Watford fans leaving Craven Cottage may well feel tonight’s 5-0 victory over Fulham could be the turning point in their season.

Much of the talk going into tonight’s Championship match centred on whether Slavisa Jokanovic should remain in charge after four consecutive defeats. “Will he be sacked if they lose tonight?” one journalist asked in the press room before kick-off.

It is amazing how quickly a mood can change.

The Golden Boys fans, of which there were 2,484 of them, were in fine voice before the match had even started.

By the time 20 minutes was on the clock, Almen Abdi and Troy Deeney had put their team 2-0 up, Fulham’s goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli had been sent off and the Watford Observer had revealed Nigel Gibbs would be returning to the club as assistant coach.

The Watford fans were bouncing - literally.

Deeney added a third before the break and Abdi scored his second with a strike which is likely to win ‘Goal of the Season’ to ensure beyond doubt that the Hornets would return with all three points.

Deeney grabbed a hat-trick in the dying moments to cap off a fine captain’s performance.

The Golden Boys made just the one change as Craig Cathcart replaced Joel Ekstrand at centre back in the same 3-5-2 used during the 1-0 defeat to Cardiff City last week.

The Hornets started the contest in superb fashion and didn’t look like a team who had lost four games on the bounce.

The visitors were at their fluent best from the off and were reminiscent of the side who went so close to securing promotion to the Premier League in 2013.

Watford had several opportunities to take the lead inside the opening quarter of an hour before a goal was even registered.

Daniel Tozser forced Bettinelli to save early on and Gianni Munari flicked the resulting corner wide.

Deeney went into the contest having scored just once in his previous ten outings but he led the line superbly and almost found the net inside seven minutes. Tozser picked out the run of the Hornets captain and whilst his header beat the onrushing Bettinelli, Konstantinos Stafylidis recovered to clear two yards from the line.

Tozser had another effort saved and it was only a matter of time before the Fulham backline buckled.

It arrived in the 15th minute. Gabriele Angella was fouled on the edge of the penalty area and Almen Abdi drilled his effort under the wall and the jumping Deeney to make it 1-0.

It was just reward for Watford’s excellent start and things got even better soon after. Abdi broke forward and slipped Vydra in behind the Fulham defence. He rounded Bettinelli but was brought down in the penalty area. The Fulham stopper was dismissed and replacement Gabor Kiraly dived to his right as Deeney coolly slotted centrally.

It is hard to think of a more one-sided half and the scoring continued nine minutes before the break. A poor clearance dropped on Munari’s head. The Italian knocked the ball down for Deeney and he poked his effort under Kiraly from eight yards out and into the net.

The Golden Boys’ midfield trio were dominating proceedings and Abdi was back to his influential best after a difficult year with injury and fitness issues.

And it was the 28-year-old who increased his side’s advantage six minutes into the second half and in some style. Abdi was given the ball 25 yards from goal and on the half-turn curled a fine strike into the far top corner.

Watford Observer:

Abdi and Tozser dictated the pace of the match and the 62 per cent possession stat for the opening hour does not do the Golden Boys’ dominance justice.

Abdi had a low shot go wide and Tozser’s drive from the corner of the area was parried away as the onslaught continued.

Fulham did not create a chance of note in the opening hour and when Lasse Vigen Christensen did reach the byline and pull back to Hugo Rodallega, Cathcart’s last-ditch blocked maintained their clean sheet.

Kit Symons’ men stemmed the tide as the final quarter approached but didn’t look like troubling Heurelho Gomes. The ex-Spurs goalkeeper did need to tip George Williams’ shot away but it was a routine stop.

Replacement Fernando Forestieri, who gave the ball away for Williams’ chance, should have made it 5-0 when a Juan Carlos Paredes clearance left him one-on-one. The Argentine-born forward attempted to round Kiraly but the trouser-wearing goalkeeper saved at his feet; resulting in the biggest cheer of the night from the suffering home fans.

The Hornets’ first clean sheet in eight games appeared to be at risk when Rodallega was released with two minutes remaining but his half-volley from the edge of the area sailed past the far post.

Fulham’s defending was terrible throughout but, unlike last week’s defeat to Cardiff, the Golden Boys were incredibly clinical.

The emphatic win was secured in injury-time when Deeney was put clean through by Munari and he ignored Forestieri to his left to confidently find the bottom corner.

It was a fitting end to what was a special night at Craven Cottage.

Watford Observer:

Fulham line-up: Bettinelli; Grimmer, Bodurov, Burn, Stafylidis; Parker; Christensen, Fofana (Williams 61); Ruiz (Kiraly 19); Rodallega, McCormack.

Subs: Hutchinson, Zverotić, Hyndman, Roberts, Dembélé.

Watford line-up: Gomes; Bassong, Cathcart, Angella; Paredes, Abdi, Tozser (Guedioura 83), Munari, Anya (Pudil 86); Deeney, Vydra (Forestieri 66).

Bond, Doyley, Dyer, Ighalo.

Referee: Paul Tierney.