Norwich 0-1 Watford: Bayo hands Hornets maximum points
A late goal from substitute Vakoun Bayo earned Watford a hard-fought 1-0 win at Norwich which got their Championship promotion bid back on track.
The Hornets went into the clash at Carrow Road with successive defeats behind them but turned in an improved display which was rewarded four minutes from the end of normal time when the young frontman slotted home after a swift breakaway.
For Norwich it was a fourth game without a win in what is almost certainly Allan Russell’s final match in interim charge, with the Canaries expected to name Dean Smith’s full-time successor later this week.
Watford made a bright start, with Keinan Davis being foiled at the near post by Angus Gunn before curling an effort just wide.
The hosts were then indebted to an excellent block from Sam McCallum, who kept out what looked like a goalbound shot from Ismaila Sarr after Davis had picked out the Senegalese in a dangerous position.
The managerless Canaries had plenty of the ball in the opening period without creating much with it, although it looked as though they had taken the lead on 35 minutes when Grant Hanley headed home a deep cross from Marcelino Nunez. But the flag quickly went up for offside and replays proved it was a correct decision from the assistant.
Gunn produced an excellent point-blank save to deny Bayo as the Hornets continued to look the more dangerous side after the break.
But Norwich kept plugging away and finally registered a meaningful effort on goal in the 69th minute when Nunez screwed a powerful shot just wide after some bright approach play from the home side.
Josh Sargent then clipped the bar after being picked out by Gabriel Sara, with keeper Daniel Bachmann taking a knock as he rushed out to block which required lengthy treatment.
It was now Norwich looking the side more likely to break the deadlock and nine minutes from time Nunez was only inches wide with a first-time effort after good work on the left from Teemu Pukki.
But, with 86 minutes on the clock, it was Watford who got their noses in front courtesy of a classic breakaway goal.
A careless loss of possession in midfield proved fatal for the hosts as Sarr broke clear on the left before squaring for the unmarked Bayo to sidefoot home from inside the six-yard box.
The hosts responded bravely, with Nunez’s deflected drive going just wide and Sara’s inswinging free-kick clipping the woodwork, but even with nine minutes of stoppage time they could find no way back into the game.