Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is Watford's hero with double penalty save
Heurelho Gomes was Watford's hero as he saved two second-half penalties in a 1-0 win at West Brom.
Gomes had been in fine form all afternoon, producing smart saves to twice thwart Stephane Sessegnon in the first half and acrobatically deny Gareth McAluey shortly after half-time.
But the Brazilian saved his best work to torment Saido Berahino. First he made amends for his own error by diving to his right to beat away the West Brom striker's first penalty after 67 minutes and then repeated the feat 20 minutes later, launching himself the other way to palm away the spot-kick.
His heroics ensured that Ben Watson's 27th-minute goal would be enough for Watford to earn all three points and record only a third victory in their last 16 Barclays Premier League outings.
A laboured start to the game was broken after 17 minutes when Adlene Guedioura's low shot from the edge of area went narrowly wide.
Sessegnon's well-hit free-kick brought a parrying save from Gomes before the West Brom attacker then put the rebound wide.
Shortly afterwards Watford were ahead. Guedioura's corner was steered into the far corner of the net by former Albion loan player Watson.
West Brom responded well to the setback and James McClean burst past two defenders before getting caught in two minds about whether to shoot or try to cross the ball for Berahino. In the end he did neither and a good position was wasted.
Just before half-time some neat build-up play between Craig Dawson and Salomon Rondon resulted in a shooting opportunity for Sessegnon but his effort was brilliantly diverted wide by the fingertips of Gomes.
McClean sent a shot into the side-netting within a minute of the restart before another fingertip save from Gomes, this time to help McAuley's header over the crossbar.
At the other end, Ben Foster produced a similarly fine save to deny Watford captain Troy Deeney.
You sensed the hosts were in the ascendancy but they could just not find a way past Gomes, who was having a fine game.
He blotted his copybook as the midway-point of the second half approached by rushing out and bringing down Berahino. However, he redeemed himself by saving the West Brom striker's penalty.
Albion applied some late pressure and it looked like they would be rewarded when Etienne Capoue tripped McClean for a second penalty.
Berahino showed bravery by grabbing the ball, keen to make amends, but once more he saw his effort saved by Gomes as the FA Cup semi-finalists hung on for the three points.
TWEET OF THE MATCH:
Accompanied by a photograph of Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, the official Premier League Twitter account @premierleague: "What an afternoon for this man - one clean sheet, two penalty saves, three points! #WBAWAT."
Ben Foster: 7/10
Craig Dawson: 6
Gareth McAuley: 6
Jonny Evans: 6
James Chester: 6
Stephane Sessegnon: 6
Darren Fletcher: 6
Claudio Yacob: 5
James McClean: 5
Salomon Rondon: 5
Saido Berahino: 4
Victor Anichebe (on for Rondon, 68): 5
Callum McManaman (on for Chester, 68): 6
Craig Gardner (on for Yacob, 75): 5
Heurelho Gomes: 9
Allan Nyom: 7
Sebastien Prodl: 7
Miguel Britos: 6
Nathan Ake: 5
Adlene Guedioura: 7
Etienne Capoue: 6
Ben Watson: 6
Jose Manuel Jurado: 6
Odion Ighalo: 5
Troy Deeney: 6
Mario Suarez (on for Guedioura, 66):
Heurelho Gomes. Made a handful of very good saves throughout the afternoon. The Brazilian can be a bit of a wildcard though, illustrated perfectly when he gave away a penalty but then saved Saido Berahino's subsequent spot-kick. He then repeated the trick three minutes from time - this time after Etienne Capoue had tripped James McClean - after denying the West Brom striker again from 12 yards.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Gomes' first penalty save. West Brom had asserted themselves either side of half-time and you feel that had Berahino scored, the hosts might have had the momentum to go on and win the game. However, his second penalty stop after 87 minutes was equally important.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Just like at Manchester City last weekend, West Brom had their chances but failed to take them. Albion are not mathematically safe from relegation but you feel they have enough points on the board for it not to be a worry.
Watford have West Ham to play in the league before their FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace but they will head to Wembley full of confidence.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Berahino's performance was a little laboured all afternoon. While it is easy to criticise him for missing two penalties, they were both very good saves from Gomes. However, you wonder what it might do to the young striker's confidence.
WHO'S UP NEXT?
Arsenal v West Brom, Barclays Premier League (Thursday, April 21)
West Ham v Watford, Barclays Premier League (Wednesday, April 20)