Watford suffered their first defeat this pre-season as they went down 2-0 to Championship side Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
It was Rangers who were controlling the game and they went ahead through Sebastian Polter on 21 minutes after some questionable defending from Allan Nyom.
Although the Hornets did improve thereafter, it was the hosts who wrapped the game up eight minutes from time when Conor Washington fired home.
Walter Mazzarri’s side certainly still have some work to do before the Premier League begins once more in two weeks’ time.
The Italian has one more match to get his side to the standards he wants, with Lorient being the visitors to Vicarage Road next Saturday.
Rangers signal intent from the start
After a week-long tour of Austria, where Watford played two games against Union Berlin and Anzhi Makhachkala, they returned to home soil.
Mazzarri names a strong starting XI for their penultimate friendly, however, new signings Brice Dja Djedje and Jerome Sinclair were left out after picking up knocks in training.
And in the opening exchanges of the match, challenges flew in, which signalled the intent of the hosts, who are one-week away from their season beginning.
Rangers had the first chance of the game when Miguel Britos dwindled on the ball and Polter latched onto the chance, but sent his shot flying over the bar.
Hosts take the lead through Polter
The forward went closer moments later when he headed on Olamide Shodipo’s cross, but even thought Heurelho Gomes was beaten, the ball struck the underside of the bar.
Mazzarri’s side almost had their first chance on 15 minutes when Troy Deeney let Britos’ pass run to Abdoulaye Doucoure, who was just unable to get to the ball.
Rangers went close once more before they eventually broke the deadlock on 21 minutes, and they deserved their lead in the game.
Tjaronn Chery slotted the ball through to Polter and the striker eased past Nyom before firing past Gomes into the bottom corner.
Watford go close just before the break
Ben Gladwin went close for the Hoops before Etienne Capoue curled a shot wide of the far post, and they were struggling to create openings until six minutes before the break.
Britos found Anya with a pin-point pass, and the defender then picked out Ighalo, who couldn’t keep his header down.
Watford could have gone in at half-time level if it wasn’t for a brilliant reaction save from Smithies, who toed away Ighalo’s fantastic effort.
Mazzarri made three changes at the break, with three defenders coming on to try and strengthen up their back line.
Deeney was inches away from tapping home before Chery missed a golden opportunity, but despite the Hornets struggling to get things going up top, Jose Holebas hit wide on the hour mark.
Washington doubles lead late on
Watford made more changes soon after that effort and it brought a much-expected disturbance to the flow of the match.
Adlene Guedioura and Isaac Success entered the fray with 15 miuntes to go, however, it was the hosts who doubled their lead seven minutes after.
Washington was introduced into the game and his first contribution to the match was to find the back of the net.
The forward headed home in acres of space and put the game to bed in the process, with the Hornets now having one more friendly before their Premier League opener with Southampton.