Watford 3-0 Portsmouth
IT'S BECOMING a bit of a cliché to say, but Watford, frankly, are a force to reckoned with when on live television.
Three out of three so far this season, QPR and Norwich their previous victims with nine points out of nine, nine goals scored and just three conceded.
Watford were always in control in this one despite taking the lead just a few minutes before half time. In fact, Portsmouth's best chance came from a Lloyd Doyley error opposed to any sort of creativity or guile from the visitors.
Malky Mackay named the same eleven that dispatched with Cardiff on Tuesday afternoon.
Steve Cotterill was left with just three outfield subs on the bench as Richard Hughes and Michael Brown were unable to play due to contract wrangles. Star performers Liam Lawrence and Dave Kitson both saw their loans expire before they could sign permanently and feature.
'Keeper Jamie Ashdown was fit to start meaning Darryl Flahavan was once again on the bench for Pompey. Skipper John Eustace mad his 100th Hornet's appearance.
Watford had the brighter start of the two and Danny Graham was well denied early on by Flahavan who pushed his curling effort into the path of Marvin Sordell.
Will Buckley blazed a half-volley over after Martin Taylor's knockdown found the in-form winger from close range.
Marvin Sordell also came close, engineering a chance for himself from the left before seeing his effort saved.
Watford's pressure finally told in the 43rd minute but not before Lloyd Doyley nodded a cross onto his own crossbar via Scott Loach's greasy palms.
From a corner Andrew Taylor lashed home the first of his 169 game professional career with his trusty left peg.
After the corner was cleared Taylor cracked the ball back into the top corner from the edge of the area, fully on the volley, just four days before the end of an impressive loan spell.
Seven minutes after half-time Marvin Sordell grabbed another goal to add to his increasingly-impressive seasons tally, racing clear having been set free by Danny Graham to slide home when one-on-one.
Graham then wrapped the points up to clear any remaining New Years Day hangovers at the Vic' when he slipped a low effort under Ashdown on his left peg, 13 in the league, 15 in total a very impressive return for the hitman.
In the 90th minute former Reading and Colchester full back Greg Halford earned a straight red for a head-to-head clash with a Hornet's player right under the nose of the referee leaving Pompey with yet another personnel headache.
Onwards and upwards once more for the Hornet's who will now turn their attentions to extending the loans of Jordon Mutch and goal-hero Andrew Taylor in order to keep marching on.
The one sour note for Watford was the calf injury sustained by skipper John Eustace with half an hour to go leaving him a doubt for Monday's tie with Scunthorpe.
Watford: Loach; Doyley, Mariappa, M.Taylor, A.Taylor; Eustace (c) (Jenkins); Cowie, Mutch, Buckley (Whichelow); Sordell(Massey) and Graham.
Subs not used: Gilmartin (gk); Bennett, Walker and Thompson.
Portsmouth: Ashdown; Mokoena, Sonko (Hreidarsson), Ward, Dickinson; Halford, Mullins, Kanu, Utaka; Cifti (Kilbey) and Nugent.
Subs not used: Flahavan (gk); Rocha.
Referee: Mr A D'Urso (Essex)
Attendance: 12 577