Troy Deeney's 13th goal of the season helped Watford to a narrow victory over Birmingham at Vicarage Road.

The striker, a boyhood Blues fan, scored the winner in the first half after being set up by Fernando Forestieri.

The Hornets shaded the contest - having a strong penalty appeal turned down in the first half and seeing a Forestieri header cleared off the line.

Birmingham went closest when Paul Caddis hit a post from 30 yards out.

Victory sees Giuseppe Sannino's 13th-placed side move to within nine points of the play-off places with a game in hand on sixth-placed Reading, while Birmingham are 18th.

Deja vu

The reverse fixture at St Andrew's also finished 1-0, with Troy Deeney scoring the winner, on the opening day of the season.

Lee Clark's men came close to taking a surprise lead in the seventh minute when Chris Burke's cross almost crept under the crossbar before, at the other end, Federico Macheda appeared to handle Daniel Tozser's corner in the box.

Caddis rattled an upright with a rasping long-range shot before Watford took the lead - Deeney's deflected shot at the second attempt beating Darren Randolph after good work from Forestieri.

Birmingham narrowly had the better of the second half but struggled to truly test Manuel Almunia.

With the visitors pressing forward, Forestieri's header was cleared off the line from another Tozser corner before the Blues were denied a late leveller when Aaron Martin headed a long free-kick forward narrowly wide.

Watford coach Beppe Sannino:

"I'm not watching the table at the moment. What I am watching is match after match.

"We have to start to think about the next game against Middlesbrough, this game belongs to the past.

"I think in the first half we were the better side on the pitch. We conceded one shot on goal when they hit the bar but I think, I'm not blaming anybody, but I think in the box for us there were a couple of times when maybe we deserved to have something. "

Birmingham boss Lee Clark:

"We deserved something from the game without a shadow of a doubt. Our second-half performance was very, very good.

"First half I had too many regrets. I know we hit the post a couple of times from long-range efforts but we didn't put them under enough pressure.

"We had some great set-play deliveries from the best player on the pitch by a million miles, Emyr Huws, the stand-out performer and we had some terrific situations from his set-plays but we played too much tippy-tappy football at the back and not getting the ball forward and playing in Watford's half."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)

Watford

  • 01 Almunia
  • 19 Faraoni
  • 18 Pudil
  • 06 Ekstrand (Doyley - 18' )
  • 04 Angella
  • 27 Cassetti
  • 28 Tözsér
  • 08 Merkel (Bellerín - 83' Booked )
  • 11 Forestieri Booked
  • 09 Deeney
  • 07 Battocchio (Murray - 63' )

Substitutes

  • 03 Bellerín
  • 12 Doyley
  • 16 Murray
  • 20 Park
  • 30 Bond
  • 31 Hoban
  • 32 O'Nien

Birmingham City

  • 01 Randolph
  • 31 Caddis
  • 04 Robinson
  • 10 Howard (Lovenkrands - 75' )
  • 14 Packwood
  • 06 Martin
  • 07 Burke
  • 36 Huws
  • 09 Macheda
  • 24 Adeyemi (Novak - 75' )
  • 35 Rusnak (Brown - 46' )

Substitutes

  • 11 Lovenkrands
  • 12 Novak
  • 13 Doyle
  • 20 Lee
  • 22 Shinnie
  • 29 Brown
  • 37 Blackett
Ref: Mark Haywood
Att: 13,904

Match Stats

Shots

10 9

On target

3 3

Corners

8 4

Fouls

16 5

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Watford 1, Birmingham City 0.

90:00 +5:27 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Watford 1, Birmingham City 0.

90:00 +4:31

Attempt missed. Will Packwood (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Darren Randolph following a set piece situation.

90:00 +3:48 Booking

Booking Fernando Forestieri (Watford) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

90:00 +3:29

Hand ball by Fernando Forestieri (Watford).

90:00 +2:19

Foul by Paul Robinson (Birmingham City).

90:00 +2:19

Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

84:38

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Marco Cassetti.

83:52 Booking

Booking Héctor Bellerín (Watford) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

83:40

Hand ball by Héctor Bellerín (Watford).

82:45 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Héctor Bellerín replaces Alexander Merkel.

81:08

Lee Novak (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

81:08

Foul by Lloyd Doyley (Watford).

80:04

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

78:43

Delay in match Marco Cassetti (Watford) because of an injury.

77:56

Reece Brown (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

77:56

Foul by Alexander Merkel (Watford).

76:35

Attempt blocked. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Tözsér with a cross.

76:01

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

74:20 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Birmingham City. Lee Novak replaces Tom Adeyemi.

74:11 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Birmingham City. Peter Løvenkrands replaces Brian Howard.

73:45

Attempt missed. Marco Davide Faraoni (Watford) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Daniel Tözsér with a cross following a set piece situation.

73:16

Foul by Brian Howard (Birmingham City).

73:16

Lloyd Doyley (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

72:43

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

71:53

Foul by Aaron Martin (Birmingham City).

71:53

Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

71:07

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

70:13

Delay in match Marco Cassetti (Watford) because of an injury.

68:58

Attempt saved. Chris Burke (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Paul Caddis.

65:23

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

64:51

Delay in match Fernando Forestieri (Watford) because of an injury.

64:18

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:18

Foul by Fernando Forestieri (Watford).

63:05

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

62:02 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Sean Murray replaces Cristian Battocchio.

61:38

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

61:38

Foul by Fernando Forestieri (Watford).

58:19

Offside, Watford. Cristian Battocchio tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.

55:50

Offside, Birmingham City. Paul Caddis tries a through ball, but Federico Macheda is caught offside.

54:42

Attempt saved. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lloyd Doyley.

54:22

Attempt blocked. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

53:56

Attempt saved. Brian Howard (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Chris Burke.

53:19

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

52:26

Attempt saved. Federico Macheda (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Paul Caddis.

51:09

Offside, Birmingham City. Reece Brown tries a through ball, but Federico Macheda is caught offside.

50:54

Attempt blocked. Reece Brown (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

50:37

Federico Macheda (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

50:37

Foul by Marco Cassetti (Watford).

49:54

Attempt missed. Alexander Merkel (Watford) right footed shot from long range on the left is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Fernando Forestieri.

48:44

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Gabriele Angella.

48:15

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Gabriele Angella.

47:43

Emyr Huws (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

47:43

Foul by Marco Cassetti (Watford).

45:12 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Birmingham City. Reece Brown replaces Albert Rusnák.

45:00

Second Half begins Watford 1, Birmingham City 0.

45:00 +2:28 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Watford 1, Birmingham City 0.

45:00 +1:13

Attempt missed. Chris Burke (Birmingham City) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Paul Robinson.

45:00 +0:21

Attempt missed. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Troy Deeney.

41:02

Emyr Huws (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

41:02

Foul by Alexander Merkel (Watford).

37:23

Foul by Albert Rusnák (Birmingham City).

37:23

Marco Davide Faraoni (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:36

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

34:28

Foul by Federico Macheda (Birmingham City).

34:28

Marco Cassetti (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

32:18 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Watford 1, Birmingham City 0. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Fernando Forestieri.

30:55

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

30:45

Delay in match Fernando Forestieri (Watford) because of an injury.

30:38

Delay in match Paul Robinson (Birmingham City) because of an injury.

28:38

Offside, Birmingham City. Paul Caddis tries a through ball, but Federico Macheda is caught offside.

27:31

Federico Macheda (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

27:31

Foul by Marco Cassetti (Watford).

26:27

Offside, Watford. Daniel Pudil tries a through ball, but Fernando Forestieri is caught offside.

24:23

Attempt missed. Gabriele Angella (Watford) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Daniel Tözsér with a cross following a corner.

23:57

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

23:35

Attempt blocked. Chris Burke (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

22:55

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

22:55

Foul by Alexander Merkel (Watford).

22:30

Brian Howard (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

22:30

Foul by Daniel Tözsér (Watford).

22:07

Emyr Huws (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

22:07

Foul by Alexander Merkel (Watford).

18:44

Tom Adeyemi (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

18:44

Foul by Gabriele Angella (Watford).

17:56 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Lloyd Doyley replaces Joel Ekstrand because of an injury.

16:24

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

15:28

Albert Rusnák (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

15:28

Foul by Cristian Battocchio (Watford).

14:17

Chris Burke (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

14:17

Foul by Joel Ekstrand (Watford).

13:37

Offside, Watford. Fernando Forestieri tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.

11:36

Attempt blocked. Cristian Battocchio (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

11:12

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) hits the bar with a left footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Emyr Huws.

10:02

Attempt missed. Alexander Merkel (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Troy Deeney.

8:31

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

7:08

Attempt missed. Aaron Martin (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Will Packwood with a headed pass following a corner.

6:49

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Manuel Almunia.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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