Craig Mackail-Smith grabbed a 50th-minute winner as Albion made it four victories on the spin tonight.

The top scorer won and converted the penalty which secured a very hard fought 1-0 win at Watford.

But the Seagulls had to be at their best defensively to claim this first away clean sheet of the season.

Watford-born Mackail-Smith fired home after he had been fouled by Daniel Pudil having latched on to a neat pass from Andrea Orlandi.

It was his sixth goal in four games and was followed by his wing-flapping C-Goal celebration in front of 1,924 away fans at that end of the ground.

Watford made a great start and almost went ahead in the fifth minute when Fernando Forestieri saw his deflected shot flash just wide.

Albion were on the back foot for a while – but Will Buckley’s dangerous running against his old club started to give them an outlet and they went on to create some good first half chances.

Dean Hammond had the best of them arriving late beyond the far post but saw his shot blocked by home keeper Manuel Almunia.

Hammond later shot over when well placed and Gary Dicker ’s attempted curler was too close to Almunia.

Forestieri threatened again soon after Mackail-Smith’s spot kick, seeing his shot flick off the top of the crossbar.

But Mackail-Smith might have put Albion two up when he blazed high and wide after Liam Bridcutt had sent him clear.

The hosts had two penalty shouts waved away in a hectic finale and peppered the Albion goalmouth with shots and crosses.

But there was no way through a back line marshalled by Gordon Greer.