Watford earned only their second win in 16 Championship games with victory over play-off hopefuls Brighton.

The home side went ahead courtesy of Ikechi Anya's angled strike.

Brighton almost equalised when Kazenga LuaLua's shot hit the bar and David Lopez's follow-up effort went into the side-netting.

But Fernando Forestieri sealed a rare Hornets win when he capitalised on Gordon Greer's poor backpass, rounded keeper Tomasz Kuszczak and slotted in.

Watford's poor run

This was only Watford's second win in the Championship since 19 October. The other was a 4-0 Boxing Day victory over Millwall in manager Giuseppe Sannino's first home game in charge

Defeat left Brighton seven points off a play-off spot in ninth, and they could have little complaint.

Watford took the lead with their first attempt of note in the 13th minute.

Alexander Merkel fed Anya on the left of the penalty area and, after teasing the Seagulls defence, the Scotland international hit a low shot across Kuszczak and into the far corner of the net.

The Seagulls continued to offer very little going forward until LuaLua's intervention almost brought them level.

The substitute received the ball on the left of the penalty area and unleashed a left-footed shot that flew past helpless Hornets goalkeeper Manuel Almunia and rebounded off the underside of the crossbar.

The home side doubled their advantage in the 60th minute.

Good pressing by Merkel forced Greer into an under-hit backpass and Forestieri latched on to the loose ball to score.

The Seagulls thought they had pulled a goal back when Leonardo Ulloa headed a free-kick from the right past Almunia, but it was disallowed for offside.

Watford manager Beppe Sannino said:

"I'm happy for my team because we came from three games where we didn't get what we deserved.

"I knew that Brighton before this game were the best team in terms of goals conceded away from home and if we score two goals it's because the pressing was very good.

"But I was also impressed by the desire of my lads and the effort that we were able to put into the game - we worked our socks off."

Brighton assistant boss Nathan Jones said:

"The first goal did come slightly against the run of play but they took that, it kind of knocked the wind out of us a little bit and we huffed and puffed without really taking the game to them.

"Then obviously the second goal came at a bad time as well and to rub salt into the wounds with the disallowed goal, that might have come at a time when we might have kicked on and got something out of the game.

"All round, we're quite frustrated really."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Watford

  • 01 Almunia
  • 27 Cassetti
  • 21 Anya
  • 06 Ekstrand Booked
  • 17 Hall
  • 04 Angella
  • 08 Merkel (Murray - 76' )
  • 28 Tözsér Booked
  • 11 Forestieri (Park - 91' )
  • 09 Deeney
  • 07 Battocchio (Diakité - 88' )

Substitutes

  • 03 Bellerín
  • 12 Doyley
  • 16 Murray
  • 19 Faraoni
  • 20 Park
  • 23 Diakité
  • 30 Bond

Brighton & Hove Albion

  • 29 Kuszczak
  • 02 Bruno
  • 17 Ward
  • 04 Andrews
  • 03 Greer Booked
  • 20 Upson
  • 06 Stephens
  • 18 Forster-Caskey (Lua Lua - 40' )
  • 19 Ulloa
  • 21 D. López (March - 81' )
  • 11 Orlandi (Rodríguez Sánchez - 64' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Brezovan
  • 05 Dunk
  • 09 Rodríguez Sánchez
  • 14 Calderón
  • 22 Obika
  • 25 Lua Lua
  • 27 March
Ref: David Webb
Att: 16,096

Match Stats

Shots

11 15

On target

5 1

Corners

3 4

Fouls

17 15

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Watford 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.

90:00 +6:04 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Watford 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.

90:00 +5:27

Foul by Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion).

90:00 +5:27

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

90:00 +4:50

Attempt missed. Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

90:00 +4:03 Booking

Booking Joel Ekstrand (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +3:55

Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

90:00 +3:55

Foul by Park Chu-Young (Watford).

90:00 +3:20

Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +3:20

Foul by Samba Diakité (Watford).

90:00 +1:42

Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:42

Foul by Samba Diakité (Watford).

90:00 +0:13 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Park Chu-Young replaces Fernando Forestieri.

89:29

Foul by Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion).

89:29

Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

87:08 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Samba Diakité replaces Cristian Battocchio.

81:58

Foul by Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion).

81:58

Ikechi Anya (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

80:43

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Marco Cassetti.

80:21 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Solly March replaces David López.

79:54

Attempt missed. Sean Murray (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

78:59 Booking

Booking Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

78:55

Foul by Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion).

78:55

Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

75:44 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Sean Murray replaces Alexander Merkel.

74:52

Attempt missed. Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by David López with a cross following a corner.

74:37

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

73:50

Delay in match Ikechi Anya (Watford) because of an injury.

73:30

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Gabriele Angella.

73:28

Attempt blocked. Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Leonardo Ulloa.

71:08

Attempt blocked. David López (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

69:53 Booking

Booking Daniel Tözsér (Watford) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

69:29

Hand ball by Daniel Tözsér (Watford).

69:11

Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

69:11

Foul by Fernando Forestieri (Watford).

68:51

Offside, Watford. Cristian Battocchio tries a through ball, but Fernando Forestieri is caught offside.

68:00

Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. David López tries a through ball, but Leonardo Ulloa is caught offside.

67:08

Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

67:08

Foul by Marco Cassetti (Watford).

63:19 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. David Rodríguez replaces Andrea Orlandi.

62:59

Attempt missed. Daniel Tözsér (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

61:53

Foul by Matthew Upson (Brighton and Hove Albion).

61:53

Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

59:35 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Watford 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 0. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box to the centre of the goal.

58:54

Attempt missed. Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Kazenga Lua Lua.

58:27

Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Fernando Forestieri.

57:47

Foul by Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion).

57:47

Joel Ekstrand (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:01

Foul by Bruno (Brighton and Hove Albion).

57:01

Alexander Merkel (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

54:42

Attempt missed. David López (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

54:39

Attempt blocked. Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Andrea Orlandi with a cross.

53:52

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Keith Andrews.

52:16

Attempt missed. Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

51:35

Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:35

Foul by Fernando Forestieri (Watford).

50:38

Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

50:38

Foul by Cristian Battocchio (Watford).

49:51

Foul by Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion).

49:51

Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:50

Attempt saved. David López (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

45:54

Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:54

Foul by Cristian Battocchio (Watford).

45:12

Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion).

45:12

Joel Ekstrand (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Watford 1, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.

45:00 +1:21 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Watford 1, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.

45:00

Attempt blocked. Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Leonardo Ulloa.

43:24

Attempt missed. David López (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Keith Andrews with a through ball.

43:11

Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) hits the bar with a left footed shot from the left side of the box. Assisted by David López.

42:38

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

42:07

Foul by David López (Brighton and Hove Albion).

42:07

Joel Ekstrand (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

39:28 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Kazenga Lua Lua replaces Jake Forster-Caskey because of an injury.

39:05

Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion).

39:05

Joel Ekstrand (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

37:19

Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

37:19

Foul by Joel Ekstrand (Watford).

35:44

Foul by David López (Brighton and Hove Albion).

35:44

Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:22

Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:22

Dangerous play by Cristian Battocchio (Watford).

34:47

Attempt missed. Matthew Upson (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Andrea Orlandi with a cross following a corner.

34:18

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Gabriele Angella.

32:05

Attempt missed. David López (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

31:24

Bruno (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:24

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

27:26

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Ikechi Anya.

26:50

Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

26:50

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

26:28

Attempt saved. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Marco Cassetti with a cross.

25:08

Attempt blocked. Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by David López with a cross.

24:23

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Andrea Orlandi.

24:16

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

23:28

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Andrea Orlandi.

22:37

Foul by Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion).

22:37

Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

22:09

Foul by Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion).

22:09

Gabriele Angella (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

19:39

Attempt saved. Ikechi Anya (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Joel Ekstrand.

18:44

David López (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

18:44

Foul by Fernando Forestieri (Watford).

14:41

Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14:41

Foul by Daniel Tözsér (Watford).

12:31 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Watford 1, Brighton and Hove Albion 0. Ikechi Anya (Watford) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alexander Merkel with a through ball.

11:31

Attempt saved. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

8:33

Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

8:33

Foul by Daniel Tözsér (Watford).

8:02

Attempt missed. Alexander Merkel (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Fernando Forestieri.

7:37

Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

7:37

Foul by Marco Cassetti (Watford).

7:05

Foul by Stephen Ward (Brighton and Hove Albion).

7:05

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

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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