Nyron Nosworthy's late leveller dealt a blow to Cardiff City's stuttering play-off charge as the defender rescued mid-table Watford a Championship point.
Scotland striker Kenny Miller had headed Cardiff into a first-half lead as he converted Don Cowie's cross to end his 15-match goalless streak.
Miller then hit the post before Watford started to capitalise on the Bluebirds' nerves as Troy Deeney went close.
Then an unmarked Nosworthy guided Sean Murray's free-kick in to level.
The centre-back's second goal in nine years extended Cardiff's miserable winless home run to six games so Brighton have the chance to replace the Welsh club in the play-off places on Tuesday should they beat in-form Reading at home.
CARDIFF v WATFORD FACTS
- Cardiff have scored first in a Championship best 27 games this season
- Cardiff are also the draw specialists of the division as they have drawn 17 games
- Watford have only beaten Cardiff once in nine meetings
Cardiff remain sixth in the table and while they are unbeaten in seven games, they dropped points for the sixth time in seven league games when Malky Mackay hoped to be strengthening their promotion credentials.
Watford, meanwhile, showed their resilience to force an eighth away draw of the season and maintain their outside chance of their own top six finish.
The Hornets have suffered just one defeat in their last nine matches, although making up a seven point difference with four games remaining will be difficult.
Cardiff, though, were left to rue missed chances as Ben Turner's early header from Peter Whittingham flashed wide.
And Craig Conway, returning to Cardiff's starting line-up for the first time in two months, cracked a long-range half-volley narrowly wide of the far post.
The Bluebirds had shaded a poor first half and broke the deadlock in injury-time as Miller guided in his first goal since 21 January.
A knee injury forced the 32-year-old off early in Saturday's win at Middlesbrough and only played at the Cardiff City Stadium after passing a late fitness test, but Miller was glad he did as he ended one of his worst scoring droughts in his career.
Cowie sped onto Kevin McNaughton's ball down the right flank and the all-Scottish move was completed by Miller when he lost his marker to head in his 11th goal of the season.
And Miller was only inches away from adding a second just after the break as the striker fired Liam Lawrence's low cross against the Watford post.
But Watford rallied and started to dominate the hosts, giving Cardiff a scare when Martin Taylor's firm header from Murray's corner brought the best out of Bluebirds keeper David Marshall.
Troy Deeney then had an effort cleared off the line by Miller while Watford also had a penalty appeal rejected after Taylor went down under pressure from Mark Hudson.
Deeney squandered another glorious chance when he fired over from point blank range after getting in front of Hudson to latch on to substitute Joe Garner's cross.
Miller, though, almost prized open the Watford defence again with an exquisite chip but Aron Gunnarsson could not direct his header past Hornets keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
Nosworthy, who was signed in January from Premier League Sunderland, saved Sean Dyche's men as he poked in from Murray's right-wing free-kick to continue Watford's impressive five-match unbeaten away run.
- 01 Marshall Booked
- 02 McNaughton
- 03 Taylor
- 05 Hudson
- 25 Turner Booked
- 07 Whittingham
- 08 Cowie
- 11 Conway (Lawrence - 38' )
- 17 Gunnarsson
- 37 McPhail (Kiss - 56' Booked )
- 09 Miller
- 22 Heaton
- 04 Kiss
- 13 Lawrence (Earnshaw - 79' )
- 27 Harris
- 10 Earnshaw
- 35 Kuszczak
- 03 Dickinson
- 05 Taylor
- 12 Doyley Booked
- 33 Nosworthy Booked
- 04 Eustace
- 19 Buaben (Iwelumo - 78' )
- 22 Murray
- 26 Assombalonga Booked (Garner - 46' )
- 32 Hogg Booked
- 09 Deeney
- 01 Loach
- 17 Bennett
- 24 Whichelow
- 10 Iwelumo
- 25 Garner
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.90:00 +4:53
Chris Iwelumo produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.90:00 +4:38
Don Cowie takes a shot. Blocked by Nyron Nosworthy.90:00 +3:26
Foul by John Eustace on Aron Gunnarsson, free kick awarded. David Marshall restarts play with the free kick.90:00 +2:43
Unfair challenge on Joe Garner by Andrew Taylor results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Nyron Nosworthy.88:27
Aron Gunnarsson challenges Sean Murray unfairly and gives away a free kick. Tomasz Kuszczak restarts play with the free kick.84:04
Filip Kiss produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the target.83:36
Robert Earnshaw takes a shot. Save by Tomasz Kuszczak.81:40
Sean Murray provided the assist for the goal.81:40 Goal scored
Goal! - Nyron Nosworthy - Cardiff 1 - 1 Watford Nyron Nosworthy grabs a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Cardiff 1-1 Watford.80:36
Ben Turner concedes a free kick for a foul on Chris Iwelumo. Sean Murray takes the free kick.77:07
Ben Turner takes the direct free kick.77:07 Substitution
Substitution (Cardiff) makes a substitution, with Robert Earnshaw coming on for Liam Lawrence.77:07 Substitution
Substitution (Watford) makes a substitution, with Chris Iwelumo coming on for Prince Buaben.77:07
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Don Cowie by Joe Garner.74:26
Liam Lawrence takes the inswinging corner, clearance by John Eustace.73:01
Shot comes in from Liam Lawrence from the free kick.73:01 Booking
Booking Caution for Lloyd Doyley.72:52
Lloyd Doyley gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aron Gunnarsson.71:55
Carl Dickinson takes the free kick.
Booking Booking for Filip Kiss for unsporting behaviour.71:36
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Prince Buaben by Filip Kiss.71:24
Mark Hudson produces a header from close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.70:37
Free kick taken by Peter Whittingham.70:37 Booking
Booking The referee books Nyron Nosworthy for unsporting behaviour.70:25
Nyron Nosworthy challenges Aron Gunnarsson unfairly and gives away a free kick.68:24 Booking
Booking David Marshall is booked.67:47
Sean Murray concedes a free kick for a foul on Kevin McNaughton. David Marshall takes the direct free kick.66:41
Don Cowie takes the inswinging corner, John Eustace makes a clearance.66:17
Peter Whittingham takes the inswinging corner, Nyron Nosworthy manages to make a clearance.66:02
Aron Gunnarsson takes a shot. Save by Tomasz Kuszczak.65:31
Troy Deeney produces a right-footed shot from close in that clears the bar.65:12
Carl Dickinson takes a shot. Aron Gunnarsson gets a block in.64:27
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Sean Murray, Filip Kiss makes a clearance.62:53
Foul by Carl Dickinson on Liam Lawrence, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Peter Whittingham.61:36
Corner from the right by-line taken by Sean Murray, Mark Hudson makes a clearance.59:41
Corner taken by Sean Murray, Shot by Joe Garner. Blocked by Ben Turner. Effort on goal by John Eustace from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.56:07
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Sean Murray from the right by-line, Troy Deeney takes a shot. Kenny Miller gets a block in.55:15
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Sean Murray from the left by-line, Martin Taylor takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.55:15 Substitution
Substitution Stephen McPhail goes off and Filip Kiss comes on.54:58
Prince Buaben takes a shot. Liam Lawrence gets a block in.52:44
Nyron Nosworthy gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Liam Lawrence. Liam Lawrence takes the free kick.51:02
Peter Whittingham takes a short corner.50:39
Corner taken by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line, save by Tomasz Kuszczak.50:25
Header from close in by Kenny Miller hits the post.48:03
Jonathan Hogg fouled by Stephen McPhail, the ref awards a free kick. Sean Murray takes the direct free kick.47:10
Unfair challenge on Liam Lawrence by Prince Buaben results in a free kick. Mark Hudson takes the direct free kick.46:25
Sean Murray has an effort at goal from outside the box missing to the wide left of the goal.45:01
The second half has started.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Joe Garner is brought on as a substitute for Britt Assombalonga.45:00 +2:59 Half time
Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.45:00 +2:21
The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Tomasz Kuszczak.45:00 +1:58
Free kick awarded for a foul by Martin Taylor on Kenny Miller. Liam Lawrence restarts play with the free kick.45:00 +0:17
The assist for the goal came from Don Cowie.45:00 +0:17 Goal scored
Goal! - Kenny Miller - Cardiff 1 - 0 Watford Kenny Miller scores a headed goal from close in. Cardiff 1-0 Watford.45:00
John Eustace takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.44:00
Direct free kick taken by Sean Murray.44:00 Booking
Booking Booking for Ben Turner.43:49
Ben Turner concedes a free kick for a foul on Prince Buaben.43:24
Unfair challenge on Kevin McNaughton by Britt Assombalonga results in a free kick. Mark Hudson restarts play with the free kick.43:04
Ben Turner gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Martin Taylor. Free kick taken by Tomasz Kuszczak.38:53
Nyron Nosworthy challenges Aron Gunnarsson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Liam Lawrence restarts play with the free kick.38:29
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Sean Murray, clearance made by Aron Gunnarsson.38:17
Carl Dickinson takes a shot. Blocked by Stephen McPhail.37:02 Substitution
Substitution Liam Lawrence comes on in place of Craig Conway.32:39
Direct free kick taken by Kevin McNaughton.32:39 Booking
Booking Jonathan Hogg goes into the referee's book.32:04
Craig Conway fouled by Jonathan Hogg, the ref awards a free kick.28:28
Carl Dickinson concedes a free kick for a foul on Craig Conway. Peter Whittingham delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing.23:09
Andrew Taylor takes the direct free kick.23:09 Booking
Booking The referee books Britt Assombalonga for unsporting behaviour.22:56
Britt Assombalonga concedes a free kick for a foul on Don Cowie.20:29
Stephen McPhail gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Britt Assombalonga. Martin Taylor restarts play with the free kick.18:39
Foul by Britt Assombalonga on Stephen McPhail, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Ben Turner.17:15
The official flags Britt Assombalonga offside. David Marshall takes the indirect free kick.16:48
Prince Buaben takes a shot. Blocked by Stephen McPhail.13:29
The referee blows for offside against Troy Deeney. Indirect free kick taken by David Marshall.12:13
Jonathan Hogg gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephen McPhail. Direct free kick taken by Mark Hudson.8:44
Foul by Britt Assombalonga on Andrew Taylor, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by David Marshall.8:14
Craig Conway has an effort at goal from the edge of the area that misses to the right of the target.4:30
Craig Conway takes a shot. Corner taken by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line to the near post, Ben Turner has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide left of the goal.3:20
Corner taken by Peter Whittingham played to the near post, Britt Assombalonga manages to make a clearance.1:25
The assistant referee flags for offside against Peter Whittingham. Tomasz Kuszczak takes the indirect free kick.0:29
Kenny Miller is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Martin Taylor.0:00
The match begins.
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