An injury and suspension-hit Watford saw their downturn in form continue as they suffered a third defeat in four matches and finished a game with ten men for the second fixture running as West Bromwich Albion beat them 3-1 at the Hawthorns this afternoon.

Set pieces yet again proved to be the Hornets undoing in the first half as Jonny Evans headed home from a corner and Chris Brunt netted with a deflected free-kick after the visitors had enjoyed the bulk of the possession but were unable to translate it into anything tangible.

Watford’s play became increasingly more purposeful as the second half progressed and they looked like they could battle back for a point after Christian Kabasele reduced the deficit with his first Hornets goal.

But their hopes suffered a major blow in the closing stages when Roberto Pereyra was sent off following a touchline scuffle with substitute James McClean and Matt Phillips make the points safe with the Baggies’ third goal as the game entered injury time.

With Miguel Britos and Valon Behrami both suspended and Younes Kaboul ruled out with injury in the build-up to the game, Walter Mazzarri already had to make three changes from the side that lost 1-0 at home to Stoke City last weekend. But the Hornets boss was also without Daryl Janmaat after it emerged he had been involved in a bad training ground collision with Adrian Mariappa that left both players with serious facial injuries and possibly out for several weeks.

Camilio Zuniga and Kabasele came into a makeshift back four, Adlene Guedioura replaced Behrami in the middle of the park while Mazzarri opted to give Stefano Okaka a first start alongside Troy Deeney in attack.

Such were Watford’s lack of defensive options, first year professional Andrew Eleftheriou was among the substitutes that also featured the fit-again Isaac Success and a rare appearance for Abdoulaye Doucoure.

The Baggies came into the match off the back of a three-game unbeaten run and, unsurprisingly, Tony Pulis opted to field an unchanged team after Salomon Rondon pulled out of training on Thursday with suspected tonsillitis.

Both sides looked to be positive from the kick-off but it was former Hornets stopper Ben Foster who was the first goalkeeper called into serious action in the second minute when he tipped over Nordin Amrabat’s rising 25-yard drive.

The visitors continued to be on the front foot in the opening stages and after another Vicarage Road old boy, Allan Nyom, had blocked Pereyra off the ball on the right, Zuniga’s free-kick into the box fell for Etienne Capoue, but he lifted his shot over.

Phillips had the Baggies’ first effort of the afternoon in the 10th minute when he came inside off the left and jinked his way past Guedioura, but his curled attempt from 20 yards cleared the bar.

Gareth McAuley received the first yellow card of the match four minutes later for preventing Amrabat, who had started on the left of midfield, from potentially breaking away into space after the Baggies centre-half had been played into trouble.

But within a minute the home side were to be in front and, in truth, it was far too easy for them as Watford were again undone by a set piece.

The goal came after Jose Holebas had conceded a corner to the right of goal, Brunt drifted in a deep delivery and Evans was able to get up relatively unhindered to head past Heurelho Gomes and make it 1-0.

Rondon was to have an opportunity soon after following a ball in from the left but this time the striker headed wide of the target.

The Hornets tried to dust themselves down though, and had the next chance in the 23rd minute when an on-target Amrabat shot hit Okaka after Pereyra had got in round the back on the right to pull the ball back after Zuniga had slipped the ball to the former Juventus midfielder in space.

Watford continued to hold their own but following a scrappy passage of play, their afternoon was to get even more difficult in the 33rd minute.

Guedioura was penalised for a foul on Brunt around 25 yards and after the free-kick was laid off, the Northern Ireland international hit a left-footed daisy-cutter that took a deflection before it beat Gomes’ dive to his left to double the Baggies’ lead.

It could have got even worse for the Hornets moments later when Nyom was able to get away down the side and round of the back of the visiting defence and his dangerous low centre went right across the six-yard box with nobody able to get a touch.

Watford then had the better of play for much of the closing stages of the first half, with Amrabat continuing to look their most likely creative threat, but two minutes before the break West Brom weren’t too far away again from another corner when Craig Dawson flashed a header over following Phillips’ delivery from the left.

The Hornets were to have another escape within 30 seconds of the restart when Brunt’s ball in from the left was allowed to run through to James Morrison and he put a left-footed half-volley onto the roof of the net.

Dawson hit an ambitious 25-yard drive high and wide soon after following more positive approach work by the Baggies, but then came Watford’s first opening of the second half when Amrabat was able to get to the byline on the right and pull back a cross which the on-rushing Deeney mishit and the effort was blocked by McAuley with Okaka lurking.

Back came the Baggies with Brunt getting in a cross from the right but Rondon was able to make a clean enough contact as the ball drifted wide. But West Brom had an even better opportunity when Phillips crossed from the opposite flank and Brunt stabbed the ball narrowly wide of the far post, with Holebas doing just enough to squeeze him out.

But for an excellent save from Foster though, the visitors would have been back in the game on the hour when the former Manchester United keeper did superbly to back-track and tip over after an Amrabat cross had flicked off Evans’ head towards his own net.

However, Watford only had a few more seconds to wait to score as the resulting corner from the right was glanced on by Sebastian Prodl, it rebounded loose into the six-yard area and Kabasele managed to squeeze the ball over the line to net his first goal for the Golden Boys and make it 2-1.

Amrabat ended another jinking run with a relatively tame shot which Foster held and the game continued with the visitors in the ascendency, until Phillips was allowed too much space on the left and he struck a right-footed shot which didn’t go too far wide of the far post.

Pulis was the first manager to make a change in the 75th minute when Nacer Chadli replaced Morrison but Mazzarri soon followed suit with Zuniga making way for Odion Ighalo.

The chance Watford craved to get back on terms arrived moments later when a ball forward was intelligently chested back by Deeney into the path of the on-rushing Pereyra, who opted to try and take it around Foster rather than strike it first time and the keeper got just enough on the ball to cause the Argentine to knock it behind.

Brunt made way for McClean in the 80th minute with the visitors continuing to knock at the door with West Brom not having themselves by defending increasingly deep.

The Baggies escaped again when after great tenacity by Deeney had seen him win two challenges where the odds were against him, Guedioura played in a dangerous low ball from the right and again Foster did just enough to prevent Okaka from turning it home.

Watford would still have fancied their chances of getting something from the game at that stage but with five minutes to go they were to have a player sent off for the second game running.

It began when Pereyra got involved in a tussle with McClean in front of the dug outs and the Watford midfielder then took exception as the Baggies substitute kicked the ball straight at him. An unseemly scuffle then broke out between players from both sides but after comparative calm had been restored and referee Graham Scott had held a lengthy inquest with his assistant and fourth official Mike Jones, Pereyra was dismissed, McClean escaped with a yellow card and Deeney was also booked for his part in what happened.

Phillips then made the points safe as the game entered the first of six minutes of injury time when he received the ball on the edge of the Hornets box and struck a fine left-footed shot into the far corner to make it 3-1.

Jerome Sinclair came on for his Hornets debut in place of Okaka in the fourth minute added on but it was the Baggies who moved up the field as their opponents dropped to tenth.

West Bromwich Albion: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom; Fletcher, Yacob; Brunt (McClean 80), Morrison (Chadli 75), Phillips; Rondon (Robson-Kanu 88). Not used: Palmer, Olsson, Gardner, Galloway.

Watford: Gomes; Zuniga (Ighalo 77), Prodl, Kabasele, Holebas; Pereyra, Guedioura, Guedioura, Amrabat; Deeney, Okaka (Sinclair 90). Not used: Pantilimon, Success, Doucoure, Watson, Eleftheriou.

Bookings: McAuley for a foul on Amrabat (24); Pereyra sent off for violent conduct (88); McClean for a foul on Pereyra (88); Deeney for dissent (88).

Referee: Graham Scott.