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Picture Stephen Hughes - first goal for Blues.

Everton 4 Watford 2

By Paul Walker, PA Sport

The Hughes and Hughes show, veteran and teenager, both scored their first goals for Everton.

Mark Hughes, 36 and part-time international manager these days, showed he has no intention of being a part-timer in the Premiership these days and turned in a bruising, battling display that brought back memories of his halcyon days at Old Trafford.

He scored the first, had a hand in two more in the first half - both netted by Joe-Max Moore - and turned in a display to end the doubts about Everton's latest front partnership.

Hughes and Moore hadn't netted between them in their three previous games together, all defeats. They could hardly fail to put that right against the worst defence in the top flight.

Admittedly Watford showed spirit and fight, but a late strike by £1.5million Stephen Hughes gave the scoreline a more realistic look.

Watford are coming to the end of their Premiership coach tour, one unlikely to be repeated.

A first half of numbing boredom early on took a turn for the better when Mark Hughes scored his first goal for Everton, and only his second of the season.

Clearly intent on ingratiating himself with his international manager, Welsh midfielder Mark Pembridge, having seen a corner cleared, eventually got the ball back and crossed from the left for veteran Hughes to head home on the nearpost.

Hughes, for all his 36 years, still does a solid team job, holding possession and playing colleagues into the game. And he clearly took a fancy to the Premiership's worst defence.

After 31 minutes he played a major part in Everton's second. He bustled his way into possession in midfield and sent Nicky Barmby racing away down the right with an excellent pass.

Barmby lifted his cross into the area, and somehow the diminutive Joe-Max Moore got above the Watford defence to nod a header down that trundled in off the post, with keeper Alec Chamberlain flailing to his left to no avail.

Watford had been enthusiastic and determined, still with a commendable desire for battle. And they pulled one back after 36 minutes.

Everton's central defence, with Richard Gough 38 on Wednesday, is never the quickest, and Tommy Smith's clever through-ball sent Smart away to stride into the box before slipping his low shot under the advancing Paul Gerrard.

But Watford's incompetence at the back let them down just 60 seconds later. Mark Hughes was in acres of space on the right, and drilled a cross in the six yard box that was met by Moore, whose clipped shot was half-stopped by Chamberlain, letting the ball roll away from him and over the line.

Hughes was clearly enjoying himself and warming to his task. In the second half he battled away deep in midfield and sent Barmby away on the right, the England prospect seeing his cross half-cleared to Pembridge, whose 20-yard shot was deflected for a corner.

Neil Cox had to head out from under his own bar from Barmby's flag-kick, and Hughes then saw a snap header from 12 yards saved by Chamberlain.

Hyde was booked for a tackle from behind on John Collins, and then substitute Darren Ward went through the back of Mark Hughes' legs, leaving him in a crumpled heap.

After all the hard work had been done, Everton became very casual at the back, and even with a side that's going down, you can't get away with that in the top flight.

It gave Watford heart, and when Hyde lashed home a low 30-yarder with 10 minutes to go, a shock comeback was on the cards.

But despite a few scary moments, Everton pulled themselves together and regained control with four minutes left when Barmby's persistence allowed Stephen Hughes to also score his first goal for the club with a fierce strike from 12 yards out.


Everton: Gerrard, Ball, Gough, Dunne, Xavier, Pembridge, S. Hughes, Collins, Barmby, Moore, M. Hughes.

Subs Not Used: Unsworth, Hutchison, Jevons, Simonsen, Milligan.

Goals: M. Hughes 18, Moore 30, 36, S. Hughes 86.

Watford: Chamberlain, Robinson, Williams (Ward 46), Palmer, Cox, Easton, R. Johnson, Hyde, Smith, Wooter (Miller 46), Smart.

Subs Not Used: Day, Bonnot, Perpetuini.

Booked: Hyde.Goals: Smart 35, Hyde 80.

Att: 31,960

Ref: S Dunn (Bristol).

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