Watford 1 West Brom 0 - Report and pictures
Alan Pardew is on the brink of losing his job after Albion slumped to their sixth straight defeat in a row after gifting Troy Deeney a winner 13 minutes from time.
The Baggies actually played better than recent weeks and at one stage, looked more likely to win, but they were once more let down by Salomon Rondon's finishing and errors elsewhere.
Having battled hard for 77 minutes, miscommunication between Chris Brunt and Grzegorz Krychowiak allowed Will Hughes to somehow steal possession in his own half before sliding Deeney through on goal.
Unlike Rondon, Watford's No.9 just needed one chance, and he lifted the ball over Ben Foster with ease to give Javi Gracia his second 1-0 home win in a row and put Pardew on the brink.
It's more than seven years since Albion last lost five league games in a row, and this run has left the Baggies eight points from safety and destined for the drop.
After one win in 15 league games, it could spell the end for Pardew too.
After Deeney's goal went in, the home crowd sang 'You're getting sacked in the morning' at Pardew, and they were joined by plenty in the away end too.
Although this was not the same gutless performance as last weekend's defeat to Huddersfield, the result was still the same.
Pardew promised to make changes to his out-of-form team but he only made two, bringing Jake Livermore in for the injured Gareth Barry and Chris Brunt in for James McClean.
But the biggest change came in the formation, as Pardew moved Jay Rodriguez out to the left wing to match Watford's five-man midfield, seven days after Brunt had criticised him in the dressing room for failing to do that against Huddersfield.
And Rodriguez made an immediate impact out there, showing some quick feet on the byline to escape clear from Daryl Janmaat before a clearance looped off him and into the box.
It fell to Grzegorz Krychowiak on the penalty spot, and he set himself before firing goalwards but his shot was blocked by Adrian Mariappa.
Watford mustered up a similar chance shortly afterwards when Andre Carrillo, who was brought in for injured Barcelona loanee Gerard Deulofeu in their only change, beat Kieran Gibbs in the air.
The ball fell to Roberto Pereyra in the box, but his shot was blocked by Gibbs and deflected behind.
Albion had started the game brightly and thanks to some sloppy Watford passing, they were winning possession around the half-way line before flooding forward.
When Salomon Rondon stole the ball off Etienne Capoue just before the 20 minute mark, he had created a brief overload, but instead of playing the ball square he tried to go round the outside of his man and the chance went begging.
While some of the crowd were concerned by a smoking electronic advertising hoarding, Rondon had another chance, but this time he put his header from a Matt Phillips cross just over.
Watford started to gain control of possession though and seven minutes before the break they drew Ben Foster into the first save of the game with a sweeping move up the pitch.
As Gibbs was caught out of position and Evans struggled to get over, the ball was laid into the path of Daryl Janmaat, who had made a burst run from right-back, and his shot looked destined for the bottom corner before Foster stuck out a boot to toe it around the corner.
Sebastian Prodl headed the resulting corner inches over the crossbar as the Hornets turned the screw.
An even, if uneventful first-half ended with Brunt curling a free-kick onto the roof of the net.
But there was no doubt who started the second half on top.
After leaving Watford out in the cold following an extra-long team talk, the Baggies threatened several times in the first five minutes.
It was Phillips who broke down the right first of all, and he lifted the ball over Holebas before Rondon slashed a volley that arced away from the goal.
Shortly afterwards, Jonny Evans hit the post from a narrow angle, and then Rondon beat the offside trap but saw his shot saved by Orestis Karnezis.
Richarlison tried an audacious bicycle kick soon after, but the best chance of the lot came when Gibbs cut inside onto his right foot and floated an inch-perfect cross onto Rondon's head.
Heading is supposed to be the Venezuelan's forte, his saving grace, but he put the free header from six yards out wide.
Watford were misplacing passes and were struggling to control the ball, they were there for the taking.
But just like the first half, the hosts grew into proceedings and Albion were forced to weather a yellow storm for the next 10 minutes after that.
The Baggies came roaring back though, and there was a refreshing urgency from the players, who were taking quick throw-ins and harrying their opposition.
With 20 minutes to go, Phillips whipped a brilliant ball into the six yard box that Rodriguez nearly stopped to head in but great covering defending from Janmaat scrambled the ball behind.
But just when it looked like Albion were starting to put some pressure on, a calamitous error in midfield gifted Watford the lead.
Albion had the ball in Watford's half but somehow Krychowiak and Brunt managed to get in each other's way and lose possession to substitute Will Hughes, who then sent Deeney through on goal in a flash.
Foster rushed out but Deeney lifted the ball over him calmly to put the Hornets in front.
Pardew finally made his first substitute of the game after that, sending James McClean on for Krychowiak, but the horse had already bolted.
With four minutes left he sent on Sam Field and Oliver Burke, but even though the £15m winger nearly sniffed out half a chance late on, there was nothing either could do.
Pardew's team showed more fight this weekend, and after he listened to Brunt's advice to play five in midfield, they were not so overrun in midfield, but the results remain the same.
There were strains of 'Alan Pardew, get out of our club,' coming from the away end at full-time, although not everyone joined in. Those that were singing, however, might just get their wish.
78 GOAL WATFORD - Miscommunication between Brunt and Krychowiak gifts Will Hughes the ball. He sends Deeney away, who lifts the ball over Foster.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Troy Deeney - Took his only chance of the game and caused Evans trouble all afternoon.
POSITION IN THE TABLE
20th, with 20 points from 29 games.
Watford (4-2-3-1): Karnezis; Janmaat, Prodl, Mariappa, Holebas; Doucoure, Capoue; Carrillo (Hughes 65), Pereyra, Richarlison (Okaka 55); Deeney. Unused sub: Gomes, Britos, Gray, Lukebakio, Zeegelaar.
Albion (4-5-1): Foster; Dawson, Hegazi, Evans Gibbs; Phillips, Krychowiak, Livermore (Field 87), Brunt, Rodriguez (Burke 87); Rondon. Unused subs: Myhill, Nyom, Yacob, McClean, McAuley.
Referee: Paul Tierney (Wigan)