Watford have only one last opportunity to end their four-and-a-half-month search for a home league win after being forced to settle for a point following a 0-0 draw with Hull City.

The point makes it five draws from the last six games under Tom Cleverley as the Hornets had their chances to win it, only to be let down by the quality of their finishing and composure when it mattered, but they also needed a fine performance from Daniel Bachmann to ensure they did not suffer successive defeats.

An excellent penalty save from the keeper prevented Ozan Tufan from giving the Tigers an early lead, before Watford enjoyed a promising spell around the midway point of the opening half, only for the game to increasingly degenerate into a bitty, stop-start affair due to a mounting number of free-kicks being awarded.

Referee Ben Toner’s often pedantic performance continued after the break as the card count continued to rise, but it was the Hornets who were to have the better of the second half until the latter stages when they needed Bachmann to make three fine saves to ensure they picked up a point.

The keeper denied Fabio Carvalho, Matty Jacob and Jacob Greaves in the final 15 minutes, but in between times Matheus Martins wasted Watford’s best chance of the contest when he fired wide with the goal at his mercy.

The draw means it is now 12 league games without a win at Vicarage Road since the victory over Norwich City on November 28. They will desperately hope it's lucky 13 when they face Sunderland in their final home game of the season next Saturday.

The Hornets interim head coach made three changes from the starting line-up that suffered an agonising last-gasp defeat at Southampton last weekend.

Ryan Andrews, Francisco Sierralta and Ismael Kone came into the team, Mattie Pollock dropped to a bench that included the fit-again Jeremy Ngakia and Ken Sema, but Tom Dele-Bashiru and Giorgi Chakvetadze were not involved.

Hull stayed in the hunt for the play-offs with a 3-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers last time out and boss Liam Rosenior opted to name an unchanged starting XI.

The visitors, playing a fluid 4-2-4 formation with former Hornets loanee Tufan often the furthest forward, had the majority of the play during a fairly quiet opening start to the game.

But that all changed in the ninth minute when Carvalho received the ball on the right, taking on Sierralta as he came inside and was clearly tripped inside the area by Wesley Hoedt as he came across to help.

Referee Toner had no hesitation in pointing to the spot but Bachmann read Tufan’s intentions from 12 yards, diving to his left to save the spot kick and keep the game scoreless.

Watford had started relatively slowly but they missed a good chance in the 15th minute when Jamal Lewis’ cross from the left picked out the unmarked Yaser Asprilla in the area but he planted a clear header wide of Ryan Allsop’s left-hand post.

Another opening came and went a minute later from another Lewis cross, this time the ball falling for Emmanuel Dennis who turned and lashed a shot high and wide with Asprilla in close proximity on the edge of the area.

Lewis was proving a useful attacking outlet for his side at this stage of the contest, with another promising cross from the left byline headed clear as Andrews attacked it in the heart of the box.

The wing-back was involved again in the 20th minute when the Hornets countered following a Tigers corner, but after leading the charge downfield he opted against taking on a shot from the edge of the area, instead passing to Asprilla, who looked as if he was partially tripped, but he kept his feet and saw a shot blocked.

It was Hull’s turn to go close next when a corner from the right fell for Tufan at the back post and he tried a backheel which Bachmann did well to claw away with Ryan Porteous stationed on the line behind the keeper to clear if necessary.

The game then returned to the pattern of Hull having most of the possession, although their opponents were not helping themselves at times by needlessly giving the ball away.

The Hornets’ frustrations were also slowly mounting as their opponents were awarded a succession of free-kicks by the referee, culminating in Hoedt receiving the first booking in the 39th minute for a foul on Abdulkadir Omur.

However, the card count was quickly levelled up when Greaves saw yellow for a foul on Porteous, but the stop-start nature of the game meant there was very little flow to it as half-time approached.

Watford did manage to muster a couple of more attempts in stoppage time when Edo Kayembe saw a left-footed strike from outside the area deflected wide, while Andrews had a scuffed effort blocked from the resultant corner blocked as the opening period ended goalless.

The second half started with yet more free-kicks being awarded for relatively innocuous things, while the first effort on goal after the restart ended high in the Rookery via the right boot of Porteous from the edge of the penalty area.

The Scottish international then added to his collection of yellow cards for the season after a foot race with Tufan down the left touchline ended with a mistimed sliding challenge on the Turk.

Andrews was soon to join him in the book for a foul on Jaden Philogene before Tufan slid a finish beyond Bachmann and into the far corner of the net, but the whistle had already gone for offside.

However, the Hornets were almost through in the 56th minute when Asprilla embarked on a superb slaloming run from inside his own half to the opposition 18-yard box before slipping a pass through to Dennis, but the striker’s decision to take a touch gave a defender the opportunity to get back before he could pull the trigger.

Some more neat footwork from Asprilla saw him open up a shooting opportunity to the right of centre on the edge of the penalty area from the resultant corner, but the young Colombian was unable to keep his strike down.

The hosts had another effort just before the hour when Asprilla seemed to overhit a cross from the left but Vakoun Bayo was able to pull the ball down for Andrews to hit a first-time strike wide of Allsop’s left-hand upright.

Jacob became the next player to be cautioned for barging over Bayo before Rosenior made the first change in the 62nd minute, bringing on Liam Delap for Tufan.

The Hornets were having the better of it at this stage and Kone was the next to chance his arm, although his right-footed shot didn’t have the power to really trouble Allsop.

Cleverley made his first substitution in the 65th minute, with Ngakia returning from his injury lay-off in place of Andrews, before a Lewis cross picked out the head of Bayo but his attempt almost struck the corner flag.

Tyler Morton became booking number six of the game for a foul on Asprilla, soon followed by another yellow card for Sierralta for bringing down Delap but the Hornets’ defensive wall did its job against Morton’s free-kick.

Cleverley made a double change in the 73rd minute as Dennis and Lewis made way for Mileta Rajovic and Ken Sema, with the new striker’s first significant contribution being a well-struck curling free-kick from just outside the area which the diving Allsop punched away.

Hull were struggling to create opportunities but they did have one in the 80th minute when Delap pulled a shot across the face of goal and wide from the right side of the area, with a sliding challenge from Hoedt doing enough to help put him off.

A triple Tigers change followed as Billy Sharp, Ryan Giles and Adama Traore entered the fray in place of Omur, Regan Slater and Jean Michel Seri, while Mateus Martins came on for Bayo.

The Hornets needed Bachmann to be at his best to keep them level in the 85th minute though, when he made an excellent save to tip over Carvalho’s free-kick from the edge of the D that went over the wall and towards the far top corner.

Back came the hosts with Sema digging out a cross from the left which Rajovic didn’t make a proper connection with, before a gilt-edged chance was passed up when Asprilla’s low ball in from the right fell invitingly for Martins, only for the Brazilian to steer the ball wide of the far post with the goal at his mercy.

Bachmann did very well again, having to adjust to keep out a stinging Jacob drive from the edge of the area before reacting superbly to prevent an opponent from getting to the rebound first.

Hull boss Rosenior talked his way into Toner’s notebook as the game ticked towards four minutes of additional time, the second of which saw Bachmann excel again to save from Greaves when a pass sent the Tigers skipper clean through on goal.

Traore became the final player to be booked for some afters following that save but the final chance was to fall the Hornets way when Asprilla fired over the top as the contest finished all-square.

The draw means Watford are now certain to finish with their lowest points tally in the Championship during the Pozzo era, indeed since the 2009/10 campaign when they finished with 54.

Watford: Bachmann; Porteous, Sierralta, Hoedt; Andrews (Ngakia 65), Kone, Kayembe, Asprilla, Lewis (Sema 73); Bayo (Martins 81), Dennis (Rajovic 73). Subs not used: Hamer, Ince, Livermore, Pollock, Morris.

Hull City: Allsop; Slater (Giles 81), Jones, Greaves, Jacob; Seri (Traore 81), Morton; Omur (Sharp 81), Carvalho, Tufan (Delap 62), Philogene. Subs not used: Ingram, Coyle, McLoughlin, Docherty, Traore, Christie.

Bookings: Hoedt for a foul on Omur (39); Greaves for a foul on Porteous (41); Porteous for a foul on Tufan (50); Andrews for a foul on Philogene (52); Jacob for a foul on Bayo (62); Morton for a foul on Asprilla (70); Sierralta for a foul on Delap (72); Rosenior (manager) for dissent (88); Traore for a foul on Bachmann (90+2).

Attendance: 18,753.

Referee: Ben Toner.