Watford 2 Newcastle United 1: Ighalo strikes as hosts break losing streak


Odion Ighalo and Craig Cathcart scored as Watford broke a run of four straight Premier League defeats to record a 2-1 home win over Newcastle United on Saturday.

After a poor first period Watford took the lead 44 seconds into the second half. Troy Deeney lofted a through-ball in behind for Ighalo, who hit his seventh goal in seven games at Vicarage Road.

Cathcart soon put the hosts in control with the second goal, thrashing home a loose ball in the penalty area, to put Watford on track for a third win against Newcastle this season in all competitions.

Jamaal Lascelles gave Newcastle a route back into the match with a 71st-minute header, but Watford held on to secure their first ever Premier League double.

The three points lifts Watford back into the top half of the Premier League, while Newcastle remain in the relegation zone after their fourth straight defeat away from home.

Steve McClaren switched to a back three due to Newcastle's defensive injury crisis and handed a first Premier League start to newcomer Henri Saivet, while Watford made one change, with Juan Carlos Paredes replacing Allan Nyom at right-back.

Rolando Aarons was making his first appearance since September and he had the first sight of goal on four minutes, flashing a drive well wide after good work by Moussa Sissoko.

Watford could have taken the lead on 16 minutes but Rob Elliot pulled off a smart double save. Troy Deeney saw his shot turned away and Etienne Capoue should have put away the rebound, but his effort was also blocked by Elliot.

Heurelho Gomes then kept out Aleksandar Mitrovic's shot with his legs as Newcastle sought their first goal in four away Premier League matches.

Watford were marginally on top but their final ball was poor, with little quality in the attacking third from either side.

Nevertheless, the hosts took the lead within a minute of the restart, Ighalo scoring for the first time in five matches.

Deeney found his strike partner with a perfect chipped through-ball and Ighalo raced clear before shimmying past Elliot and slotting into the empty net for his 14th goal of the season.

Cathcart lashed in from close range after Ighalo held off his man in the box to double the lead after 58 minutes. 

Yoan Gouffran and Ayoze Perez both put headers well wide from good positions as Newcastle looked for a way back into the match.

Lascelles gave his side a lifeline on 71 minutes, powerfully heading home Jonjo Shelvey's corner to mark his first Premier League start in style.

Mitrovic and Emmanuel Riviere both planted headers narrowly wide while Elliot saved from Ighalo and Etienne Capoue blazed over the crossbar with five minutes to go as Watford sought a vital third goal, but the one-goal cushion proved enough for Quique Sanchez Flores' men.