Championship
WatfordWatford1LutonLuton Town0

Watford 1-0 Luton Town: Joao Pedro goal gives Hornets victory

Luton's James Collins hits the crossbar
Luton's James Collins thumped a shot against the bar moments before Watford opened the scoring

Joao Pedro's goal earned Watford victory over Luton in the first meeting between the rivals in 14 years as the Hornets maintained their unbeaten Championship start.

The Brazilian forward, on his 19th birthday, converted Ken Sema's low cross from close range less than a minute after a James Collins shot struck the underside of the bar for the visitors.

Luton could not create any more clear openings and would have lost by a wider margin had keeper Simon Sluga not saved brilliantly from Watford midfielders James Garner and Tom Dele-Bashiru.

The lack of fans at Vicarage Road took away much of the intensity from what was a hotly anticipated match.

Vladimir Ivic's Hornets are still yet to concede in the league this season and have seven points from three games, bouncing back from their surprise midweek Carabao Cup defeat against League Two side Newport.

Defeat for Luton sees them drop their first points of the campaign - off the back of a 3-0 cup loss to Manchester United on Tuesday.

Watford gave a first start of the season to winger Ismaila Sarr - who has been linked with Liverpool and, more recently, Aston Villa this summer - while talisman Troy Deeney came off the bench in the closing stages for his first appearance since their relegation from the Premier League.

The Hatters really ought to have led when Collins could not keep his shot down from six yards from Harry Cornick's cross, and Pedro punished them - albeit with the help of a deflection off defender Sonny Bradley on its way in.

Republic of Ireland striker Collins also had Luton's best second-half opportunity, firing over when two team-mates were arguably better placed.

It means Watford are unbeaten in 10 league meetings with their Bedfordshire foes and have kept clean sheets in their opening three league games for the first time since the 1988-89 season.

Watford head coach Vladimir Ivic:

"You recognise quality players and sure Joao Pedro has quality. In the system that we play, he brings a lot of different things.

"We started this game much better than our other four games. We deserved this victory. We were the better team from the beginning until the end. Luton created just one chance.

"We created four or five chances and we could have scored more goals but OK, game by game I believe that our performance will be better. I said a lot of times that we are not at 100% of our ability."

Luton head coach Nathan Jones:

"A real lacklustre game, the most lacklustre derby you have ever seen. I don't think you would realise it was a derby. We were flat.

"The game changed in two minutes and that was the difference between the two teams. If we had scored we would have got a point at minimum because they probably wouldn't have scored their goal.

"But I am just flabbergasted by the performance. I did not see that coming. I thought at least we would be right at it. If there had been fans in the stadium they would have demanded more."

Line-ups

Watford

  • 1Foster
  • 3Ngakia
  • 15Cathcart
  • 27Kabasele
  • 6Wilmot
  • 12Sema
  • 16Garner
  • 14ChalobahSubstituted forDele-Bashiruat 63'minutes
  • 8Cleverley
  • 23SarrSubstituted forQuinaat 90+3'minutes
  • 10João PedroSubstituted forDeeneyat 89'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Dawson
  • 9Deeney
  • 17Murray
  • 20Quina
  • 21Femenía
  • 24Dele-Bashiru
  • 26Bachmann

Luton

  • 12Sluga
  • 2Cranie
  • 6PearsonBooked at 75mins
  • 5Bradley
  • 24Norrington-DaviesBooked at 90mins
  • 17Mpanzu
  • 7Cornick
  • 8Berry
  • 4TunnicliffeSubstituted forLuaLuaat 78'minutes
  • 10LeeSubstituted forClarkat 58'minutes
  • 19CollinsSubstituted forHyltonat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Shea
  • 9Hylton
  • 14Moncur
  • 15Lockyer
  • 18Clark
  • 20Kioso
  • 25LuaLua
Referee:
John Brooks

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamLuton
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home14
Away4
Shots on Target
Home5
Away0
Corners
Home11
Away1
Fouls
Home12
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 1, Luton Town 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 1, Luton Town 0.

  3. Post update

    Rhys Norrington-Davies (Luton Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  4. Post update

    Foul by James Garner (Watford).

  5. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Rhys Norrington-Davies.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Domingos Quina.

  7. Booking

    Rhys Norrington-Davies (Luton Town) is shown the yellow card.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Domingos Quina replaces Ismaila Sarr.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Sonny Bradley (Luton Town).

  10. Post update

    Craig Cathcart (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Troy Deeney replaces João Pedro because of an injury.

  12. Post update

    Offside, Watford. Craig Cathcart tries a through ball, but Ismaila Sarr is caught offside.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Luke Berry (Luton Town) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Kazenga LuaLua (Luton Town).

  15. Post update

    Tom Cleverley (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Simon Sluga.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Tom Dele-Bashiru (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ismaila Sarr.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Danny Hylton (Luton Town).

  19. Post update

    Tom Dele-Bashiru (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Luton Town. Kazenga LuaLua replaces Ryan Tunnicliffe.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Reading33006159
2Swansea32103037
3Watford32102027
4Blackburn320111386
5Bristol City22004136
6Luton32013216
7Birmingham31202115
8Millwall31202115
9Brentford31114224
10QPR31115414
11Bournemouth21104314
12Norwich21103214
13Coventry31114404
14Rotherham31112204
15Stoke311112-14
16Cardiff310234-13
17Huddersfield310214-33
18Middlesbrough302123-12
19Preston301224-21
20Barnsley301203-31
21Nottm Forest300305-50
22Derby300318-70
23Wycombe300308-80
24Sheff Wed2110202-8
View full Championship table

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