Quality was in very short supply as Watford had to settle for a point after being held to a goalless draw in a largely turgid encounter with Burnley at Vicarage Road.

On a day when the Hornets paid tribute to Graham Taylor, the two teams failed to produce a spectacle that will live particularly long in the memory.

Watford had started and finished the first half with good chances for Gerard Deulofeu and Troy Deeney, but for much of what happened in between they struggled against Burnley’s physical and direct approach and were fortunate that Ashley Barnes wasted two great opportunities.

The Clarets spurned more good openings at the start of the second half, but Javi Gracia’s decision to bring on Isaac Success saw an improvement from the hosts, before a succession of injuries saw it come to an increasingly messy and frustrating ending.

Gracia made three changes to the side that won at Crystal Palace last time out, all of which were enforced.

Will Hughes’ absence was expected following the bang to the head he sustained at Selhurst Park, but the Hornets stated Abdoulaye Doucoure also sustained a knee injury that victory, while Craig Cathcart was also ruled out with a knee problem he picked up in training.

Their places were taken by Christian Kabasele, Ken Sema and Tom Cleverley, who made his first league start of the season.

Burnley came into the game seeking a fourth successive Premier League win and with no new injury concerns among his starting XI Sean Dyche opted to field an unchanged team.

Following the scarf tribute to the Hornets’ greatest ever manager and a minute’s applause in honour of another Hornets great, Duncan Welbourne, the home side had a great chance to take an early lead when Deulofeu was played in behind the Clarets defence. The Spaniard’s pace took him clear and through one-on-one with Tom Heaton, but his finish lacked conviction and the Burnley stopper was able to save.

Deulofeu was to have another chance soon after when Kiko Femenia crossed from the right, but this time the forward mistimed his attempted header and failed to make contact. However, the ball ran for Roberto Pereyra on the left, he crossed back into the middle where Deeney nodded down and Sema stabbed the ball goalwards, only to see it cleared off the line.

Burnley’s first opportunity came from their opening corner in the ninth minute which Dwight McNeil delivered deep from the right and James Tarkowski got up at the back post, but was unable to direct his header on target.

The game settled down for a spell after that lively opening, but the visitors had the next sight of goal when a cross from the left found centre-half Ben Mee up in the opposition area, he half-volleyed back across the 18-yard box but the Hornets were able to clear.

The visitors were gaining encouragement as they won plenty of second balls, with Watford struggling to retain possession, and it took some fine defending from Adrian Mariappa to prevent Barnes from being through on goal when he juggled the ball into the area after strike partner Chris Wood had hooked it back towards the edge of the 18-yard box.

Burnley’s endeavours really should have been rewarded on the half-hour when an Ashley Westwood cross from the left picked out a completely unmarked Barnes around eight yards out, but he didn’t get enough on his header and directed it straight at a relieved Ben Foster, who had good cause to question what his defenders were doing.

Another chance came and went for the visitors in the 33rd minute when they were awarded a free-kick left of centre around 25 yards out, but McNeil found the side netting with a left-footed effort which he’d tried to direct inside the near post.

Watford were struggling and needed half-time to come, and they survived another big let-off in the 39th minute when a Phil Bardsley cross was inadvertently headed back into his own six-yard box by Mariappa, putting a gilt-edged chance on a plate for Barnes, but he somehow put it wide.

Still the Clarets kept pushing and two minutes before the break a ball down the inside right channel found Wood with his back to goal, he twisted to shake off Mariappa and fired a low effort narrowly wide of Foster’s near post.

Watford had been very much on the back foot, but in the last minute of the half they built down the right and Femenia played in a good low ball, Deeney got across his man and fired goalwards but was thwarted by a good reaction stop from Heaton as the opening period ended goalless.

The Hornets were lucky to escape again within two minutes of the restart when a Jeff Hendrick pass from the right found Bardsley scampering into the freedom of the right side of the penalty area, but Barnes was unable to get on the end of his teammate’s slide-rule pass across the six-yard box.

It was then Foster’s turn to come to his side’s rescue in the 54th minute when he did well to thwart Hendrick at close quarters after McNeil’s hooked ball had found the midfielder in space baring down on goal.

That led to two corners in quick succession, the second of which went beyond the back post, Mee headed back into the danger zone where McNeil blasted over from close range.

The game remained scoreless though, and moments later Femenia stood up a cross to the far post where Deeney jumped to challenge and the ball ricocheted back towards his own goal off Tarkowski, but Heaton instinctively stuck out a leg to prevent an own goal.

It came as no surprise that a first change for the Hornets arrived in the 56th minute as Success replaced Sema, with Deulofeu taking his place on the right flank.

The substitute’s first meaningful involvement was to receive a pass and advance into the space in front of him before slipping a pass to the left side of the penalty area to Pereyra, who checked back on his right foot before curling a shot a foot or two wide of the far post.

Success was then fouled by Mee, which earned the Burnley defender the game’s first booking, before the Hornets’ good spell continued with Tom Cleverley forcing Heaton to go to ground to hold his right-footed half-volley after Deeney had headed a deep Femenia cross back to the midfielder.

Femenia had enjoyed a good afternoon but it was to be prematurely ended by injury in the 77th minute and he was replaced by Miguel Britos.

A petulant reaction from Deulofeu earned him a booking soon after, but the disruptions in play had saw an already disjointed contest become even more scrappy.

Bardsley was the next player to be cautioned, again for a foul on Success, before more stoppages saw the amount of injury time continue to increase.

In the event a minimum of four minutes was added on and in the second of those Burnley thought they had snatched a late winner when Foster could only parry McNeil’s daisy-cutter and Wood reacted first to convert the rebound, but the striker was clearly offside as a disappointing encounter ended goalless.

Watford: Foster; Femenia (Britos 77), Kabasele, Mariappa, Holebas; Sema (Success 56), Cleverley, Capoue, Pereyra; Deulofeu, Deeney. Subs not used: Gomes, Masina, Gray, Quina, Wilmot.

Burnley: Heaton; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Wood, Barnes. Subs not used: Hart, Lowton, Vokes, Gibson, Defour, Vydra, Long.

Bookings: Mee for a foul on Success (63); Deulofeu for dissent (78); Bardsley for a foul on Success (82).

Referee: Michael Oliver.