The first pre-season friendly of the summer ended in defeat as Watford were beaten 3-1 by Cambridge United at the club’s London Colney training ground this afternoon.

New head coach Rob Edwards started the game with new signing Vakoun Bayo – the striker’s £5m move from Charleroi was confirmed earlier today.

The first half team also included 19-year-old striker Tiago Cukur, who earned his first full international cap for Turkey last month, and 18-year-old midfielder Adian Manning, who has been at the club since he was nine and recently signed a pro contract.

New keeper Maduka Okoye began the first half between the posts while Tom Dele-Bashiru, who spent last season on loan at Reading, was in midfield.

The Hornets fell behind in the 16th minute when Harvey Knibbs received the ball on the edge of the box and scored with an angled shot into the bottom corner.

Cambridge keeper Dimitar Mitov denied Bayo from close range and then Manning rounded off a good move with a shot over the target.

The young midfielder had another effort deflected wide and the first half ended with Jeremy Ngakia bursting forward before firing in a shot which Mitov held.

Warford made eight changes at the break, including pairing Joao Pedro with Kwadwo Baah up front. Northern Ireland Under-21 international midfielder JJ McKiernan, who moved to Vicarage Road from Andover Town in 2018, was introduced as was defender Mattie Pollock.

A minute into the second half the visitors extended their lead as Jack Lankester’s shot was parried by Daniel Bachmann but Joe Ironside forced the rebound into the net.

The same two players then combined four minutes later, Lankester sliding the ball into the path of Ironside to make it 3-0.

There were three more changes for Watford just after the hour mark, including a run-out for Ryan Holding, the 18-year-old defender who signed from Stockport County in May.

In the 68th minute, the Hornets pulled a goal back. Baah was the creator, cutting the ball back across the face of goal for James Morris to score – but that was as good as it was to get for Watford.

A first chance for Edwards to put his pre-season work into a match environment and although it ended in defeat, as he said on Thursday: “In these early games, people shouldn’t ready too much into line-ups or scorelines.”

Watford first half: Okoye; Cathcart, Kabasele, Samir; Ngakia, Gosling, Dele-Bashiru, Manning, Kamara; Bayo, Cukur.

Cambridge Utd first half: Mitov, Williams, Jobe, Jones, Dunk, Simper, O’Neil, Tracey, Knibbs, Janneh, Smith.

Watford second-half: Bachmann; Cathcart, Kabasele, Pollock; Femenia, Kayembe, Dele-Bashiru, McKiernan, Hungbo; Joao Pedro, Baah. Subs: Masina, Morris and Holding for Dele-Bashiru, Kabasele and Cathcart after 62 mins; Adeyemo for Baah after 85 mins.

Cambridge United second half: Mannion, Tarpey, Okedina, Taylor, May, Digby, Worman, Lankester, Brophy, Ironside, Trialist.