An Andre Gray brace got Watford back to winning ways as they beat bottom of the league Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 at Vicarage Road.

The striker, who has struggled to find form throughout this season, found the net either side of the half time break to give his team the win and maintain their pressure on the automatic promotion spots.

The Hornets went into the match looking to recover from a 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth on Saturday that had ended their four-match winning streak.

The Chairboys on the other hand were hoping to turn their inconsistency into something positive, having picked up two wins, two defeats and a draw from their previous five games.

They would leave with a 21st defeat of the season as the hosts controlled the game throughout and perhaps could have scored more had they been more clinical in attack.

Watford head coach Xisco Munoz was forced to make a couple of changes with both Nathaniel Chalobah and Joao Pedro ruled out with suspensions and Dan Gosling and Achraf Lazaar picking up minor hamstring strains after the loss at the weekend.

Philip Zinckernagel made his first league start while Gray was also brought back into the fold. William Troost-Ekong replaced Craig Cathcart in the centre of defence, while Maurizio Pochettino, Mason Barrett and Isaac Success were surprise inclusions on the bench.

Ahead of the match it was revealed that Gray had begun the process of applying for a Jamaican passport with a view to playing for their national team in the future.

He did his international prospects no harm at all when he connected with Kiko Femenia’s cross from the right of the penalty area in the 15th minute to give the Hornets the lead after an open start to the contest.

The trick was almost repeated less than ten minutes later as Femenia crossed once again, but this time an untimely deflection took the ball into David Stockdale’s gloves with Gray lurking in the centre.

Wycombe’s coaching staff seemed terrified of Watford attacking from the wings with loud cries of “no crosses!” ringing out whenever the hosts attacked the channels.

Ismaila Sarr almost punished them from such a position after he showed a great turn of pace to get away from Joe Jacobson but a clip on the winger’s heels sent him tumbling in the box.

Although referee Geoff Eltringham put his whistle to his lips, he decided against awarding the spot kick after some deliberation.

At the other end of the pitch, the Chairboys’ forays forward were brief and mostly harmless, save for a few nervy moments from set pieces, while the Hornets looked like harming the visitors every time they attacked, but lacked decisiveness in the final third.

A teasing cross from Tom Cleverley found Adam Masina unmarked in the six-yard box, but instead of shooting the full-back opted to head across goal and Wycombe were able to guide the ball to safety.

Gray then picked up a loose ball and played it to Sarr, who was beginning to cause innumerable problems for Jacobson.

On this occasion he avoided a couple of challenges on the edge of the area before curling wide with a shot when he had options in the penalty area.

Gray and Sarr then switched roles, with the latter once again taking his turn to be provider. His cross from the right of the area was just nudged away from the striker’s feet at the last second by Stockdale before the goalkeeper recovered well to deny Sema on the rebound.  

Chances then dried up for both sides as Wanderers managed to get more of a foothold in the contest. The final opportunity of the half fell to Zinckernagel, who tried to beat Stockdale from range in time added on, but he powered well over the top and the Hornets had to settle for a one goal lead at the break.

It was a lead they were perhaps fortunate to retain two minutes into the second half as Stockdale’s long ball delivery from a free kick was nodded into the path of David Wheeler who prodded past Bachmann into the net, only for the linesman to rule it out for offside.

Replays suggested it may not have been the correct decision, with the visitors’ coaching staff adamant it was a bad call, shouting “lino, it was on!” at the referee’s assistant.

There was no flag raised when Gray strayed beyond the Wycombe back line to latch onto Zinckernagel’s through ball ten minutes later after Femenia and Sarr had combined well on the right once again.

The striker kept his composure to place the ball past Stockdale into the bottom corner of the net for his and his side’s second of the night.

Two almost became three just moments later when Zinckernagel carried the ball towards the edge of the area before letting fly with a swerving effort that flashed just wide of the goalkeeper’s near post.

The Dane tried his luck from the other side of the box with little over ten minutes remaining, but was denied by Stockdale. Gray's improvised effort on the rebound was skewed into the path of Sarr, but he could only slice well wide with the ball squirming away from him.

Nevertheless, Watford had already done more than enough to claim the win and they now have something to build on when they welcome Nottingham Forest this Saturday.