GUTSY Barnsley just couldn’t find the equaliseras Watford eased home thanks to a first minute strike from John Eustace.
Chances camne and went as the Tykes battled bravely in the intense heat.
Watford manager Malky Mackay felt his side’s “spirit and togetherness” was crucial as they kept their faint play-off hopes alive with a 1-0 victory.
All three points leaves the Hornets five points behind sixth-placed Nottingham Forest with three matches remaining.
Mackay was pleased with his side’s flying start and the Scotsman was equally impressed with the manner in which they held on for the victory.
He said: “I thought we started very well. We’ve been guilty in the last few weeks of possibly losing goals early on in games and I think to score so early on was fantastic.
“We also had a couple of chances right after to go further ahead so it was great to get a good start to the game.
“I’m sure Mark (Robins) will feel he’s played much worse than that this season and won games, but we’re all alike and from my point of view I’ve just said to the players it’s their team spirit and togetherness as a group this season at the training ground every day that saw that game out.”
Barnsley manager Mark Robins was left to rue his side’s slow start and the lack of a cutting edge.
He said: “What was it (Eustace’s goal)? 45 seconds, something like that. I thought we learned out lesson from the last game against QPR.
“Unfortunately we hadn’t, they’ve not picked up properly and they’ve (Watford) got a habit of starting quickly and they’ve done that again today and won the game inside the first 45 seconds.
“Objectively we’ve done enough to win the game. What we haven’t done is the all important thing and hit the back of the net with the ball.”
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RESULTS, FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2011:
Doncaster Rovers 0 Crystal Palace 0
Northampton Town 2 Rotherham United 2
RESULTS, SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2011:
Sheffield United 3 Bristol City 0
Watford 1 Barnsley 0
Walsall 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1
Oxford United 0 Chesterfield 0
FIXTURES, EASTER MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2011 (Kick offs 3pm):
Reading v Sheffield United
Barnsley v Doncaster
Sheffield Wednesday v Swindon Town
League Two: Chesterfield v Bury
Rotherham United v Gillingham