Two clinical finishes either side of half-time ensured Watford progressed into the fourth round of the FA Cup as they cruised past Third Division Macclesfield with a 2-0 victory at Moss Rose.
Striker Heidar Helguson set the Hornets on their way with a close-range volley after 24 minutes and after the Silkmen had spurned their best chance when Danny Whitaker thundered against the woodwork, Jermaine Pennant made the game safe with a right-footed piledriver.
Macclesfield boss Dave Moss suffered a blow prior to kick-off with the news that midfielder Martin Nash was ruled out.
Moss had hoped to name the Canadian in the side after he signed on a month's loan from American side Rochester Raging Rhinos, but his registration came through too late and he was forced to watch from the stands.
Watford went into the game without Sean Dyche and Stephen Glass after both failed to come through late fitness tests.
But Gifton Noel-Williams started only his second game of the season in attack and he was immediately involved in the action.
The Hornets were quickest out of the traps with Noel-Williams firing a snapshot just wide after four minutes from Wayne Brown's cross.
And six minutes later the livewire forward went close again with a dipping right-footed effort from distance.
The visitors seemed to have settled into their stride immediately as they knocked the ball around confidently in midfield.
And after Paulo Vernazza and then Gavin Mahon had both fired close, finally they got the breakthrough their dominance deserved as Helguson pounced.
A Neil Cox free-kick set the visitors away when Neal Ardley was bundled over in midfield and as Noel-Williams surged forward to clip a cross into the box, Helguson arrived unmarked to volley home.
With the wind in their sails, the Hornets piled forward and two minutes later they should have doubled their advantage when Vernazza curled just past the post from the right edge of the box.
But the Macclesfield defence were throwing everything into a valiant rearguard action and with Karl Munroe saving his side on the stroke of half time with a last-ditch block to deny Pennant's snapshot, the Silkmen held on until the break.
The half-time interval seemed to rejuvenate Moss' beleaguered side and they were almost back on level terms just a minute after the interval when Whitaker thundered a right-footed effort against the woodwork.
But normal service was soon resumed and on the hour mark Watford doubled their lead as Pennant surged forward from midfield to drill into the corner of the net.
With the game slipping away from them, Macclesfield sent on Lee Hardy in place of David Eaton in an attempt to find a way through.
It almost worked as well and after 63 minutes they were unlucky not to claw a goal back as Bermudan striker Kyle Lightbourne saw his rising shot skim the crossbar.
With time running out Macclesfield threw everything forward in an effort to find a way back into the game.
But despite a late charge that saw George Abbey and then Lightbourne again go close, the First Division side never looked likely to surrender their place in round four.