Watford's invovlement in this season's FA Cup was ended at the earliest opportunity, as they were knocked out with a 4-1 defeat at holders Leicester City.

A Youri Tielemans penalty and a cute flick from James Maddison had the home side 2-0 up inside 25 minutes, only for Joao Pedro to halve the deficit before the break.

However, Harvey Barnes re-established the two goal advantage in the second half, before Marc Albrighton added a fourth, sending the Foxes through to the next round and leaving the Hornets with only the Premier League to focus on.

Claudio Ranieri made seven changes to the side that was narrowly beaten by Tottenham last weekend, with Jeremy Ngakia, Tom Cleverley, Pedro, Ashley Fletcher, Ozan Tufan, Cucho Hernandez and young James Morris providing evidence that this was not a competition the Hornets were prioritising this season.

Kamil Conteh was joined on the bench by Derek Agyakwa and 17-year-old Shaqai Forde, as well as new signing Hassane Kamara.

An injury hit Leicester side was forced to make nine changes from their win over Liverpool, but the likes of Tielemans, Maddison and Barnes were still able to bring a degree of strength to the hosts’ starting XI.

That strength was made to count after just seven minutes when Francisco Sierralta dragged Jannik Vestergaard to the ground from a Leicester corner. Mike Dean had little option but to point to the spot and Tielemans converted confidently away to Daniel Bachmann’s right.

Watford meanwhile were unable to create a chance of their own until the 15-minute mark when Hernandez’s inviting cross from the right picked out Tufan, only for the Turkish international to skew his shot well over the top with a needlessly acrobatic attempt.

Moussa Sissoko cleared the bar with a wild effort of his own five minutes after, with Morris’ searching cross from the left headed out to the captain, who was lurking on the edge of the area.

Leicester almost doubled their advantage midway through the half when some quick thinking saw Maddison pick out Barnes on the corner of the 18-yard box with a throw in. However, the midfielder could find neither the net nor a teammate with his cross-cum-shot.

But the Foxes didn’t have to wait much longer for their second, with Maddison clipping over the onrushing Bachmann after latching on to a well-weighted pass from Ademola Lookman in the 25th minute.

The hosts’ two goal lead was quickly reduced by Watford, who scored with their first shot on target, just two minutes later.

Hernandez found Fletcher on the edge of the Leicester area with an inventive flick over his head and the former Middlesbrough man laid off into the path of Pedro, who floated the ball over the advancing Danny Ward into the far corner of the net after darting into the penalty area.

The travelling Watford fans felt Leicester should have been reduced to 10 men shortly before half time, with Vontae Daley-Campbell putting in two robust challenges.

The first, a crunching slide tackle on Ngakia, earned him a booking, but Mike Dean was lenient when the left back clumsily brought down Hernandez soon after, and he was allowed to stay on the pitch.

Daley-Campbell was involved in the last moment of interest in the first half when Ngakia skilfully flicked the ball past him before cutting back to Hernandez on the edge of the area, but his goalbound shot was cleared away by Hamza Choudhury and the sides went in at the break with the score 2-1.

Following his fortunate escape, Daley-Campbell was unsurprisingly substituted at the break, with Wanya Madivadua making his Leicester debut.

His first task was to defend with Pedro again causing problems. The Brazilian held the ball up well in the box before laying off into the path of Tufan, but again he was unable to control his strike and it ballooned over the bar.

Watford had further cause to be annoyed by the officials in the 50th minute when Fletcher collided with Lewis Brunt in the penalty area after rounding Ward on the end of a Pedro through ball. Shouts for a spot kick were waved away, with VAR upholding the decision.

The video officials made themselves less popular with Watford in the 55th minute when Barnes converted on the end of another well-measured Lookman pass from out on the right.

At first the assistant referee raised his flag, but VAR showed the run was clearly onside and the goal stood.

The match was then temporarily delayed due to a floodlight failure, just as Watford prepared to make a triple substitution. With 20p finally put in the meter just a few minutes later, Ken Sema, Juraj Kucka and Dan Gosling were able to replace Fletcher, Cleverley and Tufan.

Gosling almost set up Pedro for a second goal soon after his introduction, after Kucka had found Hernandez in behind with a searching ball over the top.

However the Brazilian's shot deflected off Vestergaard and bounced back out off the underside of the bar.

With 15 minutes remaining Ranieri handed debuts to teenagers Conteh and Forde, who replaced Pedro and Sissoko. They became the 150th and 151st players to make their Watford debuts in the Pozzo era.

Forde was quickly involved when he clattered into the back of Maddison to give Leicester a free kick on the corner of the 18-yard box. Maddison whipped the free kick into the area himself and found Lookman, who ought to have done better, unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box, but diverted the ball over the bar.

Tielemans went closer with ten minutes of normal time remaining, but he was denied by Bachmann following a pass into his feet from Maddison.

Leicester eventually added a fourth five minutes from time with Albrighton converting a rebound on the end of a flowing counter attack, after Bachmann had first denied Lookman from close range.

Hernandez had a late chance to make the scoreline look more presentable, but he dithered on the ball and Choudhury was able to get back and make a solid recovery challenge.

Nine minutes were added on at the end of the match due to the earlier floodlight issues, but a soft Ngakia shot and a weak Hernandez free kick was as eventful as it got, leaving the Hornets to prepare for next weekend's basement battle away at Newcastle United.