Watford were forced to settle for a point for the second game running after Wycombe Wanderers came from behind to produce a 1-1 draw at Adams Park.

Ismaila Sarr opened the scoring for the Hornets in the second-half with a headed finish in the six-yard-box, but Anthony Stewart’s leveller ten minutes later earned a first point of the season for the Chairboys.

Watford Head coach Vladimir Ivic opted to make four changes from the team that drew with Bournemouth at the weekend, with Joao Pedro returning to the fold in place of the injured Stipe Perica. Etienne Capoue started his first game this season with Nathaniel Chalobah dropping to the bench, while Kiko Femenia and Domingos Quina also came back into the starting line up with James Garner and Jeremy Ngakia were named among the substitutes.

Early on it became clear how both sides were hoping to inflict damage, with Wycombe hoisting the ball forward looking for their target man Adebayo Akinfenwa to flick on to his supporting forwards, while the Hornets were switching the play from side to side to try and stretch the home side’s back four.

It was Watford’s tactics that produced the first shot on target with the ball sitting up nicely for Capoue to hit on the volley, but he failed to make a firm enough connection and his strike bobbled harmlessly into the gloves of Ryan Allsop.

Wycombe were not making life easy for their visitors, with their high press not allowing Watford to play the game they wanted. However, they were not able to turn possession into chances and when a ball into the box from the right from Jack Grimmer picked out Akinfenwa unmarked at the back post, the striker needed a much better connection than the one he managed, diverting the ball out for a throw in.

At the other end, the Hornets had a lot less of the ball, but were making more of it to begin with and Ken Sema was unfortunate not to find either the net or a teammate with his driven effort across the face of goal after quarter-of-an-hour.

The Hornets then started to impose themselves a lot more on their opponents, but defensively the hosts stood firm and reduced Ivic’s men to pot shots from outside the area. Wycombe soaked up all that was thrown at them, as Watford struggled to bring their attackers into the match. A Quina effort, deflected behind for a corner, was as close as they came to troubling Allsop.

While the Chairboys were not enjoying any lengthy spells of possession themselves, they did create the first real opportunity to break the deadlock through the tried and tested method of playing a ball long to Akinfenwa. The 38-year-old nodded down to Scott Kashket, who swivelled neatly in the box and unleashed a shot destined for the bottom corner before Ben Foster’s swift intervention turned it behind for a corner.

Foster had to be alert again moments later following yet another searching delivery from deep aimed at Akinfenwa. This time the striker took the ball down on his chest before shimmying and creating room for a shot, but the Watford keeper caught it mid-flight to his right-hand side preventing it from arcing into the top corner.

Wycombe’s pressing and physicality continued to cause problems for Watford, who were not being given the time on the ball they wanted. This led to the home side creating the best chance of the half when Tom Cleverley was hurried on the ball and his rushed pass to William Troost-Ekong was nicked away by Kashket who weaved a way into the penalty area before squaring to Akinfenwa, who somehow blazed over the bar from just eight yards out.

Watford then looked to have made Gareth Ainsworth’s men pay for their big misses with a counter-attack count when Pedro diverted Sarr’s cross into the net, but it hit the Brazilian’s arm in the process and was duly ruled out.

Before the half-time whistle, there was time for Wycombe to create one more chance with Daryl Horgan slipping in behind the Hornets defenders, but he took too long on the ball and a last gasp challenge diverted it behind for the corner, which was easily dealt with by the Watford defenders.

It was the Hornets who emerged with the greater sense of purpose after the break, pushing Wycombe deep into their own half, but that allowed the home side to show that they were also dangerous on the counter.

Balls from the right from Horgan and Grimmer produced great chances for Wheeler and Akinfenwa but again Foster was able to produce the required acrobatics to deny both of the Chairboys’ attackers.

Then, against the run of play, Watford opened the scoring with a chance of their own from the right. Femenia’s cross was arrowed straight onto the head of Sarr, who nodded home from six yards out after what had been a quiet evening up to that point from the Senegal international.

However, buoyed by his goal, he found space just six minutes after his first goal of the season and almost doubled his and Watford’s tally when Sema rolled the ball back to him on the edge of the 18-yard-box. Allsop got down well to his left to parry before the rebound was just nicked away with Pedro lurking with intent.

Watford’s lead would last just ten minutes, with Wycombe levelling shortly after the hour mark. Ahead of the game Ivic had discussed his side’s need to improve their defending at set pieces, but they obviously had not worked on it enough, as Joe Jacobson’s inswinging corner from the right was powered into the net off the head of Stewart, who Watford failed to pick up in the area.

A finely poised final half hour played out with neither side able to take the advantage. The Chairboys looked to have nicked all three points when substitute Alex Samuel turned another set piece into the net in stoppage time, but referee John Brooks blew his whistle for a foul on Foster.

Glenn Murray should have then stolen the victory for Watford even later on when Femenia found the veteran striker in behind the defence, but he lashed his effort wide of the far post, leaving the Hornets to settle for another point after taking the lead for a second consecutive match.