Troy Deeney had put the Hornets in front when he powerfully headed home from five yards out after Gerard Deulofeu’s cross from the right. Deeney almost grabbed a second but was denied by an excellent reaction stop from home goalkeeper Reina.
There was further frustration for Watford when Mings, who had been booked in the first half, escaped a second caution despite appearing to handle the ball and prevent a counter-attack. Pearson admitted afterwards his players were convinced Mings should have been dismissed.
Watford are now second bottom, in the relegation zone on goal difference, but Pearson kept defeat in perspective. “I think we’re a bit unlucky but that’s life and we’ll deal with it,” he said. “It’s easy to reflect on performances when things go your way, we’ve been a bit unlucky.
Bobby is in for Sarr, the mythical João Pedro makes a Premier League bench for the first time. The opening spell is stodgy… Watford don’t commit forward, look almost tentative attacking. The absence of Sarr will be painfully evident throughout… if the quality of delivery has sometimes let him down, his pace, directness and aggression is about more than the end product.
We left the ground feeling very disappointed and had to walk through a crowd of exuberant Villa fans chanting, “Deeney what’s the score?” On that note, it was lovely to see Villa fans on social media after the game singing the praises of Troy for stopping to have his photo taken with them. A true pantomime villain who loves the back and forth with the fans.