Watford youth team coach Dave Hughes admitted a disappointing first half performance proved costly for the Hornets who were beaten 2-1 by Barnet on Saturday.

The Bees went ahead after 11 minutes through Shane Cojocarel and the visitors doubled their advantage soon after as Yasin Benel-Mhanni confidently converted a penalty after a free-kick had struck a hand in the area.

Watford were much improved after the interval and pulled a goal back soon after the restart. Alex Jakubiak exchanged passes with Bobson Bawling before finishing past Dillon Barnes.

Watford created chances to level the contest but were left frustrated. Jakubiak had a shot cleared off the line, Jorell Johnson hit the post while Harry Kyprianou sent an effort over the crossbar.

Barnet almost added a third goal late on but Cojocarel was denied by Alfie Young.

“It would be fair to say that the second half was better than the first,” Hughes told the club website.

“We were disappointing in the first half. I suppose there’s a tinge of disappointment left over from Wednesday night [losing 2-0 to Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup].

“We tried to ensure in our preparation that that wasn’t going to be the case, but we were the architects of our own downfall in the first half.”

He continued: “Overall, I thought the second half performance was magnificent; we could have scored four or five. The result doesn’t say that but I am delighted with the effort.”

After the heavy rain during the winter period led to a number of postponements, the Hornets have several matches to play in quick succession.

Hughes says every player in his squad will have the chance to continue Watford’s good form.

He said: “That’s one of our beliefs here, that every player will be given the chance to play in a competitive game and nothing will change that."