Troy Deeney and Almen Abdi were interested spectators as Watford’s Under-21s equalised in the last moments to draw 3-3 against Brentford in the Under-21 Professional Development League Two South.

Unlike last night’s aberration at Southampton in the Premier League, the duo were treated to an end-to-end encounter with Harry Kewell’s side snatching a last-gasp draw thanks to Alex Jakubiak's hat-trick. 

The stand-out bit of team news was the inclusion of Swedish international Joel Ekstrand.

The centre-back was making his first appearance since March 21, 2015 when he suffered knee ligament damage in defeat to Ipswich Town.

Ekstrand was composed during his outing, which was scheduled to last just 45 minutes, before leaving at half-time with Abdi.

In a lively opening period it was the two goalkeepers who stole the show.

Brentford’s Nik Tzanev did well to deny Watford’s Alex Jakubiak at the near post after Connor Smith lashed over for the Hornets.

Tzanev was called in action again four minutes later. This time he produced his best save of all, parrying George Byers’ snapshot from a well-worked free-kick.

But just after the quarter-hour mark Hornets keeper Nathan Gartside showed anything his opposite number could do, he could do better.

Lewis Macleod was first thwarted by a smart stop at the near post before trying to loop a header over the Ulsterman, who sprang from the ground to tip the ball to safety.

James Ferry was then denied as the Bees swarmed forward, Gartside down smartly to his left to push the midfielder’s shot around his near post.

Two minutes after that Watford were in front. After an exemplary first 22 minutes, Tzanev slipped trying to clear the ball, presenting Jakubiak with a tap-in he couldn’t miss.

It looked set to stay that way until the break but on the stroke of half-time. But then Matthew Hall felled Bradley Clayton inside the penalty area. The striker took the resulting spot-kick himself and sent Gartside the wrong way to level.

It took just seven minutes for Brentford to go in front. A poor pass out of defence was picked off by Clayton and he squared for Andy Gogia to slide home.

And four minutes after that the Bees stretched their lead to 3-1. Macleod split the Hornets’ defence before Gogia slotted in his second.

But Kewell’s charges refused to throw in the towel and Jakubiak got his and Watford’s second shortly after, tucking home after latching onto Mahlondo Martin’s through ball.

Gartside had to be at his best to prevent Clayton restoring the Bees’ two-goal lead, somehow pushing the striker’s shot away from close range.

Watford then came within a whisker of levelling. Gartside cleared under pressure but his opposite number, Tzanev, couldn’t do the same and planted his clearance at the feet of Watford’s captain. Byers took aim but lofted just wide from 40 yards with Tzanev in no-man’s land.

The Hornets continued to push for an equaliser and ought to have hit the target minutes before the end. Byers picked out the run of Jakubiak who unselfishly laid the ball off for Dennon Lewis but he slashed wide after cutting inside.

But with time as good as up the Hornets equalised. A free-kick from the right prompted a goalmouth scramble from which Jakubiak wrapped up his hat-trick.

Watford Under-21s: Gartside; Eleftheriou, Ekstrand (Young HT), Hall (Folivi 60), Doherty; Smith, Byers, Stewart, Martin (Mensah 74)l; Jakubiak, Lewis.

Substitutes: Simpson (GK), Mason.