A fixture between Watford and Bournemouth ended in a draw for the sixth time in the last seven meetings between the two sides as the Hornets were twice pegged back in a 2-2 draw at the Vitality Stadium this afternoon.

Whether the Hornets did enough to warrant a win over the 90 minutes is debateable, but they will be frustrated having led twice and by the manner in which they conceded the second equaliser as Christian Kabasele went down injured at the worst possible moment.

Both sides made somewhat edgy starts but it was the Hornets who crucially got their noses in front midway through the first half when Kabsele nodded home after his side had won two headers from a corner.

That settled the visitors down and they looked more confident, only to be pegged back in disappointing fashion within three minutes of the restart when Joshua King tapped in following a good run and cross by Adam Smith after Watford had switched off following a throw-in.

The Hornets didn’t let setback derail them though, and once again a corner was to prove profitable as Troy Deeney flicked in his 101st goal for the club following Tom Cleverley’s inswinging delivery.

But the visitors were unable to hold out as Kabasele was felled by an injury at exactly the moment when Andrew Surman found Benik Afobe with a pass and the Bournemouth substitute did the rest, firing across Heurelho Gomes as the Cherries equalised for a second time.

Walter Mazzarri made just the one change from the side which drew 0-0 at home to Middlesbrough last weekend with Cleverley making his second full Hornets ‘debut’ in place of the sidelined Valon Behrami.

Gomes was passed fit to start, despite pre-match concerns over the back problem he sustained against Boro, while Daryl Janmaat was available after his latest spell out and was among the substitutes.

Bournemouth were beaten 3-1 at Hull City last time out and Eddie Howe opted to make a couple of adjustments, bringing in Callum Wilson and King for Harry Arter and Afobe.

It was the hosts who offered the first semblance of a threat inside 90 seconds when Junior Stanislas clipped in a low cross from the right edge of the penalty area, but Sebastian Prodl got across the near post to put the ball behind for a corner.

Watford dealt with that and then started to ask a few attacking questions against a Cherries side which wasn’t looking too certain defensively in the early stages. The visitors were also not helping themselves from the back though, as when they looked to play it long their execution wasn’t good enough.

Bournemouth created the first half chance of the afternoon in the tenth minute when Charlie Daniels broke forward from left-back and sent over a cross which the stretching Wilson could only head harmlessly wide of Gomes’ left-hand upright.

But the hosts went much closer in the 13th minute when Jack Wilshere clipped a ball into the box to pick out Ryan Fraser, who had lost his man and sent a looping header towards the target that was dropping in until the back-tracking Gomes got back to tip it over.

The Hornets keeper was forced into action again when he had to beat away a 25-yard left-footed drive from Wilshere, who was already getting a lot of time on the ball against a side without a natural defensive midfielder in their ranks.

But any Watford nerves were to be settled in the 24th minute when they took the lead.

It originated from a corner which Prodl flicked across the six-yard box, Miguel Britos got up at the far post to head back into the danger zone and Kabasele was presented with the simplest of headers to make it 1-0.

The goal was greeted with understandable delight by the travelling faithful but the celebrations were marred by three yellow smoke bombs being thrown onto the pitch.

The Hornets had their tails up and began to move the ball around confidently and attack with greater conviction, with Cleverley the next to try his luck with a low 20-yard drive which fizzed not too far wide of the far post.

Prior to that though, Wilshere had struck another long distance effort over while Abdoulaye Doucoure, who was impressive and got through a lot of good work, did very well to get back and challenge just as Fraser was threatening to pull the trigger in the 18-yard box.

Bournemouth’s next chance came three minutes before the interval when Stanislas’ attempted cross from the right side of the area was sent spinning up and back towards his own goal by the leg of Jose Holebas, but again Gomes showed his back-tracking dexterity to claw the ball over his own bar to ensure his side took their lead into the break.

The hosts, predictably, sought to make a quick start to the second half and it took them less than three minutes to pull level with a goal which was disappointing defensively.

The Hornets switched off from a throw-in, enabling Smith to receive the ball back and nutmeg Doucoure, allowing him to break into the area and he laid the ball across to give King a straightforward finish.

Within four minutes though, the visitors were close to retaking the lead when Holebas latched onto a loose ball out of defence, came inside on his right foot and hit a low 20-yard shot that was deflected narrowly wide.

The game had already been end-to-end at time and in the 57th minute it was the Cherries turn to go close as Wilshere slipped the ball to his left where Fraser took the ball on his right foot and went for a curler but again Gomes was equal to it with his latest full-length impressive save.

Watford made their first change five minutes later as Janmaat came on for Stefano Okaka; a sensible move because the visitors had no out ball and the change enabled Deeney to move back up front to lead the line. Within minutes the Hornets skipper had put his sider back in front.

Again it originated from a corner, this time Cleverley swinging the ball into the six-yard box from the left and as Artur Boruc tried to get to the ball by shoving Smith in the back Deeney, who was standing in front of the Cherries pair, flicked the ball on and into the net to make it 2-1.

Watford won another corner in the 70th minute but this time they worked it in short and when Holebas’ attempted cross was blocked by Wilshere, Bournemouth had a break on. The Hornets defender’s actions were understandable in the circumstances, pulling the on-loan Arsenal midfielder down, but the yellow card was inevitable and with it came another suspension after reaching ten cautions.

Howe made a double change four minutes later as Jordon Ibe and Afobe came on for King and Stanislas and later Marc Pugh replaced Fraser.

In between times, Bournemouth had most of the attacking play but their opponents were holding firm and looking to try and play on the counter, only for misfortune to strike the Hornets again.

There was no real danger when Surman slid the ball down the side of the defence, but at the moment he played the ball Kabasele fell to the ground, giving Afobe a goal-side run on Younes Kaboul and he pulled a low finish across Gomes to make it 2-2.

The unfortunate Kabasele was replaced by Craig Cathcart and then Odion Igahlo came on for Doucoure as four minutes of additional time afforded both sides hope of snatching a late winner.

It was the Cherries who looked the more likely to find it as Wilson headed an Ibe cross from the right wide of the near post, while the last incident of note saw Steve Cook rightly booked for helping a corner on with his hand before Daniels put the ball into the net.

Bournemouth: Boruc; Smith, Cook, Mings, Daniels; Stanislas (Afobe 74), Surman, Wilshere, Fraser (Pugh 81); King (Ibe 74), Wilson. Not used: Federici, Gosling, Arter, Smith.

Watford: Gomes; Kaboul, Prodl, Britos; Kabasele (Cathcart 82), Cleverley, Capoue, Doucoure (Ighalo 88), Holebas; Deeney, Okaka (Janmaat 62). Not used: Pantilimon, Zuniga, Sinclair, Mason.

Bookings: Holebas for a foul on Wilshere (70); Cook for handball (90).

Referee: Lee Mason.