Ryan Cassidy scored a debut hat-trick as Watford’s Under-23’s came from 4-0 down to record a remarkable 5-5 draw against Bristol City.

A game in which both sides showed little regard for defence saw eight goals shared evenly before the half-time whistle after City raced into a 4-0 lead with just 23 minutes played.

Their first arrived with nine on the clock when Rory Holden eased beyond two Watford defenders and scored with a composed finish.

It was two a matter of moments later after a defensive slip from Max Ryan presented Antoine Semenyo with a chance he couldn’t miss, and he duly dispatched.

Two soon became three as Semenyo turned provider and slipped a pass into Kel Akpobire to stab under the onrushing Nathan Gartside.

City’s blistering start yielded a second for Holden and fourth for the hosts when his free-kick deflected in to leave Watford apparently dead and buried.

Ashley Charles gave Watford hope of a comeback just before the half hour as he lashed in a powerful drive from Dennon Lewis’ corner.

What followed was as unbelievable as it was impressive and Watford scored three goals in the space of seven minutes to level before half time.

Cassidy, who at 16 was playing his first game at this level, got the first with a composed one-on-one finish with 38 minutes gone.

He got his second two minutes before the break after turning smartly and converting a well-taken finish.

Lewis then got in on the act with the leveller on the cusp of the break, rounding the City keeper and turning into an empty net.

With confidence soaring, Watford picked up where the left off in the second half and were ahead for the first time in the game three minutes after the restart.

The fifth goal saw Cassidy compete his treble as he scored from close range after David Sesay had raced clear down the left.

With the lead now there’s for the first time, Watford looked to hold out for a win, but Tyreek Bakinson had other ideas and levelled to ensure the points were shared after a breathless game.