Watford 2 Newcastle United 1: Roberto Pereyra and Andre Gray strike as Hornets find their rhythm

Javi Gracia opted to play Troy Deeney and record signing Andre Gray together up front for the first time – and within two minutes his team had taken the lead.


The Spaniard had vowed before kick-off to make Rafa Benitez unhappy again having managed Malaga when he held his coutryman  – then in charge of Real Madrid – to a 0-0 draw at the Bernabeu in 2015 despite his team going down to 10 men.

Will Hughes, who had shifted out right to make way for Deeney and Gray, started a move before Abdoulaye Doucoure squared the ball for Roberto Pereyra to tap his fifth goal of the season into the net.

Newcastle were lucky not to concede another four minutes later but for some superb goal-keeping from Martin Dubravka.

He saved a shot from Pereyra, then blocked the rebound from Deeney before Etienne Capoue's final effort was deflected to safety.


Kenedy had a shot deflected on the 15th minute as the visitors finally surged forward after birthday boy Javier Manquillo supplied a long cross from the right and Dwight Gayle headed the ball over.

Gray, an £18 million summer signing from Burnley who has barely featured under Gracia, had already shot straight to Dubravka on the 26th minute when seconds later Pereyra crossed the ball to him.

The Magpies shot-stopper flapped, punching it towards Gray who headed it into the back of the net.

Watford had a chance for a third before the break when they were lucky to be handed a penalty.



Gray was already heading to the ground when Paul Dummett made contact but referee Roger East pointed to the spot.

Deeney stepped up to convert only for Dubravka to save the shot and then do the same with the rebound.

Newcastle lost at home to West Brom and look like they have been on the beach since they hit the 40-point mark.

They pulled one back on the 55nd minute when Manquillo crossed to Perez and his right-footed effort sailed into the net.


Gracia's own days in the Premier League could still be numbered despite ending a run of seven matches without a win in seven matches and finally mathematically guaranteeing their Premier League status.

He is their 11th manager since 2012 having replaced the sacked Marco Silva in January and could help the Hornets better their previous best Premier League finish of 13th – under Quique Sanchez Flores who got the boot two years ago.

And there are no guarantees about Benitez's future either having dropped less-than-subtle hints of late that he could head for the exit if owner Mike Ashley doesn't give him funds to invest.

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