REPORT: Brighton 1 Watford 0

Brighton & Hove Albion ended a seven-match winless run with a much-needed victory over an out-of-sorts Watford side.

It seemed a familiar tale with the scores level at half time, but Pascal Gross’ second-half strike was enough to relieve the mounting pressure which had been festering for Vhris Hughton’s side.

Both managers gesticulated at the perimeter of their technical areas in the early stages, but Watford’s shoddy defending five minutes in made Marco Silva take another two steps in outrage.

A searching pass from Propper cut open The Hornets’ three-man defence, and when Anthony Knockaert slalomed his way to the byline and drilled across goal, Silva was in disbelief that Albion didn’t take the lead in a Premier League match for the first time since November 4.

A threatening spell down the flanks beared no fruit for Albion, with Watford’s wing-backs not tracking Solly March or Knockaert. Having weathered the storm, Watford strutted their energetic style which they’ve become notorious for under Silva.

Richarlison and Roberto Pereyra brought the ball forward well, but lacked the incision to fasten chances up against Lewis Dunk and Connor Goldson, who was making his first start of the campaign.

He almost made it a dream start in the 30th minute, when he meandered to freedom at the back post from a corner, but his downward header was palmed away by Heurelho Gomes.

Albion began the second half as they did the first: hassling Watford in possession, pining the ball about and making darting runs, but to no avail. One man changed that as the timer struck 64 minutes: Pascal Gross.

The attacking midfielder found space outside the box and did something Albion haven’t done enough recently: shoot. His low drive was impeded by Gomes’ hand, but used it is a catapult as the ball then soared into the net.

Mathew Ryan ran the length of the pitch to knee slide and celebrate with his teammates, while Knockaert – and 30,000 Albion fans – went berserk. This was the first time Albion took the lead at home in six matches.

Watford’s poor form was evident in their incohesive moves forward, but they still had enough quality to fashion chances. Richarlison found space in gthe area with 10 minutes left, but Dunk’s mistimed jump luckily worked, as it dispositioned the Brazilian, who otherwise would have had a simple nod home.

Despite a late scare, where substitute Stefano Okaka almost kneed home, Albion held on to three vital points as they enter the hectic Christmas schedule.

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