Vakoun Bayo netted a brace as Watford scored four second-half goals to earn a comprehensive 5-1 Championship comeback victory at Preston.
Valerien Ismael’s side came from behind before eventually running riot during what was a superb second-half performance.
It proved a perfect response after they had picked up just a single point from their two previous games.
Preston, meanwhile, continue to stutter and following a brilliant start to their Championship campaign, they have now lost four of their last six and were booed off at the end.
Watford made a bright start at sunny Deepdale. After an early corner-kick was not cleared by a hesitant Preston defence, Ismael Kone should have done better when he scooped over the top from 10 yards.
North End replied by going mightily close to an early opener themselves, defender Jordan Storey rising superbly to meet skipper Alan Browne’s cross, but his thumping header was brilliantly saved by Ben Hamer.
The Watford goalkeeper then did even better when he produced a breathtaking double save to keep out Brad Potts.
It had been an end-to-end opening spell and after 20 minutes the visitors ought to have struck.
Bayo charged through and rounded goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, only for Jack Whatmough to produce a heroic goal-line clearance just as the Watford man was preparing to celebrate.
Back came Ryan Lowe’s men and Hamer had to be alert again to keep out Liam Millar’s thumping effort.
Preston scored a super little goal after 27 minutes to break the deadlock. Will Keane grabbed it, courtesy of a cheeky back-heel flicked finish as he met Millar’s low cross.
Watford evened it up with another impressive goal three minutes before the break. Wesley Hoedt whipped in a super cross for Bayo, who dived in to thump home a bullet header at the far post.
Incredibly, Watford turned the scoreline on its head just 17 seconds after the restart.
Matheus Martins charged on to Ismael Kone’s through-ball before tucking the ball smartly past a stunned Woodman.
Seven minutes later it was 3-1, when Edo Kayembe took Tom Dele-Bishiru’s pass before drilling home brilliantly from almost 30 yards.
North End and their fans had been silenced, while boss Lowe saw fit to make a quadruple change.
That clearly did not work, however, as Bayo converted Kayembe’s pass to make it four, before Kone smashed home a fifth from 15 yards with still 13 minutes left on the clock.
That was the cue for a large proportion of the fans in the home enclosures to up and leave their seats, while the Watford supporters rejoiced behind their goal as Ismael’s team had been ruthlessly clinical.