Watford’s downturn in results reached a new concerning depth as they crashed to a 4-1 defeat at home to Huddersfield Town and saw a player sent off for the third match in succession.

The Hornets may point to some controversial decisions but apart from a spell in the second half, they produced a thoroughly grim performance and were a clear second best against a team who had gone into the game without a goal on the road in more than 12 hours of league and cup football.

The hosts could count themselves decidedly unfortunate by the manner in which Elias Kachunga gave the visitors an early lead with a goal that was clearly offside in its creation twice.

The manner in which Huddersfield doubled their advantage midway through the first half though, was utterly abysmal from the hosts’ perspective as some shambolic defended ended with Aaron Mooy being presented with the simplest of finishes.

If Watford fans thought it couldn’t get any worse, Troy Deeney ensured it did by flying into a challenge on Florent Hadergjonaj with barely half-an-hour on the clock and Michael Oliver wasted no time in reaching for his red card.

The seal seemed to have been set on a dreadful afternoon for the hosts when Laurent Depoitre made it 3-0 within five minutes of the restart for a side who had gone into the game without scoring on their travels since the opening day of the season.

Huddersfield were also reduced to ten man when captain and former Hornets midfielder Jonathan Hogg was sent off for a second yellow card. Watford rallied for a spell after this, culminating in Abdoulaye Docuoure firing home a superb strike, but it was the Terriers who had the last laugh when Mooy scored his second from the penalty spot.

Marco Silva had said in yesterday’s pre-match press conference that Etienne Capoue would replace the suspended Tom Cleverley and that was to be the only change from the side that threw away three points in the 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace.

Stefano Okaka and, even more rarely, Jerome Sinclair were on a bench that also included Roberto Pereyra, who had sustained a late knock after coming on as a replacement at Selhurst Park.

David Wagner made four changes to the side that was beaten 3-1 at home by Chelsea as he sought to find a solution to an awful away record which had seen the Terriers go eight league and cup games, and a total of 732 minutes, since they has last scored on their travels.

Hadergjonaj came in for unwell club captain Tommy Smith at right-back, Collin Quaner and Rajiv van La Parra were preferred to Danny Williams and Tom Ince in midfield, while Depoitre got the nod over Steve Mounie in attack.

The game got off to a scrappy start but the Hornets were almost through in the third minute when Andre Carrillo was very close to getting on the end of a Jose Holebas long ball forward, but Van La Parra did well to control it away from the Peruvian winger before he was caught by Daryl Janmaat.

The Terriers started positively though, and after something a mix-up between Christian Kabasele and Heurelho Gomes had led to the concession of a corner the visitors’ four-month wait for an away goal was to come to an end.

The defending of the corner was poor from a Hornets perspective as the set piece was headed up in the air and nobody in yellow seemingly took control, but Watford head every reason to question the officials because a visiting player was clearly offside when the ball was played back in and it was the same player who was to knock the ball across goal for Kachunga to convert from close range to make it 1-0.

Watfod tried to respond, with Carrillo embarking on a fine run around Chris Lowe before standing up a superb cross to the back post which was headed away. In general though, the hosts were looking somewhat flat in the opening stages and were struggling to get going.

Following the joy of scoring Huddersfield’s first goal on the road since the opening day of the season, Kachunga’s day was to end in agony when, as the flag went up for offside, he lost out in challenge with Gomes and appeared to turn his ankle badly.

Following several minutes of treatment and having been given oxygen, the Terriers scorer was stretchered off and replaced by Ince.

Watford were to have the next opportunity following the lengthy stoppage and it was a good one as a deep Carrillo cross from the right found Richarlison on the stretch at the far post, but he put the first-time effort over.

If fingers could justifiably be pointed at the officials over the first goal, Watford only had themselves to blame for the concession of a shambolic second in the 23rd minute.

Capoue was pointing into space with Holebas not switched on at all as a dinked ball released Quaner into far too much space on the right but was worse to come as his low cross went unchecked right across the six-yard box, leaving Mooy the simplest of finishes to make it 2-0.

Silva decided he’d seen enough and ditched three at the back as Pereyra replaced Adrian Mariappa. But a dreadful first half was to get even worse for the Hornets in the 33rd minute when Deeney recklessly flew into a challenge on Hadergjonaj, getting the ball but also plenty of the man and referee Oliver had no hesitation and immediately reached the red card as the Hornets had a player sent off for third successive match.

Terriers captain Hogg was booked on his Vicarage Road return for a foul on Carrillo, but Doucuore was soon to join him for pulling back Quaner, the significance of that being it was fifth yellow card of the season meaning the French midfielder was added to the growing list of suspensions.

In between times, Richarlison did lift the ball into the net from a free-kick but he was flagged offside.

Wagner was forced into a second change in the last minute of normal time as Scott Malone came on for the injured Lowe, but the end of five minutes of stoppage time was to be greeted by a chorus of boos at the end of Watford’s worst 45 minutes of the season to date.

Although they had a two-goal cushion and a man advantage, Huddersfield showed no signs of sitting back early in the second half as Quaner beat Kabasele with ease before his attempted cut back was cleared and then Depoitre headed narrowly wide after from an Ince cross from the left after the former Derby County man headed attempted to go round Gomes.

But the Hornets horror show was to get worse in the 50th minute when Depoitre slammed in the third, benefiting after the ball had broken to him off Holebas, who was caught in the face by an opponent but let the ball break invitingly off him in the area.

With some Hornets fans voting with their feet and heading for the exit early, Watford did try and lift themselves, with Janmaat shooting high and wide from distance before Carrillo saw a better curling effort helped over the bar by Jonas Lossl.

The player was to be evened up in the 62nd minute though, when Hogg caught Richarlison late and was shown a second yellow card which meant both teams would finish the game without their skipper.

A change immediately followed for both sides as Williams came on for Van La Parra, while Capoue’s ineffectual afternoon was ended when he was replaced by Andre Gray.

The Hornets had the next opening as Sebastian Prodl headed a Holebas corner from the left over and they continued to press, with Lossl diving to his right to push away a Pereyra curler.

It may have only been a glimmer but Watford were to give their fans some hope with 22 minutes of normal time remaining when a Holebas free-kick from the left was headed clear to around 25 yards from goal, but Doucuore watched it drop on to his right foot before hitting a superb effort that Lossl could only stand and admire.

Depoitre then added his name to the card count when he was booked for kicking the ball away, but the Hornets had their tails up and soon after Gray was to flash a badly mis-hit shot across the six-yard box after Carrillo and Richarlison had both been thwarted in their attempts to get shots away.

Mooy saw a shot deflected wide of the wrong-footed Gomes’ near post, before Silva played his final card, bringing on Okaka for Holebas.

But it was the visitors who were to have the last laugh as after Gomes had pushed a Williams shot over, Huddersfield were to be awarded a soft penalty soon after when Doucuoure clumsily caught Depoitre following a throw-in and Mooy comfortably beat Gomes from 12 yards to make it 4-1, earning a booking for celebrating by booting the ball into the crowd.

And it would have been five soon after had Doucoure not got back on his line to clear a Williams save off the line, although Watford were to have the last attempt of the game when Lossl made a superb save to keep out Pereyra’s close-range rising drive.

Watford: Gomes; Mariappa (Pereyra 29), Prodl, Kabasele; Janmaat, Doucoure, Capoue (Gray 64), Holebas (Okaka 82); Carrillo, Richarlison; Deeney. Subs not used: Karnezis, Wague, Sinclair, Watson.

Huddersfield Town: Lossl; Hadergjonaj, Jorgensen, Schindler, Lowe (Malone 45); Quaner, Mooy, Hogg, Van La Parra (Wlliams 64); Kachunga (Ince 19); Depoitre. Subs not used: Coleman, Whitehead, Cranie, Mounie.

Bookings: Deeney for a foul on Hadergjonaj – sent off (33); Hogg for a foul on Carillo (37); Doucuore for a foul on Quaner (41); Hogg booked for a foul on Richarlison – sent off (62); Depoite for dissent (69); Mooy booked for dissent (89).

Referee: Michael Oliver.