Watford claimed a battling point against Brighton after Miguel Britos’ horror challenge had reduced them to 10-men at Vicarage Road.

The 32-year-old defender was shown a straight red card after clattering into Anthony Knockaert with a knee-high studs up tackle, which gave referee Graham Scott little alternative.

The Hornets battled for over an hour with 10-men as they maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League season, despite Brighton going close on a number of occasions.

Chris Hughton’s men hit the post twice in the first period, before a strong rear-guard action made up for Britos’ brainless foul and ensured parity remained until the close.

Watford head into the international break with five points from their first three games of the season ahead of a trip to Southampton in a fortnight’s time.

With Jose Holebas suspended after being sent off in the midweek League Cup loss to Bristol City, Marco Silva had a problem to solve at left-back.

He opted to ignore Brandon Mason in favour of the less orthodox choice of Britos, who shifted from his more familiar centre-back berth.

Brighton have found adapting to life in the top flight as tough task and arrived at the Vic without a scoring in back-to-back defeats this term.

They were able to welcome back Knockaert to the starting XI as he made his recovery from an ankle injury.

He was unfortunate not to mark his return with a goa in the first half after collecting the ball on right hand side of the post and curling a delightful effort towards the far post.

His strike looked destined to nestle in the bottom corner, but instead bounced back off the woodwork before being cleared to safety.

Watford enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and went close to breaking the deadlock inside 10 minutes through Nathaniel Chalobah.

The chance came from a free-kick wide on the right which was clipped in by Tom Cleverley and found Chalobah in space in the centre of the box.

Fresh from his England call up, the summer signing directed a powerful header downwards only to see his effort blocked on the line by Lewis Dunk.

The hosts were fortunate to avoid conceding a penalty with just under 20 minutes played when Sebastian Prodl escaped unpunished for a handball after shot deflected off Chalobah.

A moment of madness from Britos turned the game in the visitor’s favour soon after as the Uruguayan flew into a shocking challenge on the lively Knockaert.

Britos got nowhere near the ball, as he flew in with a studs up lunge which connected with the Brighton man’s knee.

The Seagulls’ number 11 was fortunate to escape without a serious injury and Britos could have no complaints as he headed for an early bath.

The upright again came to Watford’s rescue with 10 minutes remaining in the half as a fine low cross from the Solly March put Christian Kabasele in all sorts of bother.

With Tomer Hemed in close attendance, Kabasele could only divert the ball past a helpless Heurelho Gomes on the slide and against the post.

Brighton started the second half in the same vain the ended the first, pushing forward and creating a chance from a corner soon after the restart.

A deep corner from the left was headed back across goal and Hemed improvised a first time volley from six yards which drifted just wide.

Watford were offering precious little – unsurprisingly considering their numerical inferiority – and chances were at a premium.

Sebastian Prodl went close to giving them a surprise lead, however, glancing a header just wide from a deep free-kick.

The Seagulls’ threat had waned somewhat, but the games outstanding player almost fired them into a lead with a quarter of an hour to play.

Knockaert, now playing on the left let fly from the best part of 25 yards and Gomes had to be a full stretch to tip his skidding effort around the post as it headed for the bottom right corner.

Richarlison was proving to be Watford’s brightest spark and he created their clearest opening as the game reached its climax.

Driving forward on the left he played in Andre Gray, but the club’s record signing could only blaze high and wide from an ever tightening angle.

It was as close as Watford would come to a winner before they held on for a valuable point which seemed so unlikely after Britos’ dismissal.

Watford: Gomes; Femenia, Prodl, Kabasele, Britos, Doucoure, Chalobah, Amrabat (Cathcart 28) (replaced by Carillo 47), Cleverley, Richarlison, Gray (Deeney 83)

Subs not used: Pantilimon; Success, Watson, Capoue

Brighton: Ryan; Bruno (Rosenior HT), Dunk, Duffy, Suttner, Knockhaert (Izquierdo 80), Stephens, Propper, March, Gross (Murphy 90), Hemed

Subs not used: Maenpaa (GK), Huenemeier, Sidwell, Skalak