The Hornets' survival bubble was not burst completely at the home of the club who famously blow them, but it was deflated somewhat and leaves them with a fair bit of work to do, more than should have been necessary, in their final two games of a season that is causing nerves to jangle and anxiety levels to soar.
A defeat here was definitely not what the doctor ordered, especially when it eroded the goal difference in the process. The confidence and belief will have taken a hit and everyone will be watching Bournemouth take on Southampton on Sunday from behind the sofa, but alas the season now boils down to 180 minutes, albeit excruciating ones, and the Hornets go into that with a three-point buffer, however precarious that may look. There is hope, there is belief and it's still all very much to play for. Yes, the last two look difficult on paper, but games are never won and lost on paper. Liverpool at home in February looked difficult on a sheet of A4.
The focus will, perhaps quite rightly, be on the unthinkable three goals the Hornets shipped in just over half an hour here at the London Stadium against a side they started the evening level on points with. That definitely wasn't part of any script and it gave the Hornets the mountain of all mountains to climb. But the visitors gamely stuck at it, never threw the towel in and you never know, Troy Deeney's early second-half consolation (the 150th league goal of his career) and an extraordinary late save from Ben Foster might prove the difference in the final analysis. Relegations have been decided on margins much finer than that. Fulham stayed up in 2008 on goal difference.