WATFORD EDGED out Barnsley to move closer to Championship safety in poor game in difficult conditions at Vicarage Road.
Watford were unchanged from Tuesday’s win at Millwall and started brightly without fashioning any opportunities.
The cold day meant for a hard surface which was difficult to get the ball down and play on and both sides resorted to long ball tactics which struggled to pay off.
Despite this Watford were able to fashion the best chances of the first half. John Eustace fired narrowly wide when Nyron Nosworthy had laid the ball off to him following a deep cross.
Alex Kacaniklic also tested Steele in the Barnsley goal when he went on a surging run down the left before cutting onto his right foot and unleashing an effort. Troy Deeney also wasted a good opportunity when after Lee Hodson had a made a run down the right Deeney managed to get his header all wrong from the cross when well positioned.
Watford did take the lead ten minutes before half time through a brilliant goal from John Eustace. After Sean Murray had blasted a free kick into the wall, Eustace steadied himself before unleashing an overhead kick which sent the ball into the bottom corner off the post.
Half Time: 1-0
The second half turned into a turgid affair with Watford content to sit on their lead and Barnsley unable to break Watford down.
Watford doubled their lead midway through the second half when John Eustace seized onto a loose ball on the edge of the Barnsley box and bundled his way through before finishing coolly past Steele.
Following the second Watford goal, Barnsley started to throw caution to the wind and almost pulled a goal back when Scott Wiseman headed a near post header straight at Loach.
Barnsley did pull a goal back when Craig Davies found space on the right and whipped in a deep cross that Scott Goldbourne fired in at the back post.
Despite some late Barnsley pressure they failed to create any more chances and Watford saw the game out to record back to back wins and rise up to 16th in the table.
Watford: Loach; Hodson, Nosworthy, Mariappa, Doyley; Murray, Eustace (c), Hogg, Kacaniklic (Buaben); Deeney & Garner.
Subs: Bond (gk), Dickinson, Yeates & Iwelumo.
Barnsley: Steele; Edwards (c), Foster, McNulty (Doyle), Wiseman; Done (Dagnall), Perkins, Smith, Tonge (Goldbourne); Gray & Davies.
Subs: Preece (gk) & Hassell.
Attendance: 11 036
Referee: Mr R East.