A pair of second-half goals meant Watford succumbed to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of 10-man Hull City.
It looked like it might be the Hornets’ afternoon when Oumar Niasse controversially received his marching orders midway through the first-half after a challenge with M’Baye Niang.
But that only seemed to spur Marco Silva’s men on, and goals after the break by Lazar Markovic and Sam Clucas secured a vital win for the Tigers in their bid for Premier League safety, sending a frustrated Watford side home pointless.
Walter Mazzarri made one change to his starting XI following last weekend's win over Swansea, with Miguel Britos returning from suspension to replace Adrian Mariappa in defence.
Watford looked the more likely early on, winning two corners inside the opening seven minutes, but the first chance fell to Hull’s Sam Clucas, who lashed well wide on the half-volley after a quarter-of-an-hour.
The Tigers’ hopes were dealt a blow when striker Oumar Niasse was harshly sent off 25 minutes in – referee Bobby Madley deeming a high tackle on M’Baye Niang worthy of a straight red card.
A fine one-handed Eldin Jakupovic save tipped over Sebastian Prödl’s header from a Jose Holebas corner on the half-hour, then from Tom Cleverley’s resulting corner Daryl Janmaat’s strike deflected inadvertently off Troy Deeney and out for a goal-kick.
Miguel Britos ghosted in at the back post to meet another Cleverley corner with his head on 38 minutes, but the Uruguayan directed it disappointingly wide.
It was honours even at the break, and there was little by way of goalmouth action during the early stages of the second-half either.
Etienne Capoue did go close on the hour, turning on the edge of the six-yard box and firing low against Jakupovic’s legs.
But it was the hosts who took the lead minutes later. Hull counter-attacked from a Watford corner and Markovic’s header struck the bar before bouncing on the line. With Heurelho Gomes grounded, the Serbian tapped the loose ball home and wheeled away to celebrate with the jubilant Tigers supporters.
Clucas swung a 25-yard free-kick marginally wide of the near post with 20 minutes left to play, but the midfielder was on-target moments later, chesting and volleying a screamer into the top corner from distance to double Hull’s lead.
Capoue beat his man and fired over the bar from just outside the area as Watford looked for a way back onto the game in the 77th minute, but it never really looked like coming.
Substitute Stefano Okaka knocked down for Deeney in stoppage time and the Watford captain volleyed just over the bar, and that was that on a disappointing afternoon at the KCOM Stadium.
HORNETS: Gomes (GK); Janmaat, Prödl, Britos, Holebas (Zúñiga, 86); Cleverley, Doucouré (Okaka, 73), Capoue; Amrabat (Success, 67), Deeney (c), Niang.
Subs not used: Pantilimon (GK), Mariappa, Kabasele, Behrami.
Yellow card: Prödl (67)
TIGERS: Jakupovic (GK); Elmohamady, Maguire (c), Ranocchia, Robertson; N'Diaye, Clucas; Grosicki, Evandro (Hernandez, HT), Markovic (Huddlestone, 81); Niasse.
Subs not used: Marshall (GK), Dawson, Maloney, Mbokani, Henriksen.
Goals: Markovic (62), Clucas (71)
Yellow card: N’Diaye (42), Markovic (66), Robertson (81)
Red card: Niasse (25)
Referee: Bobby Madley