Just 11 miles separate Vicarage Road from St Albans City’s Clarence Park, worlds away from the stadia new Hornets boss Quique Sanchez Flores is used to operating in, but that was the venue for the Spaniard’s first match in a charge as Watford ran out 4-0 winners.

The former Atletico Madrid boss, who won the Europa League during his time with Los Rojiblancos, also lists the likes of Benfica on his impressive CV. 

But it was the rather more modest surroundings of National League South side St Albans in which he began his Hornets career.

A first half brace from Odion Ighalo proved ample reward for the Golden Boys’ first-half endeavours before Troy Deeney thrashed home a third shortly after the hour mark before Connor Smith struck late to complete the scoring.

New club record signing Etienne Capoue was the only debutant in the first half as Flores picked a strong first starting XI. Daniel Pudil – often left out under Slavisa Jokanovic – began at left-back, whilst Ikechi Anya was given the nod on the opposite side.

Unsurprisingly considering the five divisions between the two, it was Watford who made the brighter start on a bobbly pitch.

Yet for all their possession the Golden Boys were struggling to break down a resilient, well-organised and compact St Albans defence.

The first chance went the way of the Hornets, Almen Abdi prodding into the midriff of goalkeeper Ashlee Jones following patient build-up.

Fernando Forestieri – employed on the left-hand side of midfield – was next to try his luck, shooting low into Jones’ grasp.

And the impish Argentine went closer still after 22 minutes when he manufactured enough space to fire narrowly wide of the near post, rippling the side netting in the process.

But Jimmy Gray and Graham Golds’ men were not total spectators in what was their second outing of week following a 4-0 defeat by Dagenham & Redbridge on Monday, and twice in quick succession the lively Lewis Hilliard shot over.

The Saints were left to rue those misses, though, as in the 32nd minute Ighalo opened the scoring, demonstrating the predatory instinct which prompted interest from Chinese said Hebei China Fortune last week.

The breakthrough arrived when Anya bustled down the right and over-hit a cross which only the quick thinking of Pudil rescued, the Czech hooking back into the centre for Ighalo to nod home.

Watford Observer:

A second goal followed just two minutes later, Ighalo again on target following good build-up play which involved new-boy Capoue, bending low past Jones into the far corner in a crowded penalty area.

There were wholesale changes for both sides at the break, with Watford handing debuts to summer acquisitions Sebastian Prodl and Giedrius Arlauskis.

Meanwhile, Lewis McGugan made his return to the fold after spending the second half of last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.

The first chance of the second period went the way of Deeney, who controlled a long ball into the edge of the penalty area with his thigh before stabbing over with the aid of a deflection.

Watford snatched a third in the 67th minute when Deeney slammed home on the run after substitute Lloyd Dyer had seen his shot cleared off the line by Saints substitute Darren Locke.

Watford Observer:

St Albans still retained a threat and never more so than when substitute Locke drew a fine point-blank save from Arlauskis following a corner.

Billy Medlock went close soon after, testing the Lithuanian cap with a low shot from an acute angle.

Substitute Smith completed the job at the death, thumping home with the aid of a deflection from distance.

Inevitably the constant stream of replacements interrupted the flow of the game but the Hornets were comfortable in seeing out the win.

They will face a step up in opposition on Saturday with the trip to face an AFC Wimbledon side managed by old boys Neal Ardley and Neil Cox.

St Albans City first half: Jones; Kyriacou, Beckles, Longe-King, Chappell; Green, Allen, Comley, Young; Bishop, Hilliard.

Subs not used: Alexander (GK).

Watford: Gomes (Arlauskis HT); Anya (Paredes 72), Angella (Prodl HT), Cathcart (Belkalem 59), Pudil (Hoban HT); Watson (McGugan HT), Capoue (Smith 53); Forestieri (Dyer 55), Abdi (Lewis 67), Ighalo (Vydra HT); Deeney (Byers 82).

Subs not used: Gilmartin (GK), Young, Doherty, Martin, Fabbrini.