After the drought, the deluge. It had been 738 minutes since Huddersfield Town last found the back of the net away from home, a run that stretched back to the opening day of the season, but sometimes it only takes one goal for confidence to return and David Wagner’s players never looked back after Elias Kachunga finally stopped the rot at Vicarage Road.
For Huddersfield, this was proof that football will always reward teams who refuse to stop trying.
They have never stopped believing, even as they slipped worryingly towards the bottom three, and Kachunga’s strike was followed by two for Aaron Mooy and one for the excellent Laurent Depoitre.
Watford were fortunate that Huddersfield restricted themselves to four. Marco Silva’s team were appalling, their fate sealed by Troy Deeney’s brainless red card in the first half.
It spoke volumes for the visitors’ dominance that Silva was forced into an early tactical alteration, replacing Adrian Mariappa with Roberto Pereyra and switching from a 3-4-3 system to 4-2-3-1 in the 29th minute.
It was tempting to wonder if the game would have been more even if Kachunga’s goal in the sixth minute had been disallowed for offside. Perhaps Wagner’s side deserved some luck after an energetic start, though.
They were quick to find space down the channels and won an early corner. Mooy stabbed a deep ball to the far post from the left and Collin Quaner muscled himself into a shooting position. Heurelho Gomes diverted the forward’s shot into Kachunga’s path and he was a yard out when he finished. The two attackers both looked offside, but the flag stayed down despite Watford’s appeals.
One moment of good fortune had a transformative effect on Huddersfield’s attack but Watford gifted their guests a second goal with more awful defending. Nobody in yellow tracked Quaner and his cross from the right found Mooy, who bundled home from close range.
Deeney then self-destructed, ending his team’s hopes of a revival with a reckless tackle from behind on Quaner. Deeney could have no complaints over the red card and Huddersfield deepened the suffering of Watford’s 10 men early in the second half, Depoitre lashing an angled drive past Gomes.
Vicarage Road was an angry place, although the mood changed when Jonathan Hogg caught Richarlison late and received a second yellow card. Watford discovered some urgency and Abdoulaye Doucoure belatedly made a game of it when he left Jonas Lossl rooted to the spot with a magnificent shot from 25 yards.
Huddersfield, however, would not be denied, ending Watford’s fightback when Doucoure sloppily fouled Depoitre. Mooy rammed the penalty past Gomes to show that all that shooting practice has paid off.