Neither side went into the game in good form, but Watford struck first with a fine solo goal from Abdoulaye Doucoure (19), putting some demons to rest after also scoring an own goal in the 3-0 loss to Brighton on the opening weekend.
Not many own goals this season will be dispatched with the utter certainty that Adrian Mariappa directed the ball into his net as time ticked down at the Amex Stadium and it looked like another bad evening for Brighton and Hove Albion.
“It’s unfortunate”, said Pearson. “We’ve worked exceptionally hard today and goals like that are very difficult to deal with. But I try to stress the importance of not becoming overly positive when things are going well or too pessimistic if things go negatively. You have a better chance of surviving if you keep your nerve.”
The game settles into a pattern from which it’ll never escape, of Brighton having great acres of possession and not really knowing how to harvest it, of Watford suffocating it all by sitting deep and gradually pushing each attack backwards, guiding a toddler out of a toy shop. It has the dramatic intensity of someone prodding a damp sponge with an old toothbrush.
It had been an awful game of football and, yet again, we had been the architects of our own downfall. There was one moment of quality in the game, which was the gorgeous goal from Doucouré. Although the late effort from Mooy and the save from Foster deserve a special mention. Other than that, it was really turgid with Watford sitting deep against an ineffective Brighton attack. It really hurt that we had lost two points due to a pointless own goal, especially as I am very fond of Mariappa, but I don’t know what he was thinking when he blasted that ball into the net. At the end of the day, we remain in the bottom three and, while we are not yet adrift, it is hard to see where the next points are coming from.