Watford 3 Crewe Alexandra 1
But instead they turned on a fine performance at Vicarage Road to brush Crewe aside with two goals from Heidar Helguson taking his tally to 16 for the season.
Helguson served an early warning on the Crewe defence when he sent a header towards goal after three minutes and it took a fortunate clearance by Adrian Moses to head off the line against the underside of the bar and away.
But Crewe had no answer to Helguson in the 9th minute. Gavin Mahon sent a searching ball forward for the Icelander to chest down and take past his marker before hooking the ball in from 15 yards.
Watford had their tails up and Crewe lucky to survive until the 29th minute without conceding a second. Then a break down the right saw three players involved before Hameur Bouazza sent over a cross for Helguson to meet, control, turn past a defender and fire home with his left foot.
It was his eighth goal in 11 games and it was Jay Demerit who broke the Helguson monopoly on Watford goals which stretches back to November - 11 games ago - when he scored his side's third a minute into the second half.
Demerit, a close season signing from the Ryman League, won the ball in midfield and attacked the heart of the Crewe defence before hitting a low shot beyond Clayton Ince.
Watford continued to dominate with James Chambers and Jermaine Darlington going close and Bouazza testing the keeper.
Then after 67 minutes, somewhat against the run of play, Crewe pulled a goal back.
David Vaughan played the ball into the path of Luke Varney who seized the chance as understudy for the departing Dean Ashton and struck the ball home with confidence.