Watford Under-21s suffered a second defeat in three games as they were beaten 3-1 at home by Bristol City this afternoon.

The young Hornets were playing catch-up after falling behind in just the second minute and two further goals after the break left them 3-0 down with less than an hour played.

Charlie Daniels’ side had managed to overcome such a deficit at half-time in their previous outing when they beat Ipswich Town 5-3 on Friday, but Jake Watkiss’ 70th-minute goal was all the hosts had to show for their efforts in their latest Premier League Professional Development League encounter.

The Robins struck from the first opportunity of the match as Jordan James headed home from a corner.

A scrappy and physical contest ensued, with Alistair Gould firing over from distance before some smart defending from Josh Mullins forced Kai Churchley away from goal as he latched onto a ball over the top and his effort went wide.

Watford’s best chance of an equaliser in the opening period came when wing-back Freddie Buers played in an early cross to Tobi Adeyemo, whose first-time volley was saved by Jose Casa-Grande.

Churchley had a good chance to double the visitors’ lead when he struck the far post after driving in from the left and Marley Rose fired over the rebound.

The last attempt of the opening half came the Hornets way when Zavier Massiah-Edwards outmuscled the full-back before cutting onto his left foot and hitting a shot that Casa-Grande claimed at the second attempt.

The visitors made a strong start to the second half and soon doubled their lead when Ephraim Yeboah held off opponents before firing into the top corner.

Two quickly became three when Rose latched onto a flicked header in the box and calmly dispatched his finish past Alfie Marriott.

Daniels responded by making a triple substitution and it almost reaped instant rewards as Laken Torres turned and shot wide after receiving a Hamzat Balogun cross.

However, the home side did pull one back when substitute Watkiss was left with a straightforward finish at the far post after good work down the right ended with a low delivery in the box.

Watford pushed on as they looked to overturn a three-goal deficit for the second game running, with a Torres low volley kept out by the keeper, while Dawid Hamiga and Mullins both cleared the target after the ball had bounced around in the area.

However, Churchley twice had excellent chances to score a fourth, hitting the post with a one-on-one chance before firing another straight at Marriott.

Watford Under-21s: Marriott, Eames, Buers (Balogun 65), Gould, Clarridge (Hamiga 65), Mullins, Gaspar, Davis, Adeyemo (Watkiss 68), Adu-Poku (Torres 65), Massiah-Edwards. Sub not used: Macaulay.