Andre Gray netted a late winner to give Watford a 1-0 victory over Stevenage at the Lamex Stadium.

The Hornets were frustrated by Paul Farman in the Stevenage goal who made number of smart saves, particularly in a first half which Watford dominated.

However, Farman ultimately gifted Watford the win as his late error allowed Gray to notch his second goal of pre-season in the 88th minute.

A visit to Brentford awaits tomorrow, before Watford play their final friendly before the big kick-off on August 11 against Sampdoria next Saturday.

Javi Gracia surprised many by opting to name a strong side, with the likes of Troy Deeney, Sebastian Prodl and Will Hughes playing from the outset.

Ben Wilmot was also handed a start on his return to the Lamex Stadium and was given a warm reception by the home fans.

He once again played in central midfield alongside Jack Rodwell, who is on trial with the Hornets as he looks to rebuild a career which promised so much in its infancy.

The list of absentees perhaps carried greater significance for Watford, however, with Abdoulaye Doucoure, Gerard Deulofeu and Nathaniel Chalobah once again not involved.

Gracia’s side arrived back in England in good form having picked up a 1-1 draw and 3-1 win from meetings with FC Koln and Fortuna Dusseldorf while on a training camp in Austria.

The Hornets started brightly and would have been ahead after six minutes but for the class of Farman in the Stevenage goal as he made two fine stops in quick succession.

Firstly, he sprung to his right to claw away Hughes’ curling effort after the midfield man had been released on the right by a stunning Adam Masina pass, which spanned all of 50 yards and dissected the home side’s defence.

Form the resulting corner, Farman was again on song, reacting quickly to keep out Sebastian Prodl’s close-range header.

It took Boro 18 minutes to make an impression in the Watford box as a cross from the Watford left found Danny Newton free at the back post but he could only guide a header comfortably wide.

Just before the half hour mark Watford created their best opening of the half when a clipped ball into the box found Alex Jakubiak in space some 12 yards out.

He caught his effort well, but couldn’t hit the target and only concerned the side-netting with a fierce half-volley.

Watford were continuing to probe, but when they did breach the Stevenage defence they found Farman in fine form as he denied Hughes’ drilled strike and then rushed out to smother Jakubiak.

Despite, Watford’s pressure they could have gone in trailing at the break had it not been for Heurelho Gomes as he got down well to deny a header late in the half and ensure parity at the break.

Boro came out of the blocks flying in the second half and Gomes had to be at his best three minutes after the break as some poor marking allowed Alex Revell a free header from eight yards.

His header was powerful but straight at Gomes who palmed the ball over the bar the bail his defence out.

The chance started a spell of Boro pressure which saw Revell almost break the defence, but overran the ball and allowed Prodl to hack clear.

Watford made nine changes on the hour and were almost rewarded immediately as a cross from the left found Andre Gray in space six yards out.

On the stretch, the striker could only scoop a shot well wide of goal to let the hosts off.

The forward would have the final say on matter, though, after Farman had miss-kicked to Isaac Success and the wide-man dinked a cross to Gray to head the winning goal from point-blank range.