Middlesbrough 2-1 Watford
DANNY GRAHAM marked his return to Middlesbrough with his 26th goal of the season but the Hornet`s went down 2-1 in Teesside thanks to goals from Scott McDonald and former Watford loanee, Andrew Taylor.
Centre-back Aidy Mariappa and manager Malky Mackay both saw red during an ill-tempered clash were referee Mr Sutton was the centre of attention.
Mackay was sent off after accidentally stepping onto the pitch to trap the ball to resume play quickly after some shocking time-wasting tactics from 'Boro.
'Sometimes common sense should prevail, I think. It was purely over exuberance on my part, nothing else over than that," the gaffer said to the Official Site
'There was no argument over whether I was on the pitch, because clearly I was, but the minute he tried to send me to the stands, their players and manager were suggesting that it was crazy, I felt that a bit of common sense could have maybe prevailed.'
Mariappa will now miss his first game in a while after 114 consecutive league starts for the Goldenboys. The Harrow-born defender was dismissed for two bookings following a late challenge and an over exuberant grappling contest with a 'Boro player.
Watford were able to-recall Lee Hodson in a side that otherwise remained the same with Lloyd Doyley replaced due to injury.
Middlesbrough started the brighter with Nicky Bailey testing Scott Loach with a distance volley before seeing his free kick clawed away by the Hornet`s number one.
Graham saw a good penalty shout ignored when he was wrestled to the floor inside the penalty area early on as the Hornet`s struggled to make space in midfield.
Having soaked up the home side`s pressure Watford then took a surprise lead after 26 minutes when Danny Graham was slipped in before rounding a defender to fire Watford into the lead from 12 yards.
The former 'Boro trainee declined to celebrate out of respect to his former employers.
Watford`s lead lasted just five minutes as Aussie striker Scott McDonald levelled having looked suspiciously offside. The former Celtic man was left unmarked to finish past Scott Loach from six yards.
A quick second wrapped up the points for 'Boro when Taylor tapped home from close-range to grab his first goal for the Teesiders.
The second half saw the 'Orns produce few chances of note and the result was put beyond doubt when Mariappa deservedly picked up a second yellow card.
The gaffer then followed suit when he was sent to the stands for entering the field of play.
All in all Watford got what they deserved. Tony Mowbray`s side played a high line and compacted the midfield giving the 'Orns little room to play their natural game, resorting to long-balls.
A bad day at the office.
Middlesbrough: Smith; McMahon, Williams, Grounds, Bennett; Robson (c), Bailey, Arca (McManus), Taylor; McDonald (Zemmama) and Emnes.
Subs not used: Ripley (GK); Haas, Kink, Tavares and Smallwood.
Watford: Loach; Thomspon (Bennett), Mariappa, Taylor, Hodson; Deeney (Weimann), Cowie, Eustace (c), Jenkins, Buckley (Sordell); Graham.
Subs not used: Gilmartin (GK); Mingoia, Whichelow and Smith.
Attendance: 16 090
Referee: Mr Sutton