outside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Hull 0-1 Watford.

38:45

The ball is swung over by Nathaniel Chalobah, clearance by Abdoulaye Faye.

38:00

The ball is swung over by Lloyd Doyley, Jack Hobbs manages to make a clearance. The ball is sent over by Ikechi Anya, clearance made by Jack Hobbs.

37:00

The ball is delivered by Lloyd Doyley, David Stockdale makes a save.

36:29

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Troy Deeney by Abdoulaye Faye. Direct free kick taken by Cristian Battocchio.

33:49

Joel Ekstrand concedes a free kick for a foul on Jay Simpson. James Chester takes the direct free kick.

28:50

Robbie Brady produces a cross, blocked by Ikechi Anya. Corner taken by Robert Koren, Jack Hobbs takes a shot. Jonathan Bond makes a save.

27:52

The ball is swung over by Matthew Briggs.

26:36

Robbie Brady produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.

23:39 Substitution

Substitution Lloyd Doyley is brought on as a substitute for Fitz Hall.

23:39

Foul by Troy Deeney on George Boyd, free kick awarded. George Boyd takes the direct free kick.

23:00

Matej Vydra takes a shot. Abdoulaye Faye gets a block in.

21:19

Almen Abdi takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Ahmed Elmohamady.

20:32

The ball is delivered by Ahmed Elmohamady, clearance by Fitz Hall.

19:59

Almen Abdi concedes a free kick for a foul on George Boyd. Free kick taken by George Boyd.

18:55

The ball is sent over by Almen Abdi, clearance by James Chester.

14:53

Cristian Battocchio produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.

12:27

Effort from outside the penalty box by Ikechi Anya goes wide right of the target.

11:25

Foul by Alex Bruce on Cristian Battocchio, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Almen Abdi, Abdoulaye Faye makes a clearance.

11:10

The ball is swung over by Ikechi Anya, clearance made by James Chester.

9:05

George Boyd sends in a cross, Jonathan Bond makes a save.

7:44

Robbie Brady delivers the ball, Almen Abdi gets a block in. Robert Koren takes the inswinging corner, Troy Deeney makes a clearance.

5:05

The ball is crossed by Alex Bruce, save by Jonathan Bond.

3:55

Alex Bruce crosses the ball, clearance made by Fitz Hall.

3:14

Effort on goal by Alex Bruce from long range goes harmlessly over the bar.

1:06

Ahmed Elmohamady crosses the ball, Fitz Hall makes a clearance.

0:00

The game begins.

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