Woeful Watford have added another depressing entry to the list of miserable home defeats suffered at the hands of Huddersfield Town during the Pozzo era after throwing away a winning position to go down to a 2-1 loss this afternoon.

A couple of dismal 4-1 reverses in 2014 and 2017 bring back bad memories, as does last season’s 3-2 loss when the Hornets also took the lead, but it was the manner in which Valerien Ismael’s men joined that depressing catalogue that will have disappointed, even angered some fans.

Watford came into the game without a home league win since the end of November but the fact Ismael had seen enough by midway through the first half and made a double substitution said everything.

The hosts were lethargic, lacking intensity and attacking ambition, with fans soon expressing their frustration at the sideways and backwards passing that offered next to no entertainment for the home faithful.

The Hornets finally started to shown signs of coming to life as an attacking presence in the closing stages of the first half, with Yaser Asprilla looking the most likely to make something positive happen.

And that was how it transpired ten minutes after the restart when he supplied the pass that gave Emmanuel Dennis, starting his first game since returning to Vicarage Road, the opportunity to take a touch before firing high into the roof of the net.

The striker was to be forced off with injury soon after but that goal should have provided the platform for the hosts to push on and take the chances.

They had their chances to double the lead through substitutes Mileta Rajovic and Tom Ince, but their failure to take one was to be twice punished by Danny Ward – the Terriers replacement showing sharper movement and desire to score with his head and foot following crosses that were both delivered with little pressure on the ball.

The final whistle was greeted with a loud chorus of boos from those Hornets fans that remained inside the ground, a reaction to a performance that was desperate, unacceptable and undoubtedly the lowest point of the season.

Ismael made two changes from the starting XI that secured a first win in six league outings at Rotherham United last weekend.

Dennis made the first start of his second spell at Vicarage Road in place of Rajovic, while Jake Livermore returned with Francisco Sierralta also dropping to the bench.

The fit-again Jeremy Ngakia was back in the matchday 20 for the first time since the goalless draw at Huddersfield in November, but that made Ismael’s decision to again have Ryan Andrews among the replacements somewhat surprising. Tom Dele-Bashiru continued at right-back.

The Terriers were beaten 2-1 at home by Hull City in their last match and new manager Andre Breitenreiter made three changes to his starting XI, with Delano Burgzorg, David Kasumu and Tuta Nakayama coming in for Ben Wiles, who dropped to the bench, while Sorba Thomas and Radinio Balker were not involved.

It was the visitors, who had changed to a 3-4-1-2 formation, who had the first effort in the third minute when Burgzorg was played in on the right side of the penalty area but he shot straight at Ben Hamer.

The Hornets looked sluggish in the early stages, struggling to string together any passages of play of note or get out of their own half, and in the 12th minute they almost shot themselves in the foot when Ken Sema played an awful square pass across midfield that was intercepted by Burgzorg, who advanced before his right-footed shot was deflected, sending it spinning up and wide of Hamer’s right-hand post.

Jack Rudoni was the next to run at a retreating backline after more sloppy play at the Hornets and he looked set to pull the trigger until he was fouled from behind in the D by Edo Kayembe, earning the midfielder a yellow card.

The defensive wall did its job though, as Josh Koroma’s free-kick was headed behind, but it was another let off for the Hornets as their awful start to the game continued.

Sections of the Vicarage Road faithful were soon expressing their frustration as well, booing after yet more passing square and backwards by the home side had seen them go precisely nowhere.

By the 25th minute Ismael had seen enough. Tom Ince and Giorgi Chavetadze were summoned from warming up and sent on, with Ismael Kone and Kayembe hauled off.

Ince’s first involvement though, was a misunderstanding with Asprilla when he failed to read a pass inside to the edge of the area from the Colombian, leading to both players gesturing to each other.

Huddersfield had another opportunity soon after when a ball inside Mattie Pollock down Watford’s left gave Burgzorg another chance to run at the defence before sending in an angled shot which Hamer blocked behind with his legs.

The Hornets had offered next to nothing as an attacking presence in the opening half-an-hour, but they did win a corner in the 32nd minute which ended with Pollock heading down and wide.

Watford finally began to enjoy some sustained, positive possession in the final third as the opening half moved into its final ten minutes.

And five minutes before the break, the Hornets finally created an opportunity of note when Asprilla played a superb reverse pass into the area which Ince hit first time, forcing keeper Lee Nicholls to parry and the rebound was headed back and behind by Matty Pearson.

It was a very rare moment of quality from the Hornets though during a goalless first half which was the worst delivered by the home side at Vicarage Road this season.

And there continued to be few signs of quality at the start of the second half which saw Huddersfield have the first chance after the restart in the 50th minute when Burgzorg’s pass inside released Rudoni, who advanced before shooting not too far wide of Hamer’s right-hand post from the edge of the area.

The Rookery then tried to urge Watford on, coinciding with a passage of passing which ended with Asprilla trying a shot from the edge of the area which didn’t unduly trouble Nicholls.

But in the 55th minute – and in a moment largely out of keeping with what had been served up previously – Watford took the lead.

Asprilla had looked the most likely to make something happen in the final third and so it proved as he ran on to pass on the right and got away from a rather tame challenge by Spencer to break into the area before squaring and Dennis took a touch before slamming the ball into the roof of the net on the turn to make it 1-0.

It was to be the goalscorer’s last involvement though, as he sustained what looked like a groin or thigh injury soon after and had to be replaced by Rajovic, while Matheus Martins came on for Jamal Lewis.

Ince was yellow carded in between times before former Hornets midfielder Jonathan Hogg was soon to receive appreciative applause from all four sides of Vicarage Road, which he reciprocated, when he had to go off due to injury as Wiles took his place, while Ward also came on for Koroma.

Having made the breakthrough though, the Hornets were starting to look more assertive as an attacking presence, creating two good chances in as many minutes.

First, an unmarked Rajovic got his bearings wrong and headed a Chakvetadze delivery from the left wide, before a Martins pass inside from the same flank was met on the run by Ince, who flicked the ball across goal and narrowly wide of the far post.

The Terriers made a third change in the 68th minute as Alex Matos was substituted for Tom Edwards, but the Hornets got in again when Ince released Asprilla, who initially looked like he might shape to shoot, but instead laid the ball off to Rajovic, but he tamely prodded wide.

The Hornets’ inability to score a second goal was to bite them in the 70th minute.

The ball was laid back to Yuta Nakayama in the left-hand channel and he clipped in a cross which Ward, who had got goal-side of Sema, headed down and beyond Hamer to equalise.

David Kasumu received the visitors’ first yellow card for a foul from behind on Martins, but soon after the home side could have been punished when they gave the ball away and Burgzorg was released with the freedom of the left flank but he was unable to pick out Ward in the middle as Watford desperately tried to get bodies back.

The visitors continued to threaten, with Wiles trying a right-footed curler from the left edge of the penalty area which clipped the roof of Hamer’s net as it went over.

But Watford were to go closer in the 82nd minute when Sema took on and beat Edwards on the left edge of the 18-yard box before playing in a low delivery which Ince hit first time narrowly over the top.

Instead of being in front, the Hornets were to find themselves behind less than minute later.

Edwards and Ince were again involved, this time the Huddersfield replacement getting in a low cross from the right which Ince was unable to shut down, and Ward was again the liveliest in the box, getting across the front of Pollock as he attacked the near post to steer the ball beyond Pollock to make it 2-1.

Both sides made a final change with four minutes of normal time remaining – Brahima Diarra coming on for Burgzorg while Andrews came on for Jake Livermore – before the Hornets tried to dig themselves out of a hole.

Rajovic had a chance in the final minute of normal time, meeting an Ince cross from the left with a header which he was unable to direct on target, but the signalling of eight minutes of stoppage time offered further hope.

There was to be none as the Terriers saw out the final minutes without alarm, leaving Watford contemplating a seventh successive home league game without victory.

Watford: Hamer; Dele-Bashiru, Pollock, Hoedt, Lewis (Martins 59); Livermore (Andrews 86); Kayembe (Chakvetadze 26), Kone (Ince 26); Asprilla, Dennis (Rajovic 59), Sema. Subs not used: Bachmann, Ngakia, Sierralta, Grieves.

Huddersfield Town: Nicholls; Pearson, Lees, Nakayama; Kasumu, Matos (Edwards 68), Hogg (Ward 61), Spencer; Rudoni; Burgzorg (Diarra 86), Koroma (Wiles 61). Subs not used: Maxwell, Bellagambi, Radulovic, Jones, Jackson.

Bookings: Kayembe (14); Ince (57); Kasumu (73).

Referee: Ben Toner