M’Baye Niang marked his home Watford debut with a fine headed goal as Walter Mazzarri’s side hung on for a 2-1 Premier League win over 10-man Burnley.
It was another fruitless away outing for Sean Dyche’s side, who have now taken just one point from their 11 fixtures on the road – in stark comparison to their form at Turf Moor, where they have won seven straight matches in all competitions.
The Clarets may take some heart from a battling display following the sixth-minute dismissal of Jeff Hendrick at Vicarage Road, the midfielder sent off for a studs-up challenge on Jose Holebas.
Troy Deeney wasted little time in making Burnley pay for their indiscipline, the Watford captain rising highest at the far post to head home Niang’s cross.
And in first-half stoppage time Niang, who joined on loan from AC Milan last month, got on the scoresheet himself with a superb header from Holebas’ delivery.
Burnley toiled hard in the second period and pulled one back in the 78th minute via Ashley Barnes’ penalty, but they were unable to muster an equaliser as Watford held on to move above their opponents into 10th.
— Watford FC (@WatfordFC) February 4, 2017
Mazzarri’s side were buoyed by a shock 2-1 win at Arsenal in midweek and it was a dream start for the hosts here as they took just four minutes to capitalise on their man advantage.
Niang had plenty of time and space to swing a right-wing cross to the back post where Deeney got the better of Matt Lowton and headed beyond Tom Heaton.
The Milan loanee was involved again midway through the half, bringing a fine save out of Heaton with a rasping left-footed drive from 25 yards.
Burnley’s first effort arrived in the 33rd minute as Joey Barton’s free-kick was tipped over by Heurelho Gomes before Watford debutant Mauro Zarate cut in from the left and flashed an effort narrowly wide.
But Watford did manage a second before the break as Holebas curled in a delivery from the left and Niang glanced home a fine header from 12 yards.
The visitors began the second half with purpose and almost halved the deficit in the 54th minute as Michael Keane’s header took a flick off Stephen Ward with Gomes getting down smartly at his near post.
Watford seemed content to contain their opponents for long periods, but from a rare foray forward Niang and Deeney combined to great effect again, this time the skipper denied by a superb save from Heaton as the keeper scrambled across his line.
Barnes’ hooked effort was cleared off the line by Craig Cathcart, but Sebastian Prodl handled Barton’s rebound and Barnes made no mistake from 12 yards.
Deep into stoppage time, Cathcart’s poor control let in Barnes, but the striker could only shoot straight at Gomes as Burnley’s last chance of salvaging an unlikely point evaporated.
Key Opta stats:
– The Hornets have netted 2+ goals in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time ever.
– Burnley have won just one point in their 11 Premier League away games this season (W0 D1 L10), netting just five goals in the process.
– Deeney has scored in each of his four league appearances against Burnley at Vicarage Road.
– Barnes has converted both of his penalty kicks in the Premier League this season, his only two spot-kicks in his PL career.
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