Watford were left to rue a host of missed chances as they were held to a draw by Rotherham.
Mario Gaspar hit the outside of the post early on for the hosts, before Shane Ferguson gave the Millers the lead as he blasted in from close range.
Vakoun Bayo grazed the Rotherham bar soon after, while Matheus Martins also struck the upright for the promotion-chasing Hornets shortly after the restart.
Watford eventually leveled as Joao Ferreira marked his first start with a long-range effort, but Gaspar, Ismaila Sarr and Yaser Asprilla all missed late chances. Tariq Fosu also went close for Rotherham on his debut.
Watford remain third but are now 13 points behind second-placed Sheffield United, while the Millers drop to 20th thanks to Stoke’s 4-0 win over Reading.
Watford could have been ahead after 10 minutes when Sarr’s dinked pass set Gaspar free, but the Spanish full-back struck the post with a shot on the turn.
At the other end, Dan Barlaser saw an effort from the edge of the box saved by Hornets keeper Daniel Bachmann seven minutes later.
But the Millers did not have to wait long to go ahead as debutant Fosu’s deflected shot was palmed away by Bachmann straight to Ferguson who smashed into the top corner for his second goal in as many games.
Watford almost leveled when Bayo’s first-time volley from the edge of the box grazed the top of the bar, before Sarr shot wide.
Sarr had a couple penalty appeals turned down shortly before the break, and Slaven Bilic’s side were again left to think what might have been three minutes after the restart when Bayo set up Martins who hit the woodwork.
But the Hornets did get a deserved equalizer as Leo Hjelde’s loose pass was intercepted by Ferreira and the new signing from Benfica blasted home from 20 yards after bearing down on goal.
The Millers should have retaken the lead with 15 minutes to go, though, when Fosu found himself unmarked in the penalty area after a lovely flowing move. But the Brentford loanee struck his close-range chance straight at Bachmann with the goal gaping.
Watford also spurned another late opportunity when Sarr raced onto an 85th-minute long ball, but saw Viktor Johansson parry his effort straight to Asprilla, and the Colombian was thwarted by Rotherham’s Swedish keeper.
Watford manager Slaven Bilic told BBC Three Counties Radio:
“We could have won the game, maybe we should have, although they had the best chance of the game.
“That was one chance, and to be fair we had a few of them that you really expect your players to score a goal.
“Unfortunately we didn’t do it, so of course we’re massively disappointed with the result, but that’s where we are at the moment.
“We’re trying, we’re giving everything, we’re getting in really good promising situations, but the quality today in these situations was not enough to get a goal.”
Rotherham United manager Matt Taylor told BBC Radio Sheffield:
“I’m so proud of the performance, I can’t stand here and say I’m disappointed, but there’s just something I thought we deserved.
“Maybe the way we created chances, certainly Tariq’s chance towards the end, the goalie’s avoidable.
“But the effort, for two weeks on the bounce, has been our start and our end point, and we’ve shown a little bit of quality in-between.
“Regardless of who we play, we have to be like that, we’re all in at the moment, they’re giving absolutely everything.”
- 1BachmanBooked at 45mins
- 31SierraltaBooked at 90mins
- 15cath cart
- 42MorrisSubstituted forKamaraat 45′minutes
- 3M GasparBooked at 39mins
- 37MartinsSubstituted forAdu-Pokuat 79′minutes
- 11KoneSubstituted forAsprillaat 65′minutes
- 19BayoSubstituted forAdeyemoat 73′minutes
- 21PeltierBooked at 90mins
- 29HjeldeBooked at 30mins
- 17FergusonBooked at 45minsSubstituted forbramallat 65′minutes
- David Webb
Match ends, Watford 1, Rotherham United 1.
Second Half ends, Watford 1, Rotherham United 1.
Lee Peltier (Rotherham United) is shown on the yellow card.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United).
Francisco Sierralta (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Francisco Sierralta (Watford).
Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Attempt blocked. Joao Ferreira (Watford) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked.
Corner, Watford. Granted by Cohen Bramall.
Corner, Watford. Granted by Lee Peltier.
Attempt saved. Yaser Asprilla (Watford) right footed shot from the center of the box is saved in the center of the goal.
Attempt saved. Ismaïla Sarr (Watford) right footed shot from the center of the box is saved in the center of the goal. Assisted by Tobi Adeyemo with a headed pass.
Corner, Watford. Granted by Viktor Johansson.
Tobi Adeyemo (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Cameron Humphreys (Rotherham United).
Foul by Tobi Adeyemo (Watford).
Cameron Humphreys (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Watford. Michael Adu-Poku replaces Matheus Martins.