Watford continued their pre-season campaign with a 4-1 victory over German fourth division side SC Verl this evening. 

Odion Ighalo netted a brace in the comprehensive win while there were also goals for wingers Ikechi Anya and Lloyd Dyer.

Hamadi Al Ghaddioui grabbed the consolation for Verl from the penalty spot after Anya was penalised for handball.

The Hornets lined-up in what appears to be Quique Sanchez Flores’ preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. Heurelho Gomes started in goal behind a back four of Tommie Hoban, Sebastian Prodl, Craig Cathcart and Daniel Pudil.

Ben Watson and Etienne Capoue were the holding midfielders while Almen Abdi, Ighalo and Anya were fielded behind Troy Deeney.

The first clear chance of the contest arrived in the fifth minute and it went to the hosts.

Fabian Grosseschallau fired a 25-yard free-kick towards goal and only an excellent save from Gomes stopped the ball from dipping into the top corner.

From that point Watford took control of the half. Abdi directed a presentable half volley wide from ten yards but it didn’t take long for the Hornets to break the deadlock.

It came from a predicable source, Ighalo. There didn’t seem much danger when Cathcart headed clear but the Nigerian outmuscled his opponent, raced onto the loose ball and coolly slotted past the hosts’ goalkeeper.

The chances continued. Abdi had a tame free-kick saved before Deeney missed two opportunities to get on the scoresheet.

Capoue was far from his best during the opening 40 minutes but the Hornets’ record signing created the visitors’ second goal of the evening.

The French midfielder burst into the penalty area, drew the Verl goalkeeper and covering defender, before sliding a pass to the unmarked Ighalo for the easiest of finishes.

And it was 3-0 before the interval as Anya shifted the ball into space 12 yards out before drilling his shot into the net.

At the break changes were inevitably made. Giedrius Arlauskis replaced Gomes in goal, Jose Holebas came on for Daniel Pudil at left-back and Lloyd Dyer was introduced in place of Hoban.

Anya subsequently switched to right full-back with Dyer occupying the left flank in front of Holebas.

The heavens opened in the second period but Verl were able to close the floodgates that had been breached late into the opening period.

Capoue came close from 25-yards and Deeney was again denied before Matej Vydra, Gabriele Angella and Diego Fabbrini replaced Ighalo, Prodl and Abdi either side of the hour mark.

The hosts, who had barely threatened, were then awarded a spot kick after a cross stuck the arm of Anya. Centre-back Al Ghaddioui stepped up and fired his spot kick off the crossbar and past Arlauskis.

It was the Scottish international’s last involvement as he was then replaced by youngster Dennon Lewis.

Watford’s next opportunity fell to Fabbrini. The Italian exchanged passes with Dyer before directing his shot narrowly wide.

With 18 minutes remaining Dyer scored the goal of the contest. The fleet-footed winger sped past the Verl defence and coolly chipped his finish over the hosts’ stopper.

Sean Murray, who is continuing his recovery from a knee injury, replaced Watson for the final 16 minutes.

It is the first time the 21-year-old has played for the Hornets’ first-team since the FA Cup game at Chelsea in January.

His first involvement was to swing in a corner which Deeney volleyed into the ground and bounced over the crossbar.

That proved to be the last meaningful chance of a contest that Watford comfortably saw out.

The Hornets are much more likely to be tested on Friday night when they take on Eintracht Braunschweig.

Watford: Gomes (Arlauskis HT) Hoban (Dyer HT), Prodl (Angella 58), Cathcart, Pudil (Holebas HT); Anya (Lewis 67), Watson (Murray 74), Capoue, Abdi (Fabbrini 63); Deeney (Byers 80), Ighalo (Vydra 57).

Unused substitutes: Gilmartin, Belkalem, Johnson, Young, Doherty, Martin, Behrami, Jakubiak.