Brighton 1 Watford 3: Vydra brace sinks Seagulls on south coast
21:57 GMT, 29 December 2012
Matej Vydra scored twice as Watford cemented their place in the npower Championship play-off places with an impressive win at Brighton.
The Czech striker took his tally for the season to 12 goals with two in the space of two second-half minutes to shoot down the Seagulls.
Brighton boss Gus Poyet was going head-to-head with his old Chelsea team-mate, Watford chief Gianfranco Zola, but a dour first half in the pouring rain left both sets of fans feeling the Blues.
Star: Vydra's brace earned three points for Watford on the south coast
Brighton: Kuszczak, Saltor, Greer, El-Abd, Bridge, Crofts (Hoskins 75), Orlandi (Barnes 59), Bridcutt, Mackail-Smith, David Lopez (Dobbie 75), LuaLua.
Subs Not Used: Brezovan, Hammond, Dunk, Dicker.
Goals: David Lopez 65 pen.
Watford: Almunia, Hall (Neuton 42), Pudil, Hoban, Ekstrand, Chalobah, Hogg, Anya (Mujangi Bia 73), Abdi (Battocchio 80), Vydra, Deeney.
Subs Not Used: Bond, Yeates, Geijo, Forestieri.
Booked: Abdi, Mujangi Bia.
Goals: Deeney 54, Vydra 68, 69.
Ref: Oliver Langford (W Midlands).
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However, the game came to life after
the break when Troy Deeney grabbed his 50th career goal and David Lopez
equalised for Brighton with a penalty before Vydra had the final word.
Watford could have gone ahead at the beginning and the end of that scrappy opening period.
Daniel Pudil gave Wayne Bridge the slip from Almen Abdi's early corner but put a free header over the crossbar.
And in stoppage time Albi's deep cross was met by Deeney but, once again, the striker could not get his header on target.
In between time, Vydra was denied by
Brighton goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak while, for Brighton, Kazenga LuaLua
stung Manuel Almunia's palms with a fierce, angled drive and Andrew
Crofts blazed over.
Mercifully, the second half was a far more entertaining affair with Watford breaking the deadlock after nine minutes.
Pudil's diagonal ball played in
Deeney, who had peeled off his marker Adam El-Abd, and his low shot was
powerful enough to fizz through Kuszczak's legs via his heel and into
the back of the net.
At it again: Vydra also scored twice when Watford beat Nottingham Forest before Christmas
But out of almost nothing Brighton managed to hit back 10 minutes later.
LuaLua had been forced away from goal
and towards the corner of the penalty area by Almunia, but Tommie Hoban
saw fit to barge the winger over and referee Oliver Langford pointed to
Spaniard Lopez stepped up to score his second penalty in as many matches.
Reunion: Former Chelsea teammates Poyet and Zola were in opposite dugouts
But Brighton were level for barely two minutes before Watford got a big slice of fortune.
Vydra was allowed to run unchecked
towards the Brighton area but his shot took a huge deflection of El-Abd
to loop over Kuszczak and into the net.
However, there was nothing lucky
about Watford's third goal a minute later as Deeney, inside his own
half, lifted the ball into the path of Vydra who outstripped the
Brighton defence before coolly beating Kuszczak.