Watford progressed on a level playing field with Brentford, second in the Sky Bet Championship after claiming a 2-0 win over struggling Wycombe at Vicarage Road.
Two goals from Andre Gray were enough for the Hornets, who now have an automatic promotion spot in their sights following the Bees’ loss to leaders Norwich.
Watford gave midfielder Philip Zinckernagel a first start in the league, while the Chairboys welcomed Daryl Horgan, captain Joe Jacobson and Ryan Tafazolli.
The home side almost got off to a perfect start after just four minutes when Adam Masina found a great position in the box after a Ken Sema corner but failed to make the connection with the ball.
Despite some pressure from the outside, which forced two turns in a row, it was Watford who took the lead after a quarter of an hour.
Kiko Femenia found space on the right flank and crossed the ball at the bottom for Gray to follow closely and score her second goal of the season.
The right side continues to be the target of Watford, Ismaila Sarr and Femenia in particular keen to exploit the area.
Sarr tried to double the lead after 35 minutes when his powerful solo run left him on the edge of the box, but his buckled effort went way past the post.
Watford looked more and more menacing and Wycombe goalkeeper David Stockdale was called into action twice in a row after 36 minutes. He deflected a cross from Sarr before blocking Sema’s follow-up.
Wycombe came out in a more positive frame of mind after the restart, putting their hosts on the sidelines, although they weren’t able to create an opportunity with their possession.
They were defeated by Watford’s sharpness in the 57th minute as they parted with an attack from Wycombe.
The ball finally found its way to Zinckernagel and the newbie slipped to Gray for the forward to pass Stockdale for his second of the night.
It seemed to take the sting away from both the game and any thought of Wycombe setting up a comeback, with Watford chasing a third.
Zinckernagel nearly scored an impressive performance with a goal after 82 minutes but his shot was saved well by Stockdale.
The only sour note for Watford was captain Tom Cleverley limping late after falling on the pitch.