Watford 0 Norwich 3: Watch Sargent's amazing running scorpion kick as Canaries win six-pointer to leave Ranieri on brink

LIGHTS OUT, Claudio Ranieri?

Backed in the transfer market, given more time than most Watford managers by the trigger-happy Pozzo family and handed three fixtures their relegation rivals could only dream of.

There really are no excuses then for what this Hornets side have produced over the past week under an Italian coach already on borrowed time.

Even the Vicarage Road lights are beginning to give up on him – the game being delayed for 10 minutes in the second half after 50 per cent of the mains were tripped leaving the ground in partial darkness.

The irony of both sides wearing lairy, illuminous kits was also not lost on the crowd, either.

What was really needed was some Candles in the Wind from their beloved Rocket Man chairman Elton John.

The game carried on with several bulbs still out. If that is not a sign from the footballing Gods the end is nigh for a manager, what is?

A last-minute leveller away at Newcastle was just about acceptable. But this – losing at home to the lowest scorers in the top four divisions of English football – is shocking.

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Ranieri’s desperation not to lose games against the current bottom three has backfired big time, summed up by Josh Sargent’s outrageous 51st minute goal with Norwich’s first shot on target of the night.

And moments after the game was restarted with the pitch just about lit up, Sargent sparked yet more delirious celebrations in the away end with a knock-out blow.

Emmanuel Dennis’ stupid second yellow for an outrageous challenge left Ranieri even dizzier.

That is now 30 Premier League games without a clean sheet.

If Watford weren’t one of the main contenders in this relegation dogfight before tonight, they well and truly are now.

Watford look incapable of seizing the initiative when it matters most – a trait that sees them in this sorry mess in the first place.

As for Ranieri, the twice rearranged clash with Burnley is now monumental.

Fail to win at Turf Moor – a 10th defeat in 12 – could prove to be too much for the historically impatient Gino Pozzo.

Yet Sean Dyche will hardly be quaking in his big boots after watching these two go at it – especially when he has five games in hand on Dean Smith’s Canaries.

The irony of both sides wearing lairy, illuminous kits was also not lost on the crowd.

For Norwich, for all their lack of quality in the division, they are well and truly alive and kicking after being pronounced dead and buried just a few weeks ago.

But right now, for the first time this season, they are out of the bottom three and looking upwards with a major spring in their step under Smith.

The Canaries have found their wings.

Watford’s night began on a low with Ben Foster and Craig Cathcart ruled out with suspected positive Covid-19 tests.

Norwich meanwhile saw Angus Gunn in between the sticks with Tim Krul still suffering from a shoulder injury.

The night began with fireworks, celebrating almost five years to the day since the great late ex-Watford boss Graham Taylor.

But the start to the game was anything but with both sides attempting to kick lumps out of each other to see who cracked first.

The only shock was that Mike Dean kept his cards in pocket before Dennis received his first yellow of the night.

The visitors were struggling to get into the game, averaging just over a pass a minute after half an hour as Watford began to assert themselves without seriously testing Gunn.

Yet it was Daniel Bachmann who was picking the ball out of his net six minutes into the second half after Sargent’s scorpion-like finish.

VAR checked a push from Teemu Pukki on Samir in the build-up, but the goal was eventually given.

The lights then began flickering on the hour mark, leading to referee Dean asking both Ranieri and Smith whether they were fine with playing under limited light.

They were, and Ranieri probably wished he had not agreed as Sargent headed home a superb second in the 74th minute.

Dennis let his frustrations get the better of him four minutes later for a wild lunge that sent him walking before Moussa Sissoko’s disallowed effort and Juraj Kucka’s own goal late on finished off an embarrassing night all round.

With 15 minutes added time, ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ rung around Vicarage Road from the away end.

This could very well be the Pozzo’s lightbulb moment to swing the axe yet again.

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