Watford captain Troy Deeney came off the bench to score his side’s equalising goal in this afternoon’s 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough terrorised Watford in the wide areas during a dominant first half and should have led at the break.

Boro finally got their deserved goal early into the second period through Kike but the introduction of Deeney saw a revival from the Golden Boys.

The 26-year-old equalised with just under half an hour remaining and the Hornets could have gone on to win the game at the Riverside Stadium.

The result moved Watford level on points with league-leaders Derby County and the two sides have been joined on 26 points today by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

This was Slavisa Jokanovic’s third game in charge of Watford and, like Tuesday, he initially made just the one change to the starting line-up, as Ikechi Anya replaced the injured Almen Abdi.

But Heurelho Gomes was injured in the warm-up and Jonathan Bond was promoted to the starting XI, with Rene Gilmartin taking the England Under-21 international’s place on the bench.

In his first two matches in charge Jokanovic has started in a 4-3-2-1 formation but this time he began the match with a 4-2-3-1. Anya started through the middle, Matej Vydra was on the right and Fernando Forestieri was on the left, although it was a fluid system. However, the formation was quickly switched to 4-3-2-1 as Anya dropped into the centre of midfield.

The Hornets started the contest well when in possession as they moved the ball quickly and accurately.

But it was in defence which will have concerned Jokanovic. Boro were given too much space in the wide areas and were allowed to send several crosses into the box in the first half. And when the balls arrived, Middlesbrough’s players were often not marked tight enough and opposition players were allowed to get shots away.

Both Kike and Patrick Bamford had efforts blocked in the opening quarter of an hour and Albert Adomah sent a strike over when unmarked on the edge of the area midway through the half.

The home side took control after the Golden Boys’ bright start and should have gone ahead when another cross was not dealt with and the ball ended up being sent back into the unmarked Bamford and Bond needed to make a fine reflex save from close range.

Juan Carlos Paredes was getting torn to pieces as Boro doubled up down the left and the Ecuadorian was given very little support. Another cross from his side resulted in Bond needing to save Kike’s stab at goal.

Watford had a wayward header from a corner early on but they had to wait until more than half an hour into the contest to create their first clear opening, as Vydra forced Dimi Konstantopoulos to parry wide.

The Hornets did stem the tide towards the end of the first half as they enjoyed more of the possession.

Anya had a shot saved from a tight angle just before the break but the Golden Boys were fortunate to go into the interval level.

Boro’s threat in the wide areas continued immediately after the restart and after yet another cross from George Friend, right back Ryan Fredericks curled a shot narrowly wide of the far post.

But a minute later the home side had their deserved opener. Good play wide right by Adam Clayton and Fredericks resulted in the ball being pulled back to Kike and he was left with a routine finish.

It could have been worse for the Golden Boys moments later as Bamford was denied by Bond and Kike had an effort blocked.

But the Hornets almost snatched an equaliser soon after. Dimi Konstantopoulos fumbled a cross and Vydra sliced over a half-volley from six yards out.

Seven minutes after the restart, Jokanovic brought on Deeney and switched to a 4-3-3. It proved to be the catalyst for a second-half revival.

When Boro failed to clear their lines just after the hour mark, Anya was able to pull the ball back to Deeney and the Hornets’ captain converted from ten yards out for his fourth goal of the season.

Watford could have gone ahead with 20 minutes remaining when Joel Ekstrand glanced Daniel Tozser’s in-swinging free-kick against the far post.

The arrival of Keith Andrews saw Anya move to wide left and the two linked up before the Irishman had a deflected effort go wide.

The Hornets were on top by this point but the home side almost regained their advantage against the run of play. Fredericks, who was a real threat from right back, picked out Kike at the far post and his volley was inches away from nestling in the bottom corner.

Paredes had a volley of his own go wide as the Golden Boys applied pressure and Tozser and Andrews both had shots from long range go wide.

But Middlesbrough posed a threat when in the final third and Tomlin had an effort from the edge of the area deflected away from goal.

Both teams searched for the winner but a point was arguably a fair result on the balance of play. It was certainly ‘a game of two halves’.

Middlesbrough line-up: Konstantopoulos; Fredericks, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Clayton, Whitehead; Bamford (Reach 73), Tomlin (Vossen 82), Adomah; Kike.

Subs: Mejias, Husband, Nsue, Veljkovic, Omeruo, Vossen, Reach.

Watford line-up: Gomes; Paredes, Ekstrand, Bassong, Pudil; Tozser, Munari; Anya, Vydra, Forestieri (Deeney 53); Ighalo (Andrews 64).

Subs: Bond, Doyley, Hoban, Murray, Dyer.

Referee: James Adcock.

Attendance: 17,491.

You can read Jokanovic's views on the game here.