It was free admission for season ticket holders as Watford Under-21s hosted Swansea at Vicarage Road this afternoon, but even at that price they were sold short in terms of positives to take home with them.

The young Hornets were pretty much given the run-around for 90 minutes and beaten 5-0 by a Swansea side who seemed able to find the space and gaps that the home side simply couldn’t.

While it’s always easy to saw the losing side were awful, that wasn’t particularly the case.

Charlie Daniels’ side were poor, make no mistake – but they simply weren’t allowed to settle, play or relax at any point by the Swans.

The round-trip from Swansea to Watford is a good seven hours – probably more on a coach – yet the visitors looked fresh and full of vigour and at no point did they ever look like doing anything except winning.

If there was something to take away from the game for Watford, it was a number of fine saves from keeper Alfie Marriott which stopped the scoreline slipping into the silly category.

Tom Cleverley and his coaching staff were all at Vicarage Road to watch the game, and saw the Hornets struggle to make any headway in a first half that was disappointingly one-sided.

From the off Swansea looked the brighter and more threatening side, and they were rewarded after five minutes when Maliq Cadogan ran in behind the Watford defence, checked inside as Ali Gould tried to make up the ground, and then guided a shot beyond Alfie Marriott.

Watford were struggling with balls played behind the back three, and Marriott had to get off his line smartly to gather a cross after Cameron Congreve had broken free down the right.

Soon after Cadogan got on the end of a deep cross from Charlie Veevers but looped his header onto the roof of the net.

It got worse in the 29th minute as Glory Nzingo raced away down the left and drew Marriott from his goal before planting the ball past him with the aid of a slight deflection.

It should have been three a couple of minutes later when Veevers burst from halfway to 25 yards out and then slid a pass to Ben Lloyd. He checked inside a challenge but then rolled his shot wide of the post.

Then Watford didn’t clear a redelivered corner and the ball landed at the feet of Filip Lissah. He managed to make space in a crowded box to get a shot away and Marriott sprung to his left and pushed it wide, recovering to smother Cadogan’s effort on the follow-up/

Right on the stroke of half-time there was a further blow when Zavier Messiah-Edwards – who was on the bench for the first team yesterday – went down holding his knee and had to be replaced by Dawid Hamiga.

Watford made a couple of changes at half-time but hopes of turning the game around were pretty much ended four minutes after the restart when the impressive Cadogan made it 3-0 from close range.

It could easily have been four after 53 minutes but Lloyd’s touch on a cross from Congreve came back off the post.

Marriott made a superb save in the 59th minute, taking off to stretch and tip over a powerful 12-yard drive from Nzingo.

From the resultant corner Lissah was afforded a free header at the back post but sent it high and wide.

However, that was only temporary respite as, in the 61st minute, Clarridge underhit a back pass and Cadogan nipped in to tuck the ball past Marriott to make it 4-0 and complete his hat-trick.

Watford’s first true sight of goal didn’t arrive until the 75th minute but it was as disappointing as the game on the whole as Luigi Gaspar fired high into the Rookery End stand from just inside the box.

As the game moved into stoppage time, Swansea scored their fifth as Watford failed to clear a series of crosses and Nzingo thumped the ball home to complete a miserable afternoon.

Watford: Marriott; Gould, Coyne, Gaspar, Clarridge, Davis (Ramirez-Espain ht), Eames, Fraser-Grante (Trialist ht), Torres (Sanghrajka 68), Massiah-Edwards (Hamiga 44), Watkiss (Nabizada 68).