Reece Miller’s maiden Under-23 strike was enough to secure Watford a 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest last night.

The substitute struck with 10 minutes to play to cancel out Virgil Gomis’ second half opener and earn Hayden Mullins’ men a share of the spoils.

Watford are now unbeaten ix six games at Under-23 level and could have snatched a late win when Ryan Cassidy saw a chance go begging late on.

With Forest sitting fourth in the Professional Development League Group A table, it was always likely to be a challenging evening on the road.

The first half proved to be as testing as predicted and Watford spent much of the opening period on the back foot as the hosts enjoyed most of the ball.

However, a new look defensive unit stood firm in the face of Forest pressure and the home side repeatedly failed to break down a resilient Watford.

The first chance of note fell to Gomis, but he found Sam Howes in fine form in the Watford goal as he made a smart stop with his legs.

He followed up his first save with another, on this occasion reacting well to keep out Tony Edser’s effort and keep parity intact.

Watford were creating precious little in the way of chances of their own, but were getting some joy down the left where Lewis Gordon enjoyed a productive game at wing-back.

Dion Pereira was also a positive in the first half and did well to link play between midfield and Cassidy in attack, dropping between the lines to pick up possession whenever possible.

A cagey first half gave way to a more free-flowing affair after the break as both sides came out of their shell in search of a go-ahead goal.

Watford eventually registered a meaningful attempt on goal with over an hour on the clock as Ashley Charles took aim from range and curled over the bar.

Carl Stewart then saw a shot blocked after getting on the end of Cassidy’s low cross, but Watford’s growing confidence would be undermined as Forest went ahead soon after.

Adam Smith was the curator in chief, slipping a pass into Gomis and he rounded Howes before passing into an empty net.

Rather than being demoralised by going behind, Watford and Mullins responded well as the coach threw Miller on to partner Cassidy in attack.

It didn’t take long for Miller to make an impact as he controlled a long ball forward from Tom Leighton and calmly finished a one-on-one.

Watford then pushed for a winner and were almost rewarded for their efforts when Miller sent Cassidy through on goal, but the forward failed to hit the target.

Regardless of the late miss, Watford will take great confidence from a battling performance and will look to build on the result against Huddersfield Town next Monday.

Watford XI: Howes (GK) (C); Leighton, Rogers, Ryan (Stray 60); D Sesay, Charles, Mukena, Stewart (Miller 73), Gordon; Cassidy Pereira.

Subs not used: Hoskins (GK), Mullings, Adebiyi.