Adrian Mariappa's late own goal gave Cardiff City a point as former Watford boss Malky Mackay returned to his former club.
Cardiff dominated the first half but fell behind when Prince Buaben arrowed the ball home from just inside the box after Marvin Sordell's pass.
However, after a long throw that Scott Loach failed to clear, Mariappa turned the ball into his net.
Watford's Michael Kightly went close late on with a glancing header.
But Watford would have been satisfied with the result after the visitors dominated for long spells. The home team's unbeaten run has now stretched to seven matches, the longest current sequence in the Championship.
Early on, Filip Kiss delivered for Don Cowie but his guided header was brilliantly tipped wide by Loach. But Cardiff took control with Mark Hudson heading over from Peter Whittingham's corner.
Andrew Taylor then crossed for Whittingham, whose first-time shot crashed off the inside of the post and bounced into the arms of Loach.
There were further warning signs for the hosts after the break as Whittingham advanced unopposed before rifling in a dangerous shot that was deflected wide.
Watford took the lead against the run of play as Sordell set up Buaben, who opened his account for the club after 62 minutes.
With a renewed confidence Watford pressed again and, when Sordell was fouled on the edge of the box, the home crowd were baying for a red. Taylor escaped with a yellow.
Just as City were appearing to fade, they were handed a way back into the match when Loach raced out to deal with a long throw and the ball clipped off Mariappa and into the net.
Watford manager Sean Dyche: "I think, pretty much, we've done a good job today. But a lack of communication on a single moment is sometimes how a game can change.
"Cardiff started very brightly for the first 15 or 20 minutes and really loaded it on top of us with corners and long throws, as they did for the first five minutes of the second half.
"Other than that I thought we did very well in the game. The manner the lads are playing at the moment is terrific."
Cardiff manager Malky Mackay: "I thought we started very well and had five or six great chances at their goal in the first half, which I thought led a charmed life.
"On another day we would have gone in a couple up at half-time but we weren't clinical with them.
"What I was delighted about was the calmness of the boys to keep playing, keep believing and knowing we would get chances. It came, we scored from it."
- 01 Loach
- 02 Hodson
- 03 Dickinson
- 06 Mariappa
- 33 Nosworthy Booked
- 07 Yeates
- 18 Kightly
- 19 Buaben
- 32 Hogg
- 09 Deeney
- 20 Sordell
- 30 Bond
- 12 Doyley
- 04 Eustace
- 14 Jenkins
- 10 Iwelumo
- 01 Marshall
- 02 McNaughton (Blake - 18' )
- 03 Taylor Booked
- 05 Hudson
- 25 Turner
- 04 Kiss (Gestede - 58' )
- 07 Whittingham
- 08 Cowie
- 17 Gunnarsson
- 09 Miller
- 20 Mason (Conway - 74' )
- 22 Heaton
- 06 Gerrard
- 11 Conway
- 23 Blake
- 15 Gestede
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.90:00 +2:21
Jonathan Hogg crosses the ball, clearance by Darcy Blake.90:00 +1:01
Centre by Mark Yeates, clearance by Darcy Blake.86:11
Craig Conway gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Carl Dickinson. The ball is delivered by Mark Yeates, Michael Kightly takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.85:21
Michael Kightly takes a shot. Blocked by Darcy Blake.82:57
A cross is delivered by Aron Gunnarsson.81:14
Effort from close in by Don Cowie goes wide left of the target.80:41
Mark Yeates concedes a free kick for a foul on Darcy Blake. Peter Whittingham restarts play with the free kick.79:41
Aron Gunnarsson provided the assist for the goal.79:41 Goal scored
Goal! - Adrian Mariappa - Watford 1 - 1 Cardiff Own goal by Adrian Mariappa. Watford 1-1 Cardiff.77:10
Mark Yeates produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick, blocked by Kenny Miller.77:10 Booking
Booking Andrew Taylor is given a yellow card.77:03
Andrew Taylor gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marvin Sordell.75:35
Mark Yeates takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Rudy Gestede manages to make a clearance.75:24
The ball is crossed by Michael Kightly, Andrew Taylor manages to make a clearance.74:37
The official flags Rudy Gestede offside. Scott Loach takes the free kick.73:07 Substitution
Substitution Craig Conway joins the action as a substitute, replacing Joe Mason.72:14
Inswinging corner taken by Mark Yeates from the left by-line played to the near post, Rudy Gestede manages to make a clearance.72:04
The ball is crossed by Michael Kightly, clearance made by Mark Hudson.69:10
Joe Mason gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nyron Nosworthy. Indirect free kick taken by Scott Loach.
Foul by Marvin Sordell on Ben Turner, free kick awarded. David Marshall takes the indirect free kick.66:15
The ball is sent over by Troy Deeney, Don Cowie makes a clearance.63:39
Foul by Ben Turner on Troy Deeney, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Mark Yeates, Andrew Taylor makes a clearance.61:54
Assist by Marvin Sordell.61:54 Goal scored
Goal! - Prince Buaben - Watford 1 - 0 Cardiff Prince Buaben scores a goal from deep inside the penalty area low into the middle of the goal. Watford 1-0 Cardiff.60:45
Mark Yeates takes a shot. Mark Hudson gets a block in. Short corner taken by Mark Yeates.57:58 Substitution
Substitution Rudy Gestede on for Filip Kiss.55:19
Filip Kiss produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.55:05
Jonathan Hogg challenges Mark Hudson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Mark Hudson.53:37
Marvin Sordell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Marshall. David Marshall restarts play with the free kick.52:58
Mark Yeates takes a outswinging corner.51:37
Jonathan Hogg gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aron Gunnarsson. Strike comes in from Peter Whittingham from the free kick.50:44
The ball is delivered by Michael Kightly, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Troy Deeney misses to the left of the goal.49:39
Marvin Sordell takes a shot. Blocked by Andrew Taylor.49:35
The ball is sent over by Mark Yeates.49:14
Corner taken short by Mark Yeates.48:06
Don Cowie takes the outswinging corner, Scott Loach makes a save.47:59
The ball is sent over by Aron Gunnarsson, Lee Hodson manages to make a clearance.47:09
Corner taken right-footed by Don Cowie from the left by-line, clearance made by Carl Dickinson.46:56
Shot on goal by Peter Whittingham from just inside the area clears the crossbar.46:30
Corner taken right-footed by Don Cowie to the near post, Carl Dickinson manages to make a clearance.45:34
Mark Yeates gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Darcy Blake. Peter Whittingham crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left channel, Jonathan Hogg makes a clearance.45:01
The second half kicks off.45:00 +1:16 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.45:00 +1:01
A cross is delivered by Carl Dickinson, Andrew Taylor manages to make a clearance.45:00 +0:34
Inswinging corner taken by Mark Yeates from the left by-line.45:00 +0:12
The ball is sent over by Lee Hodson, blocked by Joe Mason.44:36
Aron Gunnarsson takes a shot. Save by Scott Loach.44:00 Booking
Booking Nyron Nosworthy booked for unsporting behaviour.43:40
Unfair challenge on Kenny Miller by Nyron Nosworthy results in a free kick. Darcy Blake takes the free kick.42:06
Centre by Aron Gunnarsson, Troy Deeney makes a clearance.38:06
Michael Kightly has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the target.37:01
Corner taken by Don Cowie, Marvin Sordell manages to make a clearance.35:19
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Mark Yeates.33:57
Handball by Ben Turner. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Mark Yeates from right by-line.32:50
The ball is swung over by Mark Yeates.32:36
Mark Yeates takes a shot. Ben Turner gets a block in.30:12
The assistant referee signals for offside against Joe Mason. Scott Loach takes the free kick.29:37
Unfair challenge on Filip Kiss by Lee Hodson results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Andrew Taylor.28:27
The official flags Marvin Sordell offside. David Marshall takes the indirect free kick.27:00
Peter Whittingham takes a shot from a just insdie the box and hits the post.26:50
Andrew Taylor sends in a cross, Carl Dickinson manages to make a clearance.25:43
The ball is swung over by Mark Yeates, Troy Deeney takes a shot. Comfortable save by David Marshall.22:46
Mark Yeates takes a shot. Brilliant save by David Marshall. Inswinging corner taken by Mark Yeates from the left by-line, Marvin Sordell has a header from just outside the area which clears the crossbar.22:12
Corner taken by Don Cowie from the left by-line to the near post, Michael Kightly manages to make a clearance.21:16
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jonathan Hogg on Aron Gunnarsson. Peter Whittingham has an effort direct from the free kick.19:07
Troy Deeney gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Peter Whittingham. Direct free kick taken by Ben Turner.17:37 Substitution
Substitution Darcy Blake comes on in place of Kevin McNaughton.16:34
Don Cowie takes a shot. Carl Dickinson gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham, clearance by Carl Dickinson.15:02
Kevin McNaughton sends in a cross, Carl Dickinson gets a block in.13:24
A cross is delivered by Andrew Taylor, Don Cowie has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.12:49
Marvin Sordell challenges Kevin McNaughton unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mark Hudson restarts play with the free kick.12:03
Free kick awarded for a foul by Aron Gunnarsson on Marvin Sordell. Adrian Mariappa takes the indirect free kick.10:38
Corner taken by Don Cowie from the left by-line, clearance by Nyron Nosworthy. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham.10:25
Peter Whittingham takes a shot. Blocked by Adrian Mariappa.6:54
Troy Deeney takes a shot. David Marshall makes a save. The official flags Marvin Sordell offside. David Marshall takes the free kick.6:04
Inswinging corner taken by Filip Kiss from the right by-line, Close range headed effort by Mark Hudson clears the crossbar.5:47
Filip Kiss sends in a cross, Don Cowie takes a shot. Save made by Scott Loach.4:08
Kevin McNaughton gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Carl Dickinson. Indirect free kick taken by Scott Loach.0:00
The game kicks-off.
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