Jose Holebas' long range effort gave Watford the victory over Middlesbrough in a scrappy affair at The Riverside.
Holebas dispossessed Christian Stuani and fired past Victor Valdes with what proved to be the only goal of a largely frustrating encounter.
Gaston Ramirez had the first chanceto open the scoring, charging towards Watford's box only to drag his shot horribly wide. Middlesbrough then thought they had a good penalty shout turned down whenAlvaro Negredo flopped to theground under pressure from Younes Kaboul, but referee Roger East waved away the Spaniard's protests.
Negredo then very nearly opened the scoring in Watford's favour, mistiming a defensive header andseeing the ball only justclear the bar.Antonio Barragan was then extremely fortunate to escape a red card, yanking back Watford's Isaac Success in what seemed a clear yellow card after he had already been booked.
Former Spurs and Sunderland centre-back Younes Kaboul looked extremely shaky on the ball for Watford, frequently skewing passes and putting his defensive colleagues in danger during an unconvincing first half showing.In a match lacking in quality, the game heated up towards half time but neither side could break the deadlock as the two sides went into the interval all square.
The game was in dire need of a goal after the break, and Jose Holebas duly obliged within 10 minutes of the restart. Just after Success had a penalty appeal turned down, Greece international Holebas retrieved an attempted clearance outside the area and lashed a left-footed strike into the top left hand corner past the helpless Victor Valdes.
Middlesbrough upped the pressure to try and find a way back into the game, but saw another penalty appeal not given, this time after Gaston Ramirez fell in the area.
Success had a shot well held by Valdes after cutting inside. Middlesbrough struggled to create any clear cut chances with the game heading towards its climax.
Substitute Traore looked dangerous down the right-hand side as Boro pushed for an equaliser, while the impressive Success made way for Ben Watson as Walter Mazzarri looked to close out the game. Jordan Rhodes also entered the fold with only three minutes remaining, with many curious why he had been introduced with such little time left.
The announcement of six additional minutes gave Middlesbrough a much needed boost, but no goal came - ultimately, theymaintained 17th placed position, while Watford moved uplevel on points with Bournemouth.
Middlesbrough XI: Valdes, Barragan, Chambers, Gibson, Friend, de Roon, Forshaw, Stuani, Ramirez, Downing, Negredo
Watford XI: Gomes, Amrabat, Kaboul, Prodl, Britos, Holebas, Pereyra, Capoue, Behrami, Success, Deeney