London: Gerard Deulofeu’s first hat-trick in English football saw Watford stroll to a 5-1 victory at Cardiff Friday and climb to seventh place in the Premier League while West Ham came from behind to secure a 3-1 victory at Fulham.
Deulofeu fired Watford into a first-half lead before scoring twice in as many minutes just after the hour-mark. Troy Deeney added further gloss with two more – his first league goals since the start of January coming either side of a Sol Bamba consolation.
The visitors took the lead when Sean Morrison, Bruno Manga and Joe Bennett all tried, and failed, to dispossess Deeney and Deulofeu took charge of the loose ball to bury a low shot.
Deeney almost doubled the lead from 20 yards, this time Neil Etheridge getting a hand to the shot, and Neil Warnock was furious on the touchline when Murphy was felled and nothing was given.
The energy of substitute Junior Hoilett gave Cardiff brief hope after half time but Watford soon sprang a counter-attack and Deulofeu beat Manga to run half the length of the field.
Deulofeu rounded Etheridge with ease and two minutes later he burst on to Etienne Capoue’s threaded pass to chip the Cardiff goalkeeper.
The Spaniard was not finished there, though, and he skipped through in the 73rd minute to provide Deeney with the simplest of tap-ins.
Bamba came up with a consolation by bundling home from a goalmouth scramble eight minutes from time, but Deeney pounced again in the dying moments when Will Hughes set him up from close range.
Elsewhere, Javier Hernandez cancelled out Ryan Babel’s early strike by jabbing the ball in with his hand the far post before Issa Diop and Michail Antonio scored each to put more misery on Fulham.