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Vicarage Road Stadium (ATT 11,894) 18th September 2012 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: D Drysdale

Watford Watford vs Brighton and Hove Albion Brighton

ft

Brighton 1

C Mackail-Smith (pen 50)

Seagulls spot on against Hornets

Last Updated: 18/09/12 10:25pm

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Mackail-Smith: Hit Brighton's winner

Mackail-Smith: Hit Brighton's winner

Craig Mackail-Smith's sixth goal in four games was enough to sink Watford as Brighton won 1-0 at Vicarage Road in the Championship on Tuesday.

The in-form striker grabbed the only goal from the penalty spot early in the second half for high-flying Brighton.

It meant Seagulls boss Gus Poyet was able to put one over on his old Chelsea team-mate Gianfranco Zola as they met as managers for the first time.

Zola's Hornets, still a work in progress after their summer overhaul, did have their chances with Fernando Forestieri coming closest when his shot clipped the crossbar, while they could have had a couple of penalties of their own.

But they could not prevent Brighton, who have designs on a promotion tilt this term, collecting their fourth straight win.

Watford made the brighter start, though, with Mark Yeates firing wide from 25 yards and Almen Abdi also off target from just inside the area.

But Brighton grew stronger the longer the first half went on and they could have taken a 23rd-minute lead when Will Buckley sent in a dangerous cross, only for Mackail-Smith to prod his effort wide.

Buckley was combining well with Wayne Bridge down Watford's right and when the winger skipped past Marco Cassetti his pull-back fell to Dean Hammond, but Hornets goalkeeper Manuel Almunia was out quickly to block the shot.

Moments later Bridge's backheel sent Buckley to the byline again and this time Hammond volleyed the cross over the crossbar.

A superb ball from Bridge then put Mackail-Smith in behind the home defence but the striker's control let him down and the chance disappeared, before Gary Dicker shot straight at Almunia before half-time.

The deadlock was broken five minutes into the second half, with Watford architects of their own downfall.

Piccoli Neuton gave the ball away on the edge of the area and as Mackail-Smith nipped into the box he was brought down by Daniel Pudil.

Referee Darren Drysdale pointed to the spot and Mackail-Smith, a boyhood Watford fan, drilled the spot-kick straight down the middle to beat Almunia.

Watford almost grabbed a leveller when Pudil's cross was met by Argentinian forward Forestieri, whose shot hit the top of Albion's crossbar.

Teenage substitute Nathaniel Chalobah then whipped in an inviting cross but Pudil could not keep his header on target, while Watford had penalty shouts of their own when Jonathan Hogg and then Chalobah tumbled in the area.

But Brighton could have won by more with Mackail-Smith firing just too high and Almunia saving from Hammond.

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Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Leicester City 43 93
2 Burnley 43 86
3 Derby County 43 78
4 Queens Park Rangers 43 73
5 Wigan Athletic 42 70
6 Brighton and Hove Albion 43 65
7 Reading 43 64
8 Ipswich Town 43 64
9 Nottingham Forest 43 62
10 Bournemouth 43 62
11 Blackburn Rovers 43 61
12 Watford 42 60
13 Middlesbrough 43 58
14 Bolton Wanderers 43 55
15 Sheffield Wednesday 43 53
16 Leeds United 43 53
17 Huddersfield Town 43 47
18 Birmingham City 42 43
19 Doncaster Rovers 43 43
20 Millwall 43 43
21 Charlton Athletic 42 42
22 Blackpool 43 42
23 Barnsley 43 39
24 Yeovil Town 43 37