Watford maintained their promotion charge as they made it four Championship wins in a row by defeating out-of-form Blackburn 3-2.
All the visitors’ front three found the net as they stayed level on points with second-placed Brentford.
Joao Pedro’s deft lob – his third goal in as many games – put Watford ahead before Ismaila Sarr’s close-range tap-in doubled the advantage.
Harvey Elliott spectacularly gave Blackburn hope before the break, but the Hornets regained control just after the hour through Ken Sema’s pinpoint finish.
Ben Brereton made it a nervy finish but Watford should have had the game sewn up by that point, with Sarr thwarted by Thomas Kaminski, and one cleared off the line at 3-1.
But they held on and put down a marker to the rest of the promotion hopefuls that they mean business.
It was a fifth straight league reverse for the first time under Tony Mowbray for Blackburn, who have fallen alarmingly out of the play-off picture.
Ryan Nyambe was passed fit for Rovers while Dan Gosling made his first start for Watford.
They set about controlling the game and an incisive Will Hughes pass found Sarr completely unmarked in the area but he mis-hit his shot and Kaminski was able to parry.
The reprieve was temporary as the Hornets deservedly took the lead in the 25th minute when Tom Cleverley’s hooked ball forward deceived the Rovers defence and Pedro beat Kaminski to the ball before delicately lobbing the goalkeeper for his ninth goal of the season.
Adam Armstrong whistled one wide but Sarr should have doubled the lead but saw his shot turned behind by Kaminski.
Blackburn were undone seven minutes from the break when Jarrad Branthwaite failed to clear a cross and though Kaminski brilliantly saved Pedro’s deflected shot, Sarr tapped home the rebound.
The hosts were handed a 43rd-minute lifeline when Adam Masina was robbed and when the ball reached Elliott, he slammed emphatically into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
Rovers came out with purpose but were indebted to Kaminski early in the second half as he made a vital save to divert Sema’s effort away for a corner.
But he made no mistake in the 61st minute as Watford restored their two-goal advantage. Sema was fed by Pedro and after his stepover afforded space, he slotted into the bottom-right corner.
It would have been four had Branthwaite not cleared Francisco Sierralta’s improvised effort off the line after Kaminski flapped at a 69th-minute corner.
Substitute Brereton handed the hosts a lifeline in the 82nd minute when he volleyed home Stewart Downing’s corner from close range, but Watford deservedly saw it out.