WATFORD's bid to reach the Semi-Finals of the FA Youth Cup ended in gallant failure on Thursday, March 17 as Tottenham Hotspur won through to the last four with a 2-0 victory at Vicarage Road.

The young Hornets gave it their best shot but having beaten Spurs twice in the league this season, they found a third victory was just beyond them as the visitors capitalised on two first-half defensive lapses.

The impressive Andrew Chapman came closest for Watford, hitting the woodwork twice, and Spurs keeper Tommy Forecast was kept busy, particularly in the second-half, with a number of good long-range shots but, in truth, the home side were unable to carve out the number of clear-cut openings they would have hoped for.

Coach David Hockaday was able to name his strongest 11 and kept faith with the same 4-2-3-1 system that served the Hornets so well in the last round against holders Middlesbrough.

But his plans suffered a major blow after just a minute when Spurs got off to the ideal start. Marvin Homand overhit a square pass across the defensive line to Adrian Mariappa, who was caught in possession by Andy Barcham. He attacked the left side of the area before squaring to the edge of the six-yard box where Charlie Daniels beat Reece Kirk at his near post.

It took a few minutes for Watford to recover from the early setback but they gradually began to exert more pressure on the Spurs defence with Alex Campana seeing a shot blocked, only to be nearly undone again when Charlie Lee got up to head a corner from the right through Kirk's hands but Chapman was on hand to clear off the line.

Chapman then had shot blocked at the other end, but Tottenham doubled their advantage on 25 minutes. Mark Wright played a ball down the left and Barcham got goalside of Junior Osborne and raced towards the edge of the six-yard box before calmly placing a shot across the face of Kirk, who may have regretted his decision to stay on his line.

Indecision between Homand and Mariappa allowed Stuart Lewis to fire straight at Kirk on 35 minutes, but Watford were so nearly back in the game two minutes later when Joel Grant slipped in Chapman on the left side of the area, and he advanced before firing a shot against the bar. Grant then tried his luck from 20 yards but his shot went over.

Watford had the last chance of the half when Osborne lashed a free-kick wide of the near post from 20 yards, but they were unable to reduce the deficit before the interval.

The Hornets' first real opportunity of the second period came after 55 minutes when Al Bangura battled his way through on the edge of the area and fired in a shot which Forecast did well to push around his right-hand upright. Soon after, Bangura tried his luck from further out but the Spurs keeper was untroubled as the shot went wide.

Tottenham were the next to have an opening when Radwan Hamed headed back into the arms of Kirk following a deep cross from the right from substitute Jamie Davis, but soon after Ryan Gilligan forced Forecast to push over his powerfully-struck 20-yard drive.

Watford were denied by the woodwork again on 64 minutes when Chapman's left-footed curling free-kick clipped the top of the bar after Grant had been upended by Lee on the edge of the area. Then Bangura forced Forecast to dive to his left to keep out a 25-yard effort following Osborne's rampaging run down the right.

But another defensive mistake so nearly gifted Spurs a third on 68 minutes when Homand's weak back header was latched onto by Hamed, who held off Jordan Parkes, before firing in a shot which Kirk did well to push away. That was Parkes' last involvement in the match as he suffered an injury in making the challenge and was replaced by Elliott Frost.

Campana then made way for Kyle Matthews but Watford still struggled to create anything clear-cut against a disciplined and well-organised Tottenham rearguard.

The Hornets did have a sight of goal in the closing minutes when Chapman's cross from the left broke to Grant, but his shot was blocked by Lee, before Tottenham might have snatched a third when Davis fired in an angled shot which Kirk did well to parry and Mariappa reacted fastest to the rebound.

But with five minutes of injury-time to be played the home side still kept pressing, and Forecast was again forced into action to push behind Grant's angled cross-shot from the left side of the area. Then Grant volleyed high and wide after Toumani Diagouraga flicked on an Osborne cross from the right, but with that chance went Watford's cup dreams.

Watford: Kirk; Osborne, Mariappa, Homand, Parkes; Bangura, Chapman; Gilligan, Diagouraga, Campana; Grant. Substitutes: Frost for Parkes after 68 mins; Matthews for Campana after 76 mins; Bardle, Hoad and Cader not used.

Tottenham Hotspur: Forecast; Ifil, Mills, Lee, Wright; Maghoma, Lewis, O'Hara, Daniels; Hamed, Barcham. Substitutes: Davis for Daniels after 57 mins; Riley, Button, Archibald and Seania not used.

Bookings: Lee for a foul on Grant after 64 mins; Gilligan for dissent after 86 mins.

Attendance: 3,946.

Referee: Keith Stroud (Dorset)