Troy Deeney was a second-half substitute as Watford cruised to a comfortable 5-0 win at St Albans City.

The Hornets impressed during a first half when they scored three goals, via Ikechi Anya, Mathias Ranegie and an own goal.

Substitute Cristian Battocchio then netted a double during a second half played at a low tempo in the heat at Clarence Park.

The Hornets again lined up in a 4-3-3 formation. Tommie Hoban was at right back, with Gabriel Tamas and Joel Ekstrand in the middle and Daniel Pudil on the left.

New signing Keith Andrews was in the holding role, captain for the afternoon Almen Abdi and Lewis McGugan were in centre midfield and Lloyd Dyer and Anya played either side of Ranegie.

St Albans appeared to line-up in a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation, with Warren McBean leading the line and Elliot Buchanan, Lee Clarke and Steve Wales interchanging behind him.

The first chance came after just 80 seconds when new signing Andrews gave the ball away and McBean was able to shoot from 20 yards, with Heurelho Gomes making a routine save.

Dyer was released for the Hornets seven minutes into the contest, only to drag his effort wide, and Ranegie did the same moments later after dispossessing Darren Locke deep into St Albans’ half.

Watford had the ball in the net following a lovely move involving several players only for the linesman to rule out Dyer’s goal for offside.

But moments later the Hornets did take the lead after more good build-up allowed Ranegie to tee up Anya and his powerful shot from close range beat Tom Coulton.

The visitors were moving the ball around well and had several shots blocked during a passage of play when McGugan forced Coulton to save with his legs.

Andrews looked composed in midfield for Watford after a shaky start and helped the Golden Boys’ build attacks by finding team-mates in the Saints’ half.

Fellow midfielder McGugan showed his technical ability with a neat chip which hit the crossbar midway through the half.

Watford were regularly looking for balls behind the St Albans’ backline and on several occasions almost beat the offside trap.

The home team had some joy early on but the Hornets’ defence were relatively comfortable for most of the first half.

The Saints had to wait until after the half-hour mark for their next decent effort and even then Sam Corocoan’s shot from distance went comfortably wide.

Watford were working hard out of possession. Anya created a good chance for McGugan after tackling John Kyriacou just outside his own area but the midfielder rushed his shot when he had more time and it was easily saved.

Beppe Sannino’s men mixed up their passing well and another nice move, and good play from Ranegie, saw McGugan try to find unmarked team-mates at the far post but Locke made a crucial block.

The lead was increased on 39 minutes when Tamas’ ball from defence picked out Hoban and his pin-point cross allowed Ranegie to head, unmarked, past Coulton from six yards out.

It was 3-0 just before the break when Ekstrand was left free to head a corner goalwards and Coulton’s save rebounded back off a defender and into the goal.

St Albans made the one change at half time, with Jack Ward replacing Elliot Buchanan, as the Golden Boys made a quintet of substitutions. Jonathan Bond, Lloyd Doyley, Gabriele Angella, Daniel Tozser and Diego Fabbrini came on for Gomes, Hoban, Ekstrand, Abdi and Dyer.

The first chance of the second period went to the Golden Boys as Fabbrini pulled the ball back to McGugan and his first-time strike from the edge of the area was pushed wide by Coulton.

Matej Vydra and Battocchio came on ten minutes into the half, likewise the prolific John Frendo for St Albans.

Fabbrini had a shot parried away by Coulton but the pace of the match deteriorated after the restart.

Deeney made his introduction on the hour mark, at the same time as Loick Pires and Matt Taylor for the home team.

Like the first half, Watford’s defence were rarely troubled and when Taylor did finally shoot goalwards for his side, it went comfortably wide.

Bond was finally called into action when triallist Jack Ward hit a powerful shot from around ten yards out but Bond palmed the ball over and punched the resulting corner away from danger.

After another round of substitutions, the lead was increased to four when Vydra picked out Battocchio and he lifted the ball over Coulton.

Battocchio grabbed another soon after when Anya’s pass with the outside of the boot released the midfielder and the power of his shot saw it squirm through Coulton’s arms.

Watford’s system for the final quarter was fluid. It appeared to be a 4-4-2 or 4-2-4 with Battocchio wide left and Fabbrini on the right. But either Deeney or Vydra would drop in at times and it would become more like a 4-2-3-1.

St Albans enjoyed a decent period in the final ten minutes but again Bond wasn’t really troubled as the Championship side’s 5-0 win ended with Vydra heading over the bar following Deeney’s cross.

St Albans: Coulton; Kyriacou (Jallow), Ward (Kaloczi 78), Locke (Bola 78), Chappell; Corocoan (Hall 72), Green (Keenleyside 72); Wales (Taylor 63), Clarke (Frendo 55), Buchanan (Ward HT).

Watford: Gomes (Bond HT); Hoban (Doyley HT), Tamas, Ekstrand (Angella HT), Pudil (Johnson 60); McGugan (Deeney 60), Andrews (Battocchio 55), Abdi (Tozser HT); Anya (Smith 72), Ranegie (Vydra 55), Dyer (Fabbrini HT).

Subs not used: Gartside.

Referee: Charles Breakspear.

Attendance: 1,688.