Watford’s first league match of the season under the Vicarage Road lights produced one of their best performances of the campaign as they delivered a spectrum of qualities to beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 to surely all but mathematically ensure their Premier League stay will extend into a third year.

This was a display that has something of everything, ranging from some very impressive football epitomised by M’Baye Niang’s stunning opening goal and a glorious assist for Troy Deeney to double the lead shortly after the restart, to passionate resilience after being forced to play the last half-an-hour with ten men following a second booking for Miguel Britos.

The Baggies, unsurprisingly, had plenty of the ball in the last 30 minutes, but it was to their opponents’ credit that they were limited to only a few real chances to try and get back in the contest despite their numerical advantage.

Such was the manner in which the game unfolded though, the passion on the pitch was increasingly reflected by the volume in the stands and the full-time roar was on a scale not heard at the ground for some time.

While the ugly side of the game was ultimately needed to see the hosts to a second win in four days and up to ninth in the Premier League, the attractive side of the performance should not be forgotten as Abdoulaye Doucoure once again starred in the midfield anchor role.

Their build-up play was composed, considered and attractive, varied in tempo and used good variety in the angles it came from and on another day they might have been more than two goals to the good before being reduced to ten men.

Some sloppy mistakes did creep into the home side’s play towards the end of the first half though, and they were fortunate not to be pegged back to 1-1 when a Nacer Chadli free-kick struck a post after the same player had also spurned a good opening early on.

With Younes Kaboul sidelined with a hamstring injury, Walter Mazzarri was always going to have to make one change from the side that beat Sunderland on Saturday, but there was no real surprise he also decided to make a second.

Sebastian Prodl came into the centre of defence, which meant Craig Cathcart again started at right-back, and captain Deeney replaced Stefano Okaka up front.

However, there was one unexpected inclusion in the match-day line-up as 18-year-old winger Dion Pereira named on the bench for the first time.

Fresh from taking four points off Arsenal and Manchester United, Tony Pulis opted to leave well alone and named an unchanged side, meaning Hal Robson-Kanu started up front rather than Salomon Rondon.

The Hornets had the bulk of the ball in the opening stages during which they tried to mix their approach work up between building in a considered fashion on the deck and going more direct. They also sought to use the flanks where possible but it was quickly apparent the Baggies would double up on Nordin Amrabat, while Niang also couldn’t find his crossing range in the early stages.

But it was the Baggies who with virtually their first attack, perhaps should have taken the lead in the seventh minute when Robson-Kanu let a Darren Fletcher pass run to Chadli. He got through one-on-one with Heurelho Gomes on the left angle of the 18-yard box and although the Watford keeper made a partial stop, the former Tottenham Hotspur man was able to get to the ball near to the goalpost. However, he lifted the ball back across the face of goal and the opportunity went begging.

West Brom were their typical compact selves early on and there was always the sense that it might take something a bit out of the ordinary to open them up. Niang delivered it in the 13th minute in stunning fashion.

A diagonal ball forward from Cathcart was flicked on by Deeney to the AC Milan loanee, who came inside off the right flank and took on Craig Dawson before hitting a superb right-footed shot that had power and bend as it flew past Ben Foster and into the far corner of his net to make it 1-0 in memorable fashion.

Bouyed by making the breakthrough, the hosts had another opportunity soon after when Amrabat played in a fine low cross from the right that was crying out for someone to attack it at the far post as the ball was too far ahead of Deeney. But unfortunately for Watford, nobody had gambled.

The Hornets were playing well though, keeping possession and looking to move their opponents around in the final third with some intelligent link-up play.

Another chance came and went when Miguel Britos got up above Cathcart to head a Tom Cleverley corner from the left down and wide of Foster’s left-hand post.

There was concern for both sides in the 35th minute when Gomes went through the crowd to punch clear a free-kick, but in doing so took out Niang and Gareth McAuley. After receiving treatment though, both jogged back onto the pitch to continue.

Having been impressive for most of the first half, Watford started to get sloppy in the closing stages of the opening period and one such mistake some them fortunate to escape five minutes before the break.

A loose pass from Cleverley left Britos exposed as Brunt ran at him towards the penalty area, giving the centre-half little option but to concede the free-kick for which he was booked. The set piece was taken by Chadli, who whipped a right-footed shot up and over the wall and the strike grazed Gomes’ right-hand post as it went wide with the keeper beaten.

Robson-Kanu soon levelled up the card count for a foul on Jose Holebas but the Hornets were to suffer a blow in first-half injury time when Prodl, having tried to make it to the break, was forced off with a side problem. Daryl Janmaat took his place.

There was still time before the break for Holebas to feel the painful force of a late Dawson challenge near the touchline. That went unpunished by referee Paul Tierney, but James McClean rightly saw yellow for a kick at the Hornets left-back in injury time and could easily have seen red for violent conduct.

As it transpired that was to be McClean’s last contribution of the night as he was replaced by Matt Phillips at the start of the second period.

Brunt had the first effort of the second 45 minutes with an ambitious long-range effort that went over, but four minutes after the restart Watford had established clear daylight – and again Niang contributed with real quality.

Receiving the ball wide on the left, he played a magnificent lofted curled pass that carved open the Baggies backline in an instant and Deeney didn’t need a second invitation, although he rather bundled the ball past Foster to make it 2-0 as Jonny Evans desperately tried to close him down.

Pulis made his second change in the 56th minute, bringing on James Morrison for McAuley, and his side should have been back in it soon after when Brunt’s lofted free-kick over the top found Chadli coming in at the far post but he screwed his shot wide.

Jake Livermore was booked for a foul on Janmaat, but it took a block from the former Hull City man to possibly prevent his side from then going three down as he deflected a Niang shot wide after one of Watford’s man of the night bore down on goal after latching onto a dreadful pass out of defence.

Livermore then made way for Rondon as Pulis made his final change, but the Hornets almost scored again when Amrabat released Janmaat on the overlap and he played in a final cross which the diving Deeney was narrowly unable to divert with his head.

That could have been a game clincher but moments later there was to be another big moment in the contest Britos was immediately in danger as a through ball saw him involved in a foot race with Rondon. Although the Watford defender was goal side, he did have hold of Rondon’s shirt, the substitute went to ground and Tierney reached for his pocket, pulled out the yellow card and then the red. Significantly though, the linesman was closer to the incident when it happened and he did not flag for a free-kick.

The home side managed to successfully defend the two corners that followed before Mazzarri decided to make the change, bringing on Adrian Mariappa for his first Watford league appearance in almost five years in place of Amrabat.

The Baggies, unsurprisingly, were having most of the possession as the game entered the final 15 minutes, but their opponents were standing firm defensively, albeit while making life difficult for themselves at times with needless errors.

Niang had signalled to come off some minutes previously before he was replaced by Isaac Success in the 79th minute. Within moments, the striker was on the receiving end of a niggly challenge from Allan Nyom, which did little to increase his popularity at Vicarage Road.

The former Watford defender escaped further punishment for that episode but was rightly cautioned for scything down Cleverley a couple of minutes later.

Five minutes of injury time afforded the visitors some extra hope but they were increasingly looking devoid of ideas in the final third as their hosts closed in on a memorable win.

Gomes did have to beat away a Nyom snap-shot in the fourth minute of time added-on and then Morrison scuffed a shot wide, but the final whistle resulted in an outpouring of noise from the home faithful the like of which has rarely been heard this season.

Watford: Gomes; Cathcart, Prodl (Janmaat 45); Britos, Holebas; Doucoure; Amrabat (Mariappa 68), Cleverley, Capoue, Niang; Deeney. Not used: Pantilimon, Success, Zuniga, Okaka, Pereira.

West Bromwich Albion: Foster; Dawson, McAuley (Morrison 56), Evans, Nyom; Livermore (Rondon 61), Fletcher; Brunt, Chadli, McClean (Phillips 46); Robson-Kanu. Not used: Myhill, Yacob, Wilson, Field.

Bookings: Britos for a foul on Brunt (40); Robson-Kanu for a foul on Holebas (43); McClean for a foul on Holebas (45); Livermore for a foul on Janmaat (59); Britos for a foul on Rondon – sent off (61); Nyom for a foul on Cleverley (83).

Attendance: 20,090.

Referee: Paul Tierney.