Watford lost their first pre-season match of the summer away to neighbours Barnet and Malky Mackay's men can have few complaints.

The Hornets were disappointing in possession for the majority of the match and struggled to create many chances of note at Underhill.

And they were made to pay with 13 minutes to go as Ricky Holmes grabbed the winner.

There were two changes to the Hornets line-up which started in the 2-0 win at St Albans City.

Marvin Sordell replaced the injured Danny Graham and Piero Mingoia was preferred to Stephen McGinn, who has scored in both pre-season friendlies prior to this one.

Mackay also named trialist Mana Dembele on the bench. The French forward, who plays for Ligue 2 side LB Chateauroux, was one of four trialists at the club this week.

The Barnet starting XI included Jordan Parkes - the left back released by Watford this summer.

Watford started with purpose and Don Cowie almost slipped Sordell through in the first minute but Barnet quickly broke and won a corner.

Nothing came of the set piece and Watford were soon on the attack once more as the frantic pace continued.

The first real chance of the match fell to the visitors as Will Buckley dug out a cross for Piero Mingoia on the penalty spot and his half volley went a yard over the bar.

The first attempt on goal also went Watford's way but Ross Jenkins' header was never going to trouble former QPR keeper Jake Cole.

St Albans had to wait until almost 70 minutes for their first effort on target on Saturday and while Barnet's came just over a quarter of an hour in, Mark Marshall's effort would have had to be special to beat England Under-21s' number one from 35 yards out.

After a messy spell where a few Watford defensive mistakes were not punished, Martin Taylor did well to deny Barnet a certain goal by intercepting a pull back to Danny Kelly just as the striker was set to tap home from four yards out.

Buckley scored a hat-trick at Boreham Wood and looked every part a Championship striker but he will wonder how he failed to test the keeper after John Eustace put him through one-on-one. The former Rochdale man sliced his effort wide and over from six yards out.

Watford had started with real purpose but they stagnated and Barnet were arguably the better side during a ten, 15-minute spell, without really troubling Loach.

It looked as though Barnet had unlocked the Watford defence with ten minutes of the first half remaining after Lee Hodson badly misjudged a cross-field ball by Mark Byrne. But Mark Marshall tried too much and was shown wide by the covering Taylor.

Watford were struggling to maintain possession for any real period of time and both Sordell and Buckley were unable to hold up the ball and challenge for it aerially..

Sordell, playing with a cast on his left hand, had a golden opportunity though when Mingoia slipped him through on the right but his shot was straight at Cole.

Barnet had a decent chance themselves moments later when Byrne's cross-shot curled narrowly wide of the fire post.

The Watford fans had little to cheer about in a poor first half but for a moment they thought they may see a rare Lloyd Doyley goal when Mingoia picked him out, only for the full back's flick on to go comfortably over.

The second half started at a similar pace to the first and Mingoia, who switched to the left towards the end of the first half, had a goal-bound shot blocked in the opening minutes.

The visitors had a penalty claim soon after when Buckley's shot seemed to hit the arm of Anwar Uddin, although it would have been harsh on the Barnet centre back.

The Bees had barely touched the ball in the second half when the home crowd thought they had found the opener. The impressive Byrne's looping shot beat Loach and was heading for the top corner, only for it to go inches wide.

Sordell was struggling to lead the line but he almost caught out Cole with a 35-yard lob.

Watford had a few decent crosses into the box but they were struggling to create anything of note.

Mackay introduced trialist Dembele with 20 minutes to go but his first touch came seven minutes later when he took the restart after Barnet had opened the scoring.

Danny Hart had slipped Holmes inbetween Hodson and Taylor and the striker stabbed the ball past Loach.

Hart almost grabbed one himself a minute later when he was put through one-on-one but his shot at goal went wide of Loach's far post.

The substitute then got the wrong side on Bennett wide left and sent in a dangerous low cross that had Loach scrambling across his goal.

Barnet were out-passing their Championship opponents in the closing stages as Watford were still struggling to create chances and keep hold of possession.

Dembele did have a half chance to equalise when Cowie slid him in on the left and although his shot did force Cole to save at his near post, it lacked the power needed.

Barnet continued to be the more dangerous side and should have had a second when Loach came out his box to clear and misjudged the through ball badly. Marshall rounded the keeper but Mariappa just managed to recover in time, although some inside the ground were calling for a penalty.

Loach was not looking comfortable and was lucky no one gambled on Holmes' in-swinging cross late on as the ball flashed across his goal as he remained glued to his line.

Barnet: Cole; Devera, Uddin, Prosser, Parkes; Jarvis, Southam (Cox 62); Byrne (Hughes 62), Marshall; Kelly (Hart 72), Holmers (Poole 62). Subs: Stimson, Yorke, Carpenter, Kamdjo.

Watford: Loach; Doyley, Mariappa, Taylor, Hodson (Bennett 77); Jenkins (McGinn 86), Eustace, Cowie, Mingoia (Bryan 65); Sordell (Dembele 70), Buckley (Henderson 74). Subs: Gilmartin, Bennett, Aldred, Whichelow.

Attendance: 898.

Referee: Mick Russell.