Match ends, Aston Villa 2, Watford 3.
Watford condemned bottom club Aston Villa to their 11th defeat in 14 Premier League games.
Odion Ighalo poked home to give the visitors the lead, but Micah Richards' header levelled it before half-time.
The Hornets lost goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to a head injury, but Alan Hutton's own goal and Troy Deeney's bullet header put them in control.
Jordan Ayew's shot found the corner to give Villa hope but they could not equalise in 10 minutes of injury time.
The result means Aston Villa, on five points, have equalled the league record for the lowest points tally after 14 matches of a season.
And no Premier League team has ever avoided relegation having accumulated five points or fewer after 13 games.
Watford, meanwhile, climb to 11th, nine points above the relegation zone and five off the European places.
- Relive Villa's narrow defeat by Watford
- Reaction to all of Saturday's action
- 'I think my old man's looking down on me' - listen to Troy Deeney's reaction
Villa's unwanted records
As well as the Premier League points record, Villa have also equalled two unwanted club records. They have gone 13 league games without victory, and eight home matches in the league without a win.
It was a much improved performance from Remi Garde's side, especially in the first half, compared with their 4-0 drubbing against Everton.
They dominated possession throughout, but their defensive frailties were exposed once again.
Watford's opener could have been avoided had the Villa defence cleared their lines before Ighalo latched on to Ben Watson's volley.
Meanwhile, Deeney got between defenders Kieran Richardson and Ciaran Clark and rose above the duo for Watford's third.
The boy with the Birmingham tattoo
Watford striker Deeney started out as a youngster at Villa but he is very much in the blue corner, with a Birmingham City tattoo on his leg.
And he took great delight in scoring against their bitter rivals, as he netted his fourth goal in five games in the second half.
The 27-year-old said of his goal celebration: "I slid on my knees, everyone does that, we get caught up in the emotion.
"I do not think I offended anyone - you should have heard what the crowd were saying to me - but I am thick-skinned and can take it. I am more interested in taking three points."
Watford were lacking goals before this game, having netted only 12 in 13 matches, but Deeney and striker partner Ighalo found their clinical edge.
Gomes recovering from head injury
The game was stopped for seven minutes in the second half after Watford keeper Gomes collided with team-mate Craig Cathcart and received a knee to the head.
The Brazilian needed oxygen as he was taken off the pitch on a stretcher, and was replaced by Lithuania international Giedruis Arlauskis who made his Premier League debut.
Gomes was taken to hospital but was able to travel home with the rest of the squad, and manager Quique Sánchez Flores said they are waiting for scan results to find out the extent of his injury.
'I promise them things will change'
Ayew netted Villa's second in emphatic style. He controlled, turned and hit a thunderous strike into the bottom corner past substitute keeper Giedruis Arlauskis, who had come on to replace the injured Gomes.
However, it was not enough to rescue a share of the points and his side are now languishing seven points from safety.
But the Ghana international urged the Villa fans to keep the faith in the team.
"I understand the supporters' view, it is a big club but we need the support from them," said the 24-year-old.
"This season is difficult but I believe we can stay in the Premier League. They have to keep supporting us and I promise them things will change."
Man of the match
'They players aren't letting the shirt down'
Aston Villa manager Remi Garde: "We were coming from behind and it was difficult for the players to gain confidence. I think we defended poorly, we conceded early and it was difficult to get the three points.
"It is not just the defence and individuals, we have to do better as a team.
"Things are not in our favour because we are bottom, we are in trouble - but I do not see any players letting the shirt down which is good news for the future."
Watford manager Quique Sánchez Flores: "Aston Villa are a tough team, they are very difficult.
"Our performance was amazing and we played high pressure and scored three goals, so I am very happy."
The stats you need to know
- No player has scored more league goals in the top four tiers than Odion Ighalo in 2015 (24, level with Harry Kane).
- Alan Hutton scored his third own goal in the Premier League; the only Scottish player to score more is Colin Hendry (4).
- All three of the previous teams with five points after 14 Premier League games have finished bottom of the division (Swindon Town 1993/94, Sunderland 2005/06, QPR 2012/13)
Aston Villa travel to St Mary's to face Southampton in the Premier League next Saturday, while Watford host former Championship rivals Norwich on the same day.
- 6ClarkBooked at 88mins
- 24C SánchezBooked at 90mins
- 8GueyeSubstituted forGestedeat 82'minutes
- 25GilSubstituted forTraoréat 68'minutes
- 19J Ayew
- 1GomesSubstituted forArlauskisat 67'minutes
- 16AkéBooked at 90mins
- 14ParedesSubstituted forAnyaat 67'minutes
- 29CapoueBooked at 74mins
- 22AbdiSubstituted forGuédiouraat 81'minutes
- 9DeeneyBooked at 86mins
- Lee Mason
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 2, Watford 3.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Jordan Veretout.
Carlos Sánchez (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.
Nathan Aké (Watford) is shown the yellow card.
Jordan Veretout (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Adlène Guédioura (Watford).
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Micah Richards.
Attempt blocked. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nathan Aké.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Carlos Sánchez.
Attempt blocked. Nathan Aké (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Brad Guzan.
Attempt saved. Adlène Guédioura (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Brad Guzan.
Attempt saved. Adlène Guédioura (Watford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Ben Watson.
Goal! Aston Villa 2, Watford 3. Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kieran Richardson with a cross.
Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa).
Odion Ighalo (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Troy Deeney (Watford) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.