Costel Pantilimon 7
Couldn’t do a thing about a stunning Gills equaliser and did his best to keep out the winner. He showed he is ready to step in for Heurelho Gomes should the Brazilian’s dip in form turn into a trough. He came out and soared to claim one first-half cross, cushioned a lovely header when advancing out of his area to play as an auxiliary sweeper and also showed some nifty footwork in the second. One of the few to emerge with credit
Allan Nyom 3
Looks a bag of nerves and your heart is in your mouth every time he goes near the ball let alone touches it. The foul he committed for the penalty was worryingly similar, both in terms of its location and execution, as the one he conceded against Wilfried Zaha against Crystal Palace, the spot-kick that started his nosedive in form. The four-year contract he signed must surely have been to protect his value and not an indication of where he ranks in the pecking order.
Tommie Hoban 8
Excellent. For someone who has not played 90 minutes in well over a season, he did remarkably well to play the full 120 minutes here, testament to the hard and lonely work he did over the summer on his own. He stuck his head in where it hurts, was not afraid to mix it in the tackle and showed a good turn of foot. He also showed a desire to affect the game at the other end, twice connecting with crosses from Ben Watson to rattle the bar and go agonisingly close with another. He was a real plus point on an otherwise forgettable night.
Christian Kabasele 6
Started slowly and uncertainly, which was to be expected give his lack of game time. Horribly overhit one cross-field pass in the first half that sailed over the head of Nyom. Derek Payne, on the radio, felt the Belgian did well against Jay Emmanuel-Thomas but then he should have, given he was in Belgium’s Euro 2016 squad and cost £5.8m. He hasn’t been signed to keep a player on loan from QPR quiet – he is here to compete against the best the Premier League has to offer. Kabasele grew into the game, showing he is fleet of foot and decent in the air. His best moment was a perfectly weighted pass down the line to Etienne Capoue in the second half.
Juan Carlos Paredes 4
He will probably remember the game for a nutmeg he performed on McDonald near the end of normal time but more noteworthy was his continual poor distribution, most notably when, unopposed, he managed to hit a cross-field pass so far behind Capoue he had to retreat into his own half to get it when Watford were crying out for forward momentum. He didn’t even bother to chase one overhit pass from Abdoulaye Doucoure. He was out on his feet by the end. Wouldn’t be surprised if this was the last time we saw him in a Watford shirt.
Ben Watson 6
Neat and tidy in possession and his set-piece delivery was a likely source of a goal. He tired badly and was clearly struggling with cramp or tightness in the calf area by the end, so much so he could not get up and down and just positioned himself deep in the Gillingham half.
Abdoulaye Doucoure 5
Disappointing. We thought he had a bit of Ben Watson, Valon Behrami and Etienne Capoue about him when we saw him make his debut for Granada against Deportivo La Coruna. He offered early signs of encouragement with a raking pass to pick out the spin and run of Matej Vydra but that was as good as it got. He spooned one cross out from the right in the first period and repeated the trick with his left in the second. He’ll hopefully get better.
Adlene Guedioura 6
Heeded his manager’s tactical advise by setting Ikechi Anya free down the left at every opportunity. It was his pass to Anya that resulted in Troy Deeney registering Watford’s first attempt on goal. Guedioura also sent a dipping effort just wide of the left-hand post in the first half. He provided good energy from midfield so it was a surprise when he was replaced by Odion Ighalo, even more so when Ighalo assumed Guedioura’s advanced position in midfield.
Ikechi Anya 5
If only he could cross a ball. He had his marker on toast in the first period and, with greater composure, he could have two goals in the first half. He set up Watford’s first attempt on goal, for Deeney, but it kind of summed up his night when he skewed one cross with his left foot into the stand, much to the delight of the away fans.
Troy Deeney 6
Better but still looked laboured, particularly in the air. He had more chances here than in the first two games of the season put together and only two saves from Simon Nelson, in each half, denied him a first goal of the season. Deji Oshilaja, the Gillingham defender, will probably not make a better covering tackle all season than the one that denied the captain at the start of the second half. Still moaned far too much.
Matej Vydra 7.5
We don’t understand why he was hooked. Watford had the game by the scruff of the neck while he was on the field and they got progressively worse after he went off. He wasn’t running the show but he looked like a man with a point to prove and there were glimpses of the Vydra of 2012-13 and 2014-15. He was spinning off the shoulder of his marker, making darting runs and stepping over the ball to leave it for Deeney in telepathic fashion.
Odion Ighalo 7
Did what was asked of him, scoring just minutes after coming on to replace Guedioura. The goal won’t feature in any end-of-season highlights reel but most of his goals never do. He was in the right place, at the right time and given his record this year – this was just his fifth of 2016 – he won’t care how it went in.
Etienne Capoue 6
Difficult to recall him doing too much after he came on. Drifted out to the left to find pocket of spaces but either the service to him was lousy or there were not too many options for him to find when he did get possession.
Juan Camilo Zuniga 4
Dreadful. Conceded a stupid foul in the corner at the death and was involved in a slapstick incident with Capoue that saw them both wait for each other to head it, only for it to just hit the Colombian. We were amazed he didn’t start as he is another who looks horribly short of fitness.