Watford’s survival hopes have suffered another blow after they threw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to ten-man Everton at the death at Vicarage Road.

First-half goals from Adam Masina and Roberto Pereyra seemed to have the Hornets comfortably in the ascendency, only for woeful defending at corners to allow Yery Miny to score a quick-fire brace in injury time to equalise before the break.

The Hornets struggled to find their fluidity after the break but the game appeared to have swung back in their favour when Fabian Delph was sent off for a second yellow card.

Watford pushed for the winner, but allowed themselves to be caught three-on-three in injury time and Theo Walcott capitalised to snatch a win and inflict back-to-back league defeats on the Hornets.

Nigel Pearson made the one injury-enforced change from the side that was beaten at the death at Aston Villa with Christian Kabasele returning for the injured Craig Dawson. The fit again Danny Welbeck and Will Hughes were on the bench.

Everton also suffered a late rude awakening in their last league outing, letting a two-goal lead slip to draw 2-2 at home to Newcastle United, and Carlo Ancelotti made three changes from that starting XI.

In came the fit-again Gylfi Sigurdsson, Alex Iwobi and former Hornet Richarlison, with Morgan Schneiderlin, Bernard and Moise Kean making way and dropping to the bench.

The Hornets sought to press high from the whistle, but it was the visitors who had the first opening in the fifth minute when they built down the left and Iwobi played the ball in low for Richarlison to hit a first-time effort over the top.

Watford’s first sight of a chance came from a dangerous inswinging corner from Masina which Mina just managed to get a touch on with his head to take it away from the incoming Kabasele. Within two minutes though, the home side were in front with a superbly-worked goal.

It started with Pereyra and Nathaniel Chalobah combining well beneath the Elton John Stand to get the Hornets out of a tight corner, Etienne Capoue then swept an excellent cross-field pass to the left where Gerard Deulofeu took it out of the air with a great first touch before laying the ball back inside the area where Masina advanced before hitting a left-footed cross-shot across Jordan Pickford and inside the far post.

The Hornets were almost in again when quick thinking from Capoue taking the ball out of defence saw him hit a long pass which set Pereyra away, but Pickford was quickly out of the area and judged the bounce of the ball correctly to chest it down before a good pass gave his side an attacking situation.

Ben Foster was called upon to make a save for the first time in the 20th minute with a routine catch to claim a flicked header from Dominic Calvert-Lewin following a Djibril Sidibe cross from the right.

The Toffees continued to try and find a way back into the contest, but the Hornets were looking composed and confident in their structure and continuing to offer a threat when they got the ball in the last third of the pitch.

Another chance threatened to open up when Everton failed to properly deal with a Masina free-kick into the area, the ball ultimately sitting up for Abdoulaye Doucoure to improvise with an overhead kick but he was unable to direct it on target.

The French midfielder then had a powerful effort blocked by Lucas Digne, with the Everton defender then the subject of a VAR check following a strong challenge on Pereyra, but it was not deemed to be serious foul play.

The roles were then reversed after Pereyra caught Digne after the ball had gone, an action that particularly aggrieved Richarlison, but again it was deemed that no further action was necessary.

The Argentinian was to be the centre of attention again in the 42nd minute, but this time to much more significant effect as the Hornets established what looked to be clear daylight before the break.

Watford’s high press had suggested it might reap rewards throughout the opening period and this time it worked a treat, Troy Deeney winning the ball back and slipping a pass through to the onrushing Pereyra who confidently fired past Pickford to make it 2-0.

It was a cushion that didn’t last long though.

The visitors won a corner in the last minute of the half, the Hornets were unable to deal with the delivery from the right into the six-yard box and after a game of pinball Mina bundled the ball home to make it 2-1.

Ridiculously, more set-piece misery followed barely a minute later as Everton were gifted a firm foothold back in the game.

Again it came from a corner, this time from the left, and Mina was left free at the far post to plant a header past Foster, with Craig Cathcart particularly at fault, much to the disbelief of almost everyone inside Vicarage Road.

The Hornets were having to defend another corner within two minutes after an under-pressure Kabasele had done well to head a free-kick over his own bar, but this time they did deal with Digne’s delivery from the right.

The Everton pressure continued, again with another Digne corner from the right, but this time Foster was impeded and the hosts were able to gain some respite.

Welbeck made his return from injury in the 57th minute when he replaced Chalobah, with the Hornets seemingly through their rocky spell.

Ancelotti made his first substitution in the 65th minute, bringing on Kean for Iwobi, quickly followed by Schneiderlin entering the fray at the expense of Sigurdsson.

The Hornets wall did its job against a Digne free-kick in a dangerous position 25 yards out after Craig Pawson had played advantage for an earlier foul from Masina on Sidibie, which earned the Hornets defender a yellow card.

Delph had also been booked earlier and when he needlessly fouled Capoue in the corner, Pawson had no hesitation in showing a second yellow, quickly followed by a red, as the complexion of the game changed again., Ancelotti immediately bought on defender Michael Keane for Calvert-Lewin, but soon after Pearson gave Everton something else to think about as Isaac Success was introduced at the expense of Pereyra. However, the substitute’s first meaningful contribution was a booking for a foul on Sidibe.

Ignacio Pussetto replaced Deulofeu with eight minutes of normal time remaining as the Hornets continued to strive for a winner, Doucoure having their next effort with a volley from outside the area that flashed wide of the far post after a corner had been half cleared.

The Frenchman hit another effort wide as the Hornets continued to press, only for disaster to strike in the last minute of normal time.

The Hornets were caught on the back foot as Richarlison burst forward when Masina tried to bring the ball down, rather than clear, and the left-back was unable to get back at the former Hornet. He squared the ball inside to the supporting Kean who in turn helped the ball on to the unmarked Walcott and he slipped the ball beyond Foster to spark pandemonium behind the goal.

Everton were to able to manage the remainder of the game as they inflicted a big blow on the Hornets’ survival hopes.

Watford: Foster; Mariappa, Kabasele, Cathcart, Masina; Capoue, Chalobah (Welbeck 57); Pereyra (Success 75), Doucoure, Deulofeu (Pussetto 82); Deeney. Subs not used: Gomes, Gray, Hughes, Holebas.

Everton: Pickford; Sidibe, Holgate, Mina, Digne; Walcott, Sigurdsson (Schneiderlin 67), Delph, Iwobi (Kean 65); Calvert-Lewin (Keane 73), Richarlison. Subs not used: Stekelenburg, Baines, Bernard, Coleman.

Bookings: Delph for a foul on Pereyra (58); Masina for a foul on Sidibe (68); Delph for a foul on Capoue – sent off (71); Success for a foul on Sidibe (78); Mina for handball (84); Holgate for a foul on Doucoure (86).

Referee: Craig Pawson.