Slaven Bilić handed match minutes to 18 Hornets in a competitive 1-1 draw with fellow Championship side Blackpool to close out their week-long training camp in Spain.
Keinan Davis fired home on the stroke of half-time in response to Sonny Carey’s early opener for the Tangerines, assisted by Colombian midfielder Yáser Asprilla.
Despite a goalless second half both sides maintained a high level of intensity for a friendly fixture, as the Watford Head Coach made seven changes at half-time at the Pinatar Arena.
Now back in England, Bilić’s charges will return to the training pitch at London Colney next week as they prepare for a return to Sky Bet Championship action against Hull City on Sunday December 11.
Watford maintained plenty of possession in the opening stages and progressed the ball up the field effectively, but were caught out by their opponents 10 minutes in as Carey tucked a neat finish into the far corner to put Blackpool ahead.
Continuing to threaten, Vakoun Bayo tested goalkeeper Chris Maxwell with a volleyed effort after Hamza Choudhury’s pinpoint cross, lofted over from outside the box.
Joseph Hungbo then had the ball in the net from a clever Asprilla pass, only for the assistant referee’s offside flag to be raised.
The young winger was lively throughout, and had another chance to equalise minutes later after Jeremy Ngakia completed a mazy run through three Blackpool players with a lay-off for the 22-year-old, but his shot was blocked as it arrowed towards goal.
Asprilla was involved again in the goal, slipping a clever through ball into Davis’ path as the striker muscled off one defender and pulled off a fake shot to send another away, drilling into the far corner with his left foot to equalise.
Following substitutions at the break, Ben Hamer played his first minutes in a Watford shirt since signing in the summer, with wholesale changes to the backline also.
As in the first half, the two teams took a drinks break in the middle of the second 45, with 25 degrees celsius temperatures and the sun blazing down in Pinatar, Murcia.
Both sides came close in the dying seconds to a winning goal, the Hornets going closest again through Hungbo.
Now with two weeks before a competitive fixture, Watford will build on foundations laid on their week-long camp back at London Colney to ensure a seamless return to Championship action next month.
Okoye (GK) (Hamer HT), Ngakia (Gaspar HT), Choudhury (Kayembe HT), Davis (João Pedro HT), Kamara (Morris HT), Cathcart (Pollock HT), Asprilla, Bayo, Dele-Bashiru, Kabasele (Troost-Ekong HT), Hungbo.
Sub not used: Bachmann (GK).
Goal: Davis (43’)
Maxwell (GK), Connolly, Williams, Husband, Thompson, Patino, Dougall, Carey, Hamilton, Madine, Lavery.
Subs: Grimshaw, Moore, Garbutt, Bridcutt, Wright, Corbeanu, Beesley, Poveda, Lyons.
Goal: Carey (13’)