Match ends, Watford 1, Sunderland 0.
Watford 1-0 Sunderland
Miguel Britos' second-half header ended Watford's four-game winless run, giving them victory over Sunderland and leaving David Moyes' side rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.
The Uruguayan headed home at the back post in the 59th minute after Stefano Okaka's header from a corner hit the crossbar.
Sunderland's best chance came late in the second half through Fabio Borini but Moyes' side have now failed to score in five consecutive games.
Okaka missed Watford's best chance of the first half, heading over when unmarked eight yards out, while Sunderland's Jordan Pickford made three smart saves.
Victory takes Walter Mazzarri's side up to 12th while Sunderland are seven points from safety with nine games remaining.
All over for Sunderland?
Sunderland have made a habit of unlikely escapes from relegation in recent seasons, but this could be the time in which Moyes fails where Paolo di Canio, Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat and Sam Allardyce have succeeded.
The Black Cats' 20 points is their lowest total after 29 games since 2012 and they are now five games without a win.
That run has coincided with a barren spell for Jermain Defoe, who failed to have a shot during the 90 minutes at Vicarage Road and had just 18 touches, the lowest on either side.
Before Borini's late chance Adnan Januzaj had come closest for the visitors with a tame effort - one of just three shots on target.
Moyes said at the end of February that Sunderland needed five wins to survive but since then opportunities against Burnley and Watford have passed, and now time is running out.
Watford all but secure survival
Mazzarri's side had won just two of their previous 13 Premier League games and were slipping towards the relegation zone, but Britos said afterwards the win lifts nerves at the club.
The goal was perhaps fortunate, with the ball headed back into the danger area following Okaka's header which hit the woodwork via a deflection off a Sunderland defender.
But, the home side had the better chances - with 10 shots on target in total - in particular when Jordan Pickford saved with his legs from Isaac Success when the Nigerian was clear on goal.
Watford are now seven points clear of the relegation places, with surely too many struggling teams between them and the drop to see the Hornets go down.
Man of the match - M'Baye Niang
What they said
Watford manager Walter Mazzarri: "It gives me great satisfaction but the one area we have to improve on is the last pass.
"It was very deserved. We had four or five chances in the first half. We should have scored more goals but no doubt it is a deserved win."
Sunderland manager David Moyes: "I am disappointed we lost. There was not much in the game. I thought we deserved something. We worked very hard. Set pieces were always going to be difficult. We had done a good job but on one where we turned off it cost us.
"It has been problem for us [scoring]. We are trying to score a goal, trying to create more. We lacked quality and when we did get an opportunity we didn't take it."
Sunderland goal drought goes on - the stats
- Miguel Britos scored his first Premier League goal in what was his 48th Premier League appearance.
- Sunderland have now gone 495 minutes without scoring in the Premier League.
- The Black Cats have won just one of their last 12 Premier League fixtures (D3 L8).
- Only Boro (4) have won fewer Premier League points in 2017 than Sunderland (6).
- Sunderland have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 Premier League games away from home.
- By contrast, all of Watford's clean sheets at Vicarage Road this season have come to the teams currently sitting in the relegation zone (Hull, Middlesbrough and Sunderland).
Both sides have just a three-day wait for their next game, with Watford hosting West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday and Sunderland travelling to Leicester (both 19:45 BST kick-off).
- 4KaboulSubstituted forJanmaatat 42'minutes
- 7N AmrabatSubstituted forSuccessat 53'minutes
- 29CapoueBooked at 90mins
- 21NiangSubstituted forZuñigaat 87'minutes
- 2JonesBooked at 72mins
- 23KonéBooked at 78mins
- 24GibsonSubstituted forNdongat 61'minutes
- 44JanuzajSubstituted forKhazriat 70'minutesBooked at 77mins
- Lee Probert
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Watford 1, Sunderland 0.
Attempt blocked. Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).
Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Offside, Watford. Etienne Capoue tries a through ball, but Isaac Success is caught offside.
Etienne Capoue (Watford) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).
Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Stefano Okaka (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by John O'Shea (Sunderland).
Foul by Isaac Success (Watford).
Didier Ndong (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt saved. Stefano Okaka (Watford) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Daryl Janmaat with a cross.
Substitution, Watford. Juan Zuñiga replaces M'Baye Niang.
Stefano Okaka (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).
Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).
Didier Ndong (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Heurelho Gomes.
Attempt saved. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Wahbi Khazri.
Miguel Britos (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jermain Defoe (Sunderland).
Attempt saved. Isaac Success (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Stefano Okaka with a headed pass.
Foul by M'Baye Niang (Watford).
Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Lamine Koné (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
M'Baye Niang (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Lamine Koné (Sunderland).
Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by José Holebas.
Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).
Jack Rodwell (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt blocked. Didier Ndong (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Fabio Borini.
Billy Jones (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Isaac Success (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Billy Jones (Sunderland).
Attempt missed. Jason Denayer (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Billy Jones.
Substitution, Sunderland. Wahbi Khazri replaces Adnan Januzaj.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Jermain Defoe.