Match ends, Swansea City 1, Watford 0.
Swansea City 1-0 Watford
Swansea City climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with a gritty win against Watford.
With new head coach Francesco Guidolin watching from the stands, Swansea edged an uneventful first half thanks to Ashley Williams' header.
Watford's Miguel Britos and Jose Manuel Jurado had chances to equalise but the hosts defended stoically to hold on.
Swansea, who are now 17th in the table, almost got a second but substitute Bafetimbi Gomis hit a post late on.
Having started the season in sparkling fashion, the Hornets' fourth straight loss leaves them eight points above the bottom three.
The spectre of relegation still looms large for Swansea but this crucial victory sees the Welsh side leapfrog Newcastle to go one point above the bottom three.
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Having won only one of their previous 11 Premier League games, Swansea sought to arrest their decline by appointing former Udinese manager Guidolin to work alongside interim boss Alan Curtis.
On an evening of new arrivals, former Chelsea midfielder Gabriele Ambrosetti also joined the Swans' coaching staff and Watford announced the signing of Morocco forward Nordin Amrabat from Malaga.
Guidolin may not have been entertained by a drab first half, but he will have been encouraged to see Swansea take the lead for only the fifth time in 22 league matches this season.
After a corner was half-cleared, Ki Sung-yueng's fine cross found Williams, who headed in firmly for the first top-flight goal by a Swansea defender since he struck against Everton in March 2014.
Watford in freefall?
Watford were aiming to recapture their early-season form, a run of three successive league defeats denting what had been an unlikely push for the European places.
Strikers Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney had scored 19 league goals between them prior to this match - the same amount as the entire Swansea team - but their influence was limited as Watford created precious few chances, their best falling to Britos, who nodded narrowly over from Ben Watson's whipped free-kick.
Sensing only a third win from 18 Premier League games was within their grasp, Swansea retreated and had to withstand heavy pressure from the visitors late on.
Jurado had two good chances for the Hornets but fired wide on both occasions.
The Swansea defenders threw themselves at the flurry of Watford shots, and they almost scored a second in added time but Gomis' shot came back off the post.
Man of the match - Ashley Williams
What the managers said
Swansea interim coach Alan Curtis: "It was massive. We talked beforehand about the need to pick up three points. I thought in the first half in particular we were excellent. Over the course of the 90 minutes, we deserved it.
"We got a little bit edgy in the second half - that's probably more the situation we find ourselves in. I thought the players were fantastic.
"It takes us out of the bottom three and psychologically that will give us a big lift."
Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores:
"We are not happy with the first half. We had to correct at half-time. In terms of the attack, it was too bad. We were playing against very good players.
"In the second half, we didn't lose the ball, we created attempts. The players are human beings and the last match was very tough against Southampton.
"I don't like to lose, players don't like to lose… All the teams are tough for us. I am really happy with my squad. Twelfth in the table is a very good position."
The stats you need to know
- Swansea have scored 79 Premier League goals since their last by a defender in the top flight - Williams' against Everton in March 2014.
- The Swans secured their first win in their past four top-flight games and only their second in their past 12 (D3 L7).
- Watford have now lost four consecutive Premier League games for the first time since May 2000.
- After winning four Premier League games in a row, the Hornets have picked up just one point in their past five top-flight games.
- Bafetimbi Gomis has been flagged offside 33 times in the Premier League this season, 12 more than any other player.
- Swansea have hit the woodwork a 14 times this season (the joint-highest in the Premier League with Arsenal).
- 7BrittonBooked at 62mins
- 23SigurdssonBooked at 90mins
- 4Ki Sung-yuengSubstituted forAmatat 87'minutes
- 15RoutledgeSubstituted forBarrowat 66'minutes
- 10A AyewSubstituted forGomisat 82'minutes
- 2NyomBooked at 33minsSubstituted forParedesat 74'minutes
- 8BehramiSubstituted forOularéat 87'minutes
- 7JuradoBooked at 22mins
- Michael Oliver
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Swansea City 1, Watford 0.
Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card.
Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.
Bafétimbi Gomis (Swansea City) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Hand ball by Mamadou Obbi Oularé (Watford).
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Kyle Naughton.
Attempt missed. Jurado (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right following a set piece situation.
Substitution, Watford. Mamadou Obbi Oularé replaces Valon Behrami.
Substitution, Swansea City. Jordi Amat replaces Ki Sung-yueng.
Foul by Federico Fernández (Swansea City).
Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Jurado (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Leon Britton.
Offside, Swansea City. Jack Cork tries a through ball, but Bafétimbi Gomis is caught offside.
Substitution, Swansea City. Bafétimbi Gomis replaces André Ayew.
Attempt blocked. Ben Watson (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Federico Fernández (Swansea City).
Odion Ighalo (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Modou Barrow (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nathan Aké (Watford).
Substitution, Watford. Juan Carlos Paredes replaces Nyom.
Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Nathan Aké.
Attempt blocked. Jack Cork (Swansea City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Modou Barrow (Swansea City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Nyom (Watford).
Substitution, Swansea City. Modou Barrow replaces Wayne Routledge.
Attempt missed. Jurado (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Odion Ighalo.
Leon Britton (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.
Hand ball by Leon Britton (Swansea City).
Kyle Naughton (Swansea City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).
Attempt missed. Jack Cork (Swansea City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by André Ayew with a headed pass.
Attempt missed. Jurado (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Troy Deeney.
Ashley Williams (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).
Foul by Wayne Routledge (Swansea City).
Miguel Britos (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Miguel Britos (Watford) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Ben Watson with a cross following a set piece situation.