With their promotion rivals not playing until Saturday afternoon the Cherries had a huge chance to put pressure on the chasing pack and they were given a helping hand en route to a comfortable 2-0 win when Gabriele Angella’s first action of the evening saw the defender sent off.
The recalled Yann Kermorgant got Bournemouth up and running from the penalty spot after Callum Wilson, whose pace caused the early dismissal, proved too quick for Craig Cathcart.
Once Matt Ritchie scored for the second successive home game from a narrow angle Bournemouth could relax and they were only denied a more emphatic victory by overworked Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
The Hornets made the trip on a real high after Saturday’s emphatic 7-2 thumping of Blackpool but their vocal 1,391 travelling supporters knew they were in for a long night once they saw Angella sent off for his challenge.
Angella’s first touch saw him haul down Wilson after 26 seconds as the former Coventry man skipped past him – and referee Lee Probert was quick to hand the centre-back the earliest of early baths.
Eddie Howe’s men predictably took control of possession and carved out a few promising openings with Kermorgant, Marc Pugh and Ritchie all having efforts at Gomes’ goal.
Despite having just 30 per cent of the half’s possession Ikechi Anya did have the Cherries backline breathing a little quicker with a low drilled effort across across goal in the eighth minute.
With Watford a man light at the back Bournemouth’s full-backs were pinning the yellow shirts in their own half and it was no surprise that Simon Francis and Charlie Daniels created two fantastic openings for Kermorgant.
First overlapping right-back Francis raced to the byline before clipping in a cross which the former Charlton man could only direct wide. Kermorgant came even closer in the 25th minute when he controlled left-back Daniels’ low cross before thumping an effort off the Watford crossbar.
It was, however, the movement of strike partner Wilson that presented Kermorgant with the game’s opening goal in the 35th minute. The 33-year-old made no mistake from the spot after Cathcart had fouled Wilson after being turned inside the box.
Gomes was then called into action to deny Francis before watching Ritchie’s low drive fizz wide of his left-hand post shortly after the breqak.
And the former Tottenham shotstopper could do little about Bournemouth’s 57th-minute second. Having been fed by Kermorgant, Ritchie squeezed a low right-footed drive across goal and into the bottom corner for his eighth of the campaign.
It was deja vu for Watford who had found themselves 2-0 down at this stage last weekend but there were few signs of another seven-goal haul.
Instead they were facing a Bournemouth onslaught, especially down their left-hand side. First Ritchie and Francis linked up before the latter warmed the gloves of Gomes at his near post before the keeper pushed Pugh’s header around the same post after a Ritchie delivery found his fellow winger.
Wilson really should have added a third but shot straight at Gomes after winning the ball inside the box.
And after denying Ritchie after another flowing move the Brazilian keeper pulled off his best save of the night with three minutes remaining to keep out Pugh’s right-footed drive.