Watford’s wait for a second win of the season – and search for a goal at Vicarage Road since the opening day of the campaign - is over after Birmingham’s City resistance was finally broken by two late strikes as the Hornets sealed a 2-0 victory.

It looked increasingly like the home side would have to settle for a point from a frustrating goalless draw, but with two minutes of normal time remaining the Blues were reduced to ten men when left-back Lee Buchanan was sent off for a second yellow card.

The foul was on substitute Yaser Asprilla and as the game moved into the opening moments of seven minutes of additional time, he produced a good delivery which Mileta Rajovic met with a superb header to make the breakthrough.

The gloss was to be added by fellow substitute Ryan Andrews, scoring his first Watford goal with a shot from outside the area which took a helpful deflection which wrong-footed John Ruddy to confirm the Blues were heading for their first league defeat of the season.

Ryan Porteous had gone close to putting the home side in front in the early stages with a cross-shot which rebounded off the post, but for most of the game Watford struggled to create anything clear-cut against a Blues side that was largely content to get bodies behind the ball and then look to attack when the opportunities arose.

Watford did start to move the ball around quicker as the game unfolded after the break, but for much of the first half it was too one-paced and lacking in offensive movement.

They were the side looking to force the issue though, as they continued to dominate possession and their efforts and patience were finally rewarded with a win that moves them up to 11th in the table.

Valerien Ismael made two changes from the side that started the 3-3 draw at Coventry City before the international break, changing both his full-backs.

Jeremy Ngakia came in on the right for Andrews, who dropped to the bench, while Ken Sema missed out after returning from international duty with Sweden with a muscle problem, but it was James Morris who took his place and not Jamal Lewis. The Newcastle United loanee was on the bench for the first time, but the list of substitutes was notable for not including a striker.

Birmingham also drew in their last outing before the international break, 1-1 at home to Millwall, and former Hornets skipper John Eustace made just the one change to his starting XI, with Oliver Burke making his debut in place of Juninho Bacuna.

The Blues were quickly out of the blocks and Daniel Bachmann was forced into his first save inside 45 seconds, parrying a Jay Stansfield shot after the visitors had broken when Rajovic’s attempted pass to Tom Dele-Bashiru was intercepted.

Referee Keith Stroud is never shy of reaching for a yellow card and he issued the first one, correctly, in the fifth minute to Birmingham right-back Cody Drameh for pulling back Matheus Martins wide on the left.

The Brazilian took the free-kick himself, whipping in a dangerous right-footed delivery which keeper Ruddy couldn’t take any chances with as he helped the ball over his own crossbar.

That corner was dealt with by the visitors but Watford won a second soon after which was initially cleared, but Ngakia played the ball back out to the left where Martins swung over a deep cross which found Porteous in space beyond the back post. The angle was tight but the Scotland international drilled the ball across the face of goal and was unlucky to see it rebound to safety off the far upright.

The Hornets were in the ascendency in terms of controlling possession, although some carelessness in possession by Francisco Sierralta near his own penalty area put Porteous under pressure but the Chilean got back to put the ball behind for the Blues’ first corner.

Watford continued to make life unnecessarily uncomfortable for themselves at times with some poor touches, loose passes and wrong decisions. Although they didn’t amount to any chances for the visitors, they served as warnings that needed heeding.

The game had fallen into a malaise as it ticked past the half hour, with the majority of the Hornets’ play too one-paced and not stretching their opponents’ disciplined two banks of four.

Dele-Bashiru tried to change that in the 33rd minute when he latched onto a ball and injected some pace before coming back inside on his right foot and hitting a shot from 25 yards that was deflected narrowly over the top.

The midfielder then tried to burst downfield on the counter before he was fouled by Buchanan, a challenge that resulted in Birmingham’s second yellow card of the contest.

That was quickly followed by another, this time for Krystian Bielik after a nasty challenge through the back of Imran Louza. The resulting free-kick was in a good position, left of centre 25 yards out but Martins couldn’t get his strike over the wall.

Watford finished the half by continuing to have plenty of the ball but they rarely threatened to break down through the visitors as the opening period ended goalless.

Ismael made a change at the start of the second half, bringing on Lewis for his debut in place of Morris.

The Hornets had struggled to get in behind the Birmingham defence in the first half but they managed it four minutes after the restart when a good pass from Ngakia put Rajovic in on the right side of the penalty area, but he was unable to pick out Martins who was trying to make up ground in the 18-yard box.

There was widespread bewilderment, not least from Wesley Hoedt when he was booked in the 55th minute, presumably for something he said.

Ismael made his second change a minute later as Asprilla replaced Tom Ince, before Birmingham received their fourth yellow card when Jay Stansfield got involved with Porteous off the ball.

But the Blues striker wasn’t far away from giving his side the lead moments later, hitting a fine right-footed shot from 25 yards that hit Bachmann’s left-hand post with the keeper desperately diving across.

Tempers were starting to get frayed and when Ivan Sunjic became the fifth Birmingham player to be be booked for a foul on Martins, angry words were exchanged between Dean Whitehead and a member of the Blues coaching team, earning both a booking as well.

More Watford changes followed in the 65th minute as Giorgi Chakvetadze and Ismael Kone replaced Dele-Bashiru and Martins.

However, the home side were opened up moments later when Keshi Anderson slipped in Stansfield on the left side of the penalty area, but his attempted pull back was unable to pick out Scott Hogan.

Ngakia shot wide from the edge of the area at the other end before the visitors made their first change when Koji Miyoshi came on for Anderson.

Ruddy was not unduly troubled by an attempted curler from Chakvetadze after Louza had spread the ball out to the left, before Burke made for way for Bacuna.

The arrival of the 75th minute without a goal meant it was now five hours since Watford last scored at home, Andrews entering the fray soon after in place of Ngakia.

The game remained largely one-way traffic towards the Birmingham goal though, but there was always the risk that the visitors might nick one – and that so nearly happened in the 82nd minute.

The visitors won a free-kick on the left midway inside the opposition half which was clipped into the area and he headed back across goal where Stansfield knocked the ball down to Hogan, but Bachmann reacted sharply to save his first effort and was also able to deal with the rebound.

Eustace then replaced his front two for the closing stages, bringing on Emmanuel Longelo and Jordan James in their place. But the Blues head coach may have been regretting that change moments later when Buchanan pulled back Asprilla and referee Stroud had no hesitation in reaching for a second yellow card, quickly followed by a red.

The signalling of seven minutes of additional time gave the Hornets fresh impetus they could still snatch a late winner – within two minutes the proverbial roof was lifted off Vicarage Road.

Watford had struggled to put a decent delivery into the box all game but Asprilla changed that, clipping in a cross from the right which Rajovic met with a superb header to send the ball past the outstretched hand of Ruddy into the top corner.

The Hornets’ new striker rushed straight to the Rookery while there was bedlam on the bench as fans, players and coaching staff celebrated a big goal.

But the celebrations were not finished.

Four minutes later the ball was worked forward to right of centre where Andrews took aim and hit a right-footed shot which took a deflection, wrong-footing Ruddy as the ball went into the centre of the goal to give the young right-back a moment to treasure and end Watford’s search for a second win of the season.

Watford: Bachmann; Ngakia (Andrews 76), Porteous, Hoedt, Morris (Lewis 46); Sierralta; Louza, Dele-Bashiru (Chakvetadze 65); Ince (Asprilla 56), Rajovic, Martins (Kone 65). Subs not used: Hamer, Livermore, Pollock, Kayembe.

Birmingham City: Ruddy; Drameh, Sanderson, Long, Buchanan; Burke (Bacuna 75), Sunjic, Bielik, Anderson (Miyoshi 67); Stansfield (Longelo 87), Hogan (James 87). Subs not used: Etheridge, Roberts, Gardner, Khela, Aiwu.

Bookings: Drameh for a foul on Martins (5); Buchanan for a foul on Dele-Bashiru (35); Bielik for a foul on Louza (38); Hoedt for dissent (55); Stansfield for a foul on Porteous (57); Sunjic for a foul on Martins (60); Buchanan for a foul on Asprilla (88) – sent off.

Referee: Keith Stroud.