The Hornets would attempt to respond through the reliable Sarr who produced a good effort from range, but Darlow was able to react, dive to his right-hand side and parry it away from goal.
Joe Willock was next to cause the Golden Boys problems, producing a mazy run but ultimately lacking the composure at the end of the move to pick out a teammate or score, instead hitting the side netting.
Saint-Maximin latched onto a loose backpass from Craig Cathcart, and while the Frenchman couldn’t generate a clear opening Longstaff then shot waywardly in the follow-up despite being presented with an open goal.
At the break, Cleverley was taken off for Tufan as a concussion substitute. The opening of the second half was a frantic affair with both sides continuing the battle for supremacy. Dennis, Tufan and Kucka all occupied more advanced positions as a result.
At the top end of the field, Watford looked a threat with the three-pronged attack of King, Sarr and Dennis much more effective, while João Pedro received a warm welcome when he came on from the bench.
Foster, who took the armband following Cleverley’s change, made a string of saves to deny Almirón, Joelinton’s rebound and a Willock low driven shot.