Promotion-chasing Watford kept up their momentum with a narrow victory at Preston North End in the Championship.
Brazilian forward Joao Pedro netted the only goal from the penalty spot six minutes into the second half after he was tripped by Tom Barkhuizen.
Liam Lindsay headed a corner over the bar and dragged a shot wide as the Lilywhites went looking for an equaliser, but the hosts failed to trouble visiting keeper Daniel Bachmann.
The win lifts Xisco Munoz’s side up to third in the table, three points behind second-placed Brentford.
However, the Bees and fourth-placed Swansea City, who are one point below the Hornets and have three games in hand on the Vicarage Road side, are both in action on Wednesday evening.
Watford won 6-0 against Bristol City on Saturday but their trip to Deepdale proved to be a tight affair which was settled by the game’s only effort on target.
In a first half of few chances, Preston striker Ched Evans shot over the bar from close range and sent another effort wide from a narrow angle inside the opening 20 minutes.
With Hornets talisman Troy Deeney out for a short spell to recover from a couple of niggling injuries, penalty duties fell to Pedro early in the second half after referee Tony Harrington pointed to the spot.
The 19-year-old shot to the left hand side of the goal to score his seventh of the season, despite Preston keeper Daniel Iversen diving the right way.
It was just Watford’s eighth goal in 15 away league games this season and was enough to give them their fourth victory on the road.
Alex Neil’s Preston have now lost three of their past four and remain seven points off the play-offs, having suffered defeat against Watford at home for the first time since 1979.
Reaction – ‘We played with passion’
Preston first-team coach Frankie McAvoy:
“We’re a bit disappointed we’ve come away with nothing from the game. I thought it was a really good, tight affair.
“The penalty kick is the defining factor in the game. I thought we had the best couple of chances in the first half.
“I’m not really sure that the goalkeepers got worked by either side.
“I don’t think there was much, but there were clear chances and on another day you get one that might sneak in.”
Watford boss Xisco Munoz:
“I think it was a good performance for us because we showed the very good team spirit that we already have and we played with passion.
“We had control of the game in the first half and in the second half we lost the momentum at times.
“But everyone played together and we worked very hard.
“This is our club, this is our style, this is our challenge and we need to follow this game.”
- 31SinclairSubstituted forRiis Jakobsenat 72′minutes
- 11JohnsonSubstituted forPottsat 79′minutes
- 29BarkhuizenSubstituted forGordonat 62′minutes
- 2van den Berg
- 19Riis Jakobsen
- 8CleverleyBooked at 63mins
- 14ChalobahSubstituted forGoslingat 73′minutes
- 10João PedroSubstituted forPericaat 81′minutes
- 12SemaSubstituted forZinckernagelat 81′minutes
Match ends, Preston North End 0, Watford 1.
Second Half ends, Preston North End 0, Watford 1.
Attempt blocked. Brad Potts (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Anthony Gordon.
Attempt blocked. Anthony Gordon (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ched Evans.
Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).
Anthony Gordon (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Dan Gosling (Watford).
Brad Potts (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Anthony Gordon.
Ismaila Sarr (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jayson Molumby (Preston North End).
Attempt missed. Ched Evans (Preston North End) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Brad Potts following a corner.
Attempt missed. Brad Potts (Preston North End) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right following a corner.
Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Francisco Sierralta.
Foul by Dan Gosling (Watford).
Anthony Gordon (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Emil Riis Jakobsen (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jordan Storey following a set piece situation.
Attempt missed. Emil Riis Jakobsen (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Anthony Gordon with a cross following a set piece situation.
Foul by Philip Zinckernagel (Watford).
Alan Browne (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.