Watford 2-0 West Ham United

The Hammers slipped to their first away defeat of the season away at Watford
West Ham United slipped to their first away defeat of the season following a 2-0 defeat away to Watford.

Two goals from Odion Ighalo, one either side of half-time helped the Premier League new boys to their second consecutive win.

While the Hammers initially started full of verve and confidence, it was the Hornets who set about dictating play.

Nathan Ake and Ikechi Anya’s pace combined with Ighalo and Troy Deeney’s guile and strength proved too much to handle.

The first moment of real note came ten minutes into the match as Almen Abdi’s corner led to a goalmouth scramble. First Ake, then Deeney fired goalward but the Hammers had Andy Carroll to thank for a fantastic block. The Watford faithful screamed for a penalty yet replays showed the big number nine got his head to it.

However, the Hammers were not without chances of their own. Victor Moses, reinstated to the side after missing the Chelsea game, looked dangerous down the right flank, shooting just wide of Heurelho Gomes’ far post. 

Moments later it didn’t take long before Dimitri Payet showed his eminent class. He picked the ball up with seemingly little on, a couple of flicks later; he shot goalward which tested Gomes’ reflexes.

Down the other end the Hammers had Adrian to thank as Ikechi Anya had the beating of Tomkins yet the Spaniard dashed off his line and cleared in the knick of time.

With five to go before the break, the hosts made their dominance count in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Carroll dallied on the ball in his own box and was robbed by livewire Ake. He pulled a dangerous cross into the six yard box which was steered in via a combination of Ighalo and Aaron Cresswell.

During the interval, Slaven Bilic knew he had to make changes and utilised a strong looking bench by bringing on Mauro Zarate and Enner Valencia in place of Manuel Lanzini and Victor Moses.

However any shift in momentum was soon dented as Ighalo doubled Watford’s advantage following a quick break away. The Hornet’s top goalscorer showed his typical composure by finishing well.

As the second half progressed, the Hammers grew into game, desperate to try and avoid losing their first away game of the season.

A huge lifeline went begging when Valencia anticipated Cathcart’s short backpass, yet could only prod his effort onto the post. The onrushing Carroll couldn’t capitalise on the rebound and Watford cleared their lines.

Bilic’s last role of the dice was to go hell for leather by bringing on Nikica Jelavic for Mark Noble and his added presence helped the Hammers look more dangerous without enjoying too many clear cut chances.

As frustrations grew, James Collins was sent off after his tackle was deemed reckless, replays seemed to suggest the Welshmen had been hard done by but the Hammers’ protestations fell on deaf ears.

The hosts used their man advantage to see the game out and could have netted a third save for Carl Jenkinson’s clearance off the line.

Watford: Gomes, Nyom, Britos, Deeney ©, Cathcart, Ake, Anya (Paredes 68), Abdi (Behrami 76), Watson, Ighalo (Guedioura 86), Capoue

Subs not used: Arlauskis, Prodl, Ibarbo, Diamanti

Bookings: Nyom, Ake, Capoue

Goals: Ighalo 34, 48

West Ham United: Adrian, Cresswell, Tomkins, Kouyate, Carroll, Jenkinson, Noble © (Jelavic 75), Collins, Moses (Valencia 46), Payet, Lanzini (Zarate 46)

Subs: Randolph, O’Brien, Ogbonna, Antonio

Sent off: Collins 84

Referee: Keith Stroud