Match ends, Watford 2, Wigan Athletic 1.
Watford 2-1 Wigan Athletic
Troy Deeney scored twice as Watford condemned struggling Wigan to a third-successive Championship defeat.
The striker opened the scoring with a low finish but Chris McCann headed in an equaliser on the stroke of half time.
Ben Watson went close with a header as Wigan improved in the second half, but Deeney nodded in a late winner.
A second successive win means Watford are sixth while Wigan remain 23rd, four points from safety.
The Latics have taken just one point in the four games since Malky Mackay was named manager on 19 November.
Their lack of confidence was evident as Watford dominated the opening exchanges with Scott Carson producing good saves from Gianni Munari's shot and a 30-yard free-kick from Daniel Tozser.
Watford's opener came midway through the first half when a quickly-taken free-kick was played to Ikechi Anya, who got away down the left and crossed for Deeney to despatch a low finish under Carson.
The home side looked largely comfortable with the Wigan attack, but were undone when they switched off at a set-piece, Roger Espinoza sending a cross into the area for McCann to head home.
The goal gave Wigan belief and they more than matched their opponents in the second half, going close when Watson headed narrowly off target before James McClean forced Heurelho Gomes into a good save.
However, Deeney secured the points for the hosts late on, heading home at the far post from another Anya cross.
Watford manager Slavisa Jokanovic: "If we don't play a brilliant game, it is important for us to win this kind of game.
"I understand many people expect if we can repeat something similar to what we did in the last game against Fulham winning 5-0, but there is always another team in front of you.
"I have to be happy to win this game, and especially to win this kind of game. It is important for us when we don't have a brilliant game to win points."
Wigan boss Malky Mackay: "In the second half I probably wasn't happy with a point because I thought we had put them on the back foot.
"So to lose a sloppy goal, like we did in the second half, is disappointing.
"But I can't be too hard on the players because of the overall way they played."
- 39Bassong Nguena
- 14ParedesSubstituted forDyerat 45'minutes
- 22AbdiBooked at 54minsSubstituted forGuédiouraat 85'minutes
- 8TozserBooked at 78mins
- 20VydraSubstituted forIghaloat 77'minutes
- 15McManamanBooked at 20minsSubstituted forMaloneyat 62'minutes
- 18EspinozaSubstituted forDelortat 86'minutes
- Mark Haywood
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Watford 2, Wigan Athletic 1.
Adlène Guédioura (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Emmerson Boyce (Wigan Athletic).
Gabriele Angella (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Andy Delort (Wigan Athletic).
Attempt missed. Adlène Guédioura (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Daniel Tözsér.
Offside, Watford. Odion Ighalo tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.
Daniel Tözsér (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ben Watson (Wigan Athletic).
Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Odion Ighalo.
Substitution, Wigan Athletic. Andy Delort replaces Roger Espinoza.
Foul by Gabriele Angella (Watford).
James McClean (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Watford. Adlène Guédioura replaces Almen Abdi.
Attempt missed. Almen Abdi (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Odion Ighalo.
Goal! Watford 2, Wigan Athletic 1. Troy Deeney (Watford) header from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ikechi Anya with a cross.
Foul by Gianni Munari (Watford).
Chris McCann (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Wigan Athletic. Ben Watson tries a through ball, but James McClean is caught offside.