Watford backed up their win against Arsenal with another three points as they defeated Burnley 2-1, but the manner of the victory was less comfortable than might have been hoped for against a side which played virtually the whole game with ten men.

First-half goals from Troy Deeney and M’Baye Niang ultimately proved to be enough, but Sean Dyche’s men gave it a real go in the second half and that, combined with the Hornets’ inability to find a third goal, made for a nervy conclusion after Ashley Barnes had pulled one back from the penalty spot.

Burnley had come into the game with only one point and four away goals to their name all season and their task was to get considerably harder from as early as the seventh minute when Jeff Hendrick was shown a straight red card for a foul on Jose Holebas.

The Hornets capitalised on their numerical advantage almost immediately when a fine Niang cross was headed in by Deeney.

And it was the AC Milan loanee who was to double the home side’s advantage in first-half injury-time when he converted a Holebas cross with a superb deft header.

Watford would have been hoping to put the game to bed after the break but sides managed by their former manager are made of more resolute stuff and Heurelho Gomes needed to be at his best to keep out a header from Michael Keane.

Likewise, Tom Heaton did very well to prevent Deeney from scoring a second of the game, but with 13 minutes to go the Clarets were afforded more hope when Barnes converted a penalty after Sebastian Prodl was penalised for handball.

The Hornets had to endure some edgy moments thereafter, but they saw the game out to seal back-to-back Premier League wins for only the second time this season and return to the top ten in the table.

Despite performing so impressively in Tuesday night’s unexpected 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium, Walter Mazzarri opted to make a couple of changes.

Holebas returned from his two-game suspension to replace the benched Miguel Britos, who had been an injury doubt, while new signing Mauro Zarate was also available following his ban and came in for Daryl Janmaat to make his debut.

Former Hornets boss Dyche made just the one change to the starting line-up which defeated Leicester City last time out with Scott Arfield replacing the injured Steven Defour. That meant Deadline Day arrivals Robbie Brady and Ashley Westwood had to settle for a substitutes’ role.

The game looked to be getting off to a relatively low-key start until Niang blotted his home debut by picking up an unnecessary yellow card for a foul on Stephen Ward.

But within two minutes the complexion of the game was to change entirely as Hendrick went through Holebas with a lunging challenge, referee Michael Oliver was on top of the incident and immediately reached for his pocket to produce the red card.

The former Greek international needed a period of treatment before he was able to continue, but the Hornets would have been looking to make the most of their numerical superiority early on and that’s precisely what they did in the tenth minute.

The business end of the move came from the right side of the penalty area where Niang played in an excellent cross and Deeney got ahead of his man to head inside Heaton’s near post and score for the third successive Premier League game and the fourth home meeting running against the Clarets.

The hosts were content to play keep ball thereafter and look for the opportunities when they arose. But having just returned from a two-game ban, Holebas was to pick up yellow card number 11 of the season for an over-zealous challenge on Joey Barton.

Watford hadn’t extended Heaton since taking the lead, but in the 22nd minute the keeper had to make a fine save to tip over a well-struck dipping effort from Niang from outside the area after he had played a smart one-two with Deeney.

Zarate was the next to try his luck from outside the 18-yard box with a right-footed effort which was easier to deal with for Heaton after a Hornets throw-in had been half-cleared to the Argentine.

The Burnley keeper, who was being pressed by Deeney, was fortunate that a mishit clearance landed at the feet of Ben Mee rather than a yellow shirt as Watford found themselves having to be patient in pursuit of a second goal.

Indeed, the hosts had to deal with a dangerous situation in the 31st minute when Valon Behrami committed a foul narrowly outside his own penalty area, but Heurelho Gomes was equal to Barton’s free-kick and helped it over.

An act of petulant frustration earned Etienne Capoue Watford’s third booking soon after, but another chance came for the hosts when Niang was able to run at the Clarets defence and although he miscontrolled the ball, the Frenchman was able to get a second bite at the cherry but Heaton was equal to his low strike.

But the Burnley keeper could do nothing in the 42nd minute when a good pass from Craig Cathcart set Tom Cleverley away, he found Zarate to his left and the Argentine cut into the area, came out and across the area before hitting a right-footed shot that only lacked the required bend to find the far corner and put his side two goals up

The Hornets kept pressing as the opening period drew to a close, with Capoue seeing an on-target effort blocked by a brave Barnes, who caught the ball flush in the face.

But Watford were able to get a second goal before the break in first-half injury-time and it was a gem; Holebas whipped over a fine cross from the left and Niang got across the near post to flick a superb deft header beyond Heaton and into the far corner to celebrate his home debut in memorable fashion.

There was little in the way of goalmouth action at the start of the second half until Gomes was forced into a fine save to push a Keane header behind as the ten-man visitors tried to get themselves back into the game.

Record signing Brady came on for his debut in the 55th minute in place of Andre Gray and it was still the visitors who continued to create more of the problems with their attacking opportunities.

First, they should have done better with a counter-attack after a wasteful Behrami pass had seen possession lost. But while the Swiss midfielder managed to get back to concede a corner, Brady’s whipped in delivery from the resultant set piece saw the ball dangerously bisect the penalty area.

Behrami was to make way for Abdoulaye Doucoure after 64 minutes as Mazzarri made his first change, but the hosts were continuing to make life unnecessarily difficult for themselves at times with their decision making and ball retention.

But Watford did retain the ball to go effect building up to the 70th minute when after numerous patient passes, the ball was played to Holebas, who ventured forward before helping it on to Zarate and he cut the it back for Capoue, whose half-volley was saved by Heaton at his near post.

But the Burnley stopper pulled off an incredible save soon after, somehow keeping out a close-range effort from Deeney after Niang had delivered another delicious cross from the right.

Vicarage Road stood as one to sing and applaud the memory of Graham Taylor in the 72nd minute but five minutes later the visitors were literally handed a route back into the game.

Cathcart initially did superbly well to clear a Barton lob over Gomes off his own goalline but Watford failed to clear their lines and when the ball was driven back in, it struck Prodl’s arm and deflected narrowly wide.

The referee immediately pointed to the spot and after booking the Hornets defender, Barnes’ spot-kick beat Gomes low to his right to make it 2-1, although the Hornets keeper guessed the right way.

Niang’s very encouraging home debut was ended with ten minutes to go when he was replaced by Issac Success and the substitute's first meaningful contribution was to pull a low cross back into the area, but no teammate was able to get on the end of it.

The Clarets knew they were still in with a chance though, and Brady tried to catch Gomes out with a left-footed half-volley on the run but the keeper read it all the way.

Both sides made their final change as the game entered the last five minutes of normal time – Sam Vokes replacing George Boyd and Janmaat coming on for Zarate.

The Hornets looked to be negotiating four minutes of injury time safely enough until Gomes decided to take on Vokes and got away with it and a Cathcart lapse presented Barnes with a shot, but the Watford keeper was able to save.

Deeney then thought he had wrapped up the game when he capitalised on some Burnley lapses at the back to beat Heaton after Success pulled a cross back, but the goal was ruled out.

Burnley had one last chance when Cathcart was booked after taking out Brady and the visitors sent Heaton up for the set piece, but the hosts managed to deal with the danger to secure a second straight win that was a lot harder work than the Hornets might have hoped for going into the second half.

Watford: Gomes; Cathcart, Kaboul, Prodl, Holebas; Behrami (Doucoure 64); Niang (Success 80), Capoue, Cleverley, Zarate (Janmaat 87); Deeney. Not used: Arlauskis, Britos, Watson, Okaka.

Burnley: Heaton; Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward; Arfield (Westwood 77), Hendrick, Barton, Boyd (Vokes 86); Barnes, Gray (Brady 55). Not used: Robinson, Flanagan, Gudmundsson, Tarkowski.

Bookings: Niang for a foul on Ward (5); Hendrick sent off for a foul on Holebas (7); Holebas on Barton (20); Capoue for dissent (33); Prodl for handball (77); Cathcart for a foul on Brady (90).

Attendance: 20,178 (1,871 away fans).

Referee: Michael Oliver.