Abdoulaye Doucoure (42) gave Watford a first-half lead as they capitalised on an error from goalkeeper Mark Travers, before captain Troy Deeney (65) doubled the lead midway through the second half. Roberto Pereyra (90+2) wrapped up the three points for Pearson’s resurgent Hornets, who climb to 17th after their third consecutive league victory.
Graham Taylor, the greatest manager in Watford history, died on Jan 12 2017. There could have been no better way to mark the third anniversary of the great man’s passing than for the club he built to secure the victory which took them out of the Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season. And for the travelling supporters, there was no question who they deem responsible for the upward momentum newly infecting their favourites. “We’ve got super Nigel Pearson,” they sang throughout this win. And no wonder. The third manager at Vicarage Road this season has now delivered 13 points in six games since being appointed. From looking already marooned, under him Watford are destined for mid table.
“We talked very early on about the fact that we would have to have a substantial run at some point,” Pearson said. “We are having a good run at the moment but I am not naive enough to think these things carry on indefinitely without working at it. We probably need to win another six games, maybe more – it depends how it pans out this year – but we have certainly put ourselves in a better position than we were a few weeks ago.”
There was much excitement after the game as phones were proffered displaying the table showing Watford out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. Nobody in the away end wanted to head for the exits as we stayed to cheer our heroes. The Nigel Pearson chant had had a good airing, but there was always time for another chorus as well as chants for Deeney, Doucouré and anyone else who attracted our attention. Then lovely Nate Chalobah came over and pumped his fists at the crowd and was greeted with a cheer. A repeat fist pump elicited the same reaction. He headed away from us and the crowd responded with ‘oooooooohhhh’, he turned around and pumped his fist and was rewarded with another cheer. This was repeated another couple of times before he reached Pearson in the centre of the field and the two of them pumped their fists in unison. I know that this loses a lot in the telling but it was a gorgeous moment and I had a tear in my eye at the togetherness.