Watford’s winless run extended to six matches and it became four consecutive defeats in a row at home following this afternoon’s 3-0 defeat to the side who were bottom of the Championship heading into the contest.
The Hornets dominated the match throughout but went behind in the second minute of first-half injury-time when Yeovil Town skipper Byron Webster headed in. The goal came via a corner as the Hornets’ apparent inability to defend set pieces regularly was exposed once more.
The Hornets started the second period the stronger, like the first, but they were hit on the break eight minutes after the restart through a debut goal by Ishmael Miller.
Watford continued to apply pressure but Yeovil goalkeeper Chris Dunn was only really troubled once in the second period as the Hornets’ failed to get shots away quick enough, resulting in an incredible amount of blocked efforts.
Yeovil added a third goal in second-half injury-time when Joe Edwards scored following a counter-attack.
Manuel Almunia failed to recover from illness in time so it meant a first league start of the season for Jonathan Bond.
Troy Deeney returned and was captain in the absence of Almunia, with Sean Murray and Lewis McGugan also back in a midfield trio which included West Bromwich Albion youngster George Thorne.
New signing Hector Bellerin was the fifth change from last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Bolton Wanderers, as Davide Faraoni made way.
In total, the Hornets were without nine ‘first-team’ players, including the influential Gabriele Angella, Lloyd Doyley, Ikechi Anya and Almen Abdi.
Yeovil handed debuts to three new signings in the shape of on-loan Everton midfielder John Lundstram and strikers Adam Morgan and Ishmael Miller.
Yeovil went into the contest bottom of the table having won just one league game since the opening day of the season and Watford were looking for their first win in five matches having lost their last three at home.
One of Gianfranco Zola’s criticisms of his team last week was they were too narrow and the Hornets did play with more width for much of the match.
Watford played with plenty of ambition in the opening ten minutes without creating a chance. The first opening for the Hornets came in the 12th minute when Deeney headed McGugan’s corner comfortably wide.
Deeney started well and when he headed a diagonal ball down to Fernando Forestieri 20 yards from goal, the Argentine should have done considerably better than slice the ball several yards wide.
The forward again disappointed somewhat when he did excellently to beat Webster to the ball, break into the box and cut inside two defenders only to then delay in shooting and he was tackled by Liam Davis.
The Golden Boys felt they should have had a penalty midway through the half when Deeney’s cross from the left was volleyed goalwards at the far post by Marco Cassetti and the ball appeared to hit the arm of Everton loanee Shane Duffy.
Yeovil delivered a few dangerous balls into the box in the first half and the best of the lot came from Davis, as his delivery flashed narrowly over the heads of two team-mates ten yards from goal.
Many supporters in the Rous Stand surrounding the temporary press area thought their side had gone in front shortly after the half-hour mark when McGugan curled a 25-yard free kick from a central area just wide of the post, with Dunn scrambling across his goal.
The Hornets were dominant in the first half and Yeovil were breathing a sigh of relief once more when Murray’s low drive from outside the area deflected away from goal with Dunn rooted to the spot.
Watford laid siege to the visitors goal during a ten-minute period and centre back Joel Ekstrand was next to try his luck with a powerful, 20-yard shot which again went wide.
Town, who are managed by former Hornet Gary Johnson, enjoyed a positive spell before the break. Their best chance during that period came when Morgan was unable to direct his header from Luke Ayling’s cross on target.
The Hornets’ constant pressure resulted in five corners in the first period and the last of those was headed comfortably wide by Deeney in the final Watford chance of the half.
But there was still time for a smash-and-grab goal for Yeovil as Joel Grant’s long-range effort was deflected wide for a corner and Davis’ delivery was headed in at the far post by Webster. Watford have struggled to deal with set pieces all season and this afternoon’s goal was the latest example.
The Hornets began the second half strongly and Thorne was very close to releasing Deeney three minutes after the restart, as Ayling made a last-ditch block.
Bellerin played well, especially considering it was his first start as a professional, and he jinked past two defenders before having a goal-bound shot from the corner of the box blocked.
But Yeovil once again inflicted a sucker-punch on Watford as Joe Edwards beat Ekstrand wide right, this forced Nosworthy out of position and that left Miller unmarked to head past Bond for 2-0.
Zola reacted immediately by taking off centre back Nyron Nosworthy and midfielder Murray and bringing on two forwards in Diego Fabbrini and Javier Acuna. This led to the Hornets moving to a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Fabbrini and Forestieri on the wings and Acuna behind Deeney.
Hornets fans were becoming increasingly frustrated with their players not shooting early enough. Forestieri delayed too long and had a shot from inside the area blocked and then Acuna did the same soon after, with McGugan slicing for follow-up wide by some distance.
In-between Grant had a shot from the corner of the area saved by Bond.
McGugan was one of the players who was not afraid to shoot and he had an effort deflected wide for a corner. The midfielder then had an effort blocked, so did Fabbrini and when Forestieri’s volley wasn’t stopped by a defender, Dunn made an excellent reflex save.
Watford continued to poke and prod the Yeovil defence without much success. Substitute Davide Faraoni wasn’t too far away with a 25-yard strike.
McGugan had a shot deflected wide in injury-time but Yeovil added salt to the Watford wounds with another goal against the run of play as the visitors countered from the resulting corner and Hoskins slotted past Bond with Thorne trying to catch up with the substitute.
The final goal came in injury-time when Yeovil countered and Joe Edwards finished off a swift move.
It was a depressing end to a hugely frustrating afternoon for Watford’s fans, a large proportion of which booed when the final whistle blew.
Watford: Bond; Ekstrand, Nosworthy (Fabbrini 56), Cassetti; Bellerin, McGugan, Thorne, Murray (Acuna 56), Pudil (Faraoni 79); Forestieri, Deeney.
Subs: Woods, Hall, Iriney, Battocchio.
Yeovil line-up: Dunn; Ayling, Webster, Duffy, Davis; Edwards, Upson, Lundstram, Grant (Dawson 88); Miller (Hayter 70), Morgan (Hoskins 69).
Subs: Stewart, Foley, Fontaine, Twumasi.
Referee: Scott Mathieson.
Bookings: Miller, Davis.