A double from in-form Odion Ighalo gave Watford a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park as the hosts’ dismal start to the new season continued on Saturday.
The forward scored his third and fourth Premier League goals with a pair of cool finishes inside the first half-hour.
Daryl Janmaat struck after the break with a well-taken goal as Newcastle threatened a comeback, but Watford held out for an impressive win.
The result means the visitors have two consecutive victories and only one defeat from their first six matches, while Steve McClaren’s men are stuck at the bottom alongside rivals Sunderland on just two points.
Newcastle brought in Ayoze Perez for Vurnon Anita in their only change, while Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores replaced the suspended Valon Behrami with Ben Watson in his only alteration.
Ighalo had two early chances but shot wide on both occasions as Watford came flying out of the traps, while Newcastle had their own opportunity to take the lead when Papiss Cisse missed a golden chance, failing to make sufficient contact with the goal gaping after Heurelho Gomes and his defence had failed to deal with a threatening cross.
Ighalo had already provided Newcastle with two warnings and he made them pay with his third opportunity after 10 minutes. The home side gave possession away on the edge of the box and Etienne Capoue found the Nigeria international, whose well-placed shot beat Tim Krul at his near post.
Cisse squandered another opportunity when he finished poorly after being played in by Moussa Sissoko, before the midfielder himself failed to find the target from a presentable opening inside the penalty area.
Those misses proved costly as Watford made it two in the 28th minute. After a slick team move, captain Troy Deeney slipped a pass through to Ighalo, who rounded Krul and slotted home with a simple finish.
Cisse was hooked at half-time as McClaren brought on Siem de Jong in a bid to change his side’s fortunes and hopes of a comeback were raised on 62 minutes. Janmaat cut inside from the right and played a slick one-two with a sliding Sissoko before slotting a low finish under Gomes.
A crucial challenge from Chancel Mbemba denied Deeney the chance to shoot after he had linked up with Ighalo again before Janmaat forced Gomes into a diving stop with a stinging long-range effort at the other end.
De Jong shot straight at Gomes after a good run from Georginio Wijnaldum, but Newcastle could not find an equaliser despite late pressure.
Indeed, it was almost three for Watford when Allan Nyom weaved his way into the box and flashed an effort over the crossbar.