The presence of six first-team players failed to prevent Watford’s Under-23 side slipping to another defeat under Harry Kewell.
Costel Pantilimon, Christian Kabasele, Adrian Mariappa, Ben Watson, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Jerome Sinclair all started for Kewell’s side against Colchester after Walter Mazzarri, in a wise move, felt they needed some much-needed game time. They have played just 89 minutes of league football between them this season. All played 90 minutes except Sinclair who, in first appearance since injurying his hamstring, was withdrawn just before the hour mark.
Mazzarri was watching from the sidelines this afternoon and although he would have enjoyed the Hornets’ attacking instincts in the seven-goal thriller, he will surely have been disappointed that five of the players in the side for their defensive qualities, shipped four goals to the League Two side’s under-23 side who featured no names of note.
Young pros Conor Stevens and Michael Folivi put Watford two goals to the good after 33 minutes but Colchester clawed it back to 2-2. Folivi put Watford 3-2 up but then Pantilimon was beaten twice in the space of three second-half minutes as the U’s wrapped up the points.
The defeat was Watford’s sixth in their last seven games and their 15th in the last 26 games under Kewell.
Watford: Pantilimon; Eleftheriou, Mariappa, Kabasele, Stevens; Stewart (capt), Doucoure, Watson; Folivi, Sinclair (Obi 58), Pereira (Adeyemo 66).
Subs: Bannister (GK), Ovenden, Rowan.
Colchester: Bransgrove; James, Kent, Peter (capt), O’Donoghue; Sembie-Ferris (Edge 62), Wright, Kamara (Sheriff 46), Brown; Bonne (Dunne 46), Regis. Subs: Williams (GK), Edge, Ocran.