Watford moved level on points with second-placed Brentford in the Sky Bet Championship after claiming a 2-0 win against struggling Wycombe at Vicarage Road.
Two goals from Andre Gray were enough for the Hornets, who now have an automatic promotion place in their sights following the Bees’ defeat at leaders Norwich.
Watford gave a first league start to midfielder Philip Zinckernagel, while the Chairboys welcomed back Daryl Horgan, captain Joe Jacobson and Ryan Tafazolli.
The home side almost made the perfect start after just four minutes when Adam Masina found an excellent position in the box following a Ken Sema corner but failed to make any connection with the ball.
Despite some pressure from the away side, who forced two corners in quick succession, it was Watford who took the lead on the quarter-hour.
Kiko Femenia found space down the right flank and crossed the ball in low for Gray to follow in from close range and score his second goal of the season.
The right-hand side continued to be targeted by Watford, with Ismaila Sarr and Femenia in particular keen to exploit the area.
Sarr attempted to double the lead after 35 minutes when his powerful solo run left him on the edge of the area, but his curled effort went wide of the post.
Watford looked ever-more menacing and Wycombe goalkeeper David Stockdale was called into action twice in quick succession after 36 minutes. He turned away a cross from Sarr before blocking the follow-up by Sema.
Wycombe came out in a more positive frame of mind after the restart, putting their hosts on the back foot, although they were unable to create an opportunity with their possession.
They were undone by the sharpness of Watford in the 57th minute as they broke from a Wycombe attack.
The ball eventually found its way to Zinckernagel and the debutant slid in Gray for the striker to slot past Stockdale for his second of the evening.
That seemed to take the sting out of both the game and any thought of Wycombe staging a comeback, with Watford looking for a third.
Zinckernagel almost marked an impressive performance with a goal after 82 minutes, but his shot was well saved by Stockdale.
The only sour note for Watford was captain Tom Cleverley limping off late on after a fall on the pitch.