Watford 1 (Deeney 40)
Reading 1 (Hunt 15)
Reading were held to a draw at Vicarage Road this afternoon, as Noel Hunt's opener was cancelled out by Troy Deeney's headed goal.
Watford: Loach, Doyley, A Taylor, M Taylor, Mariappa (c), Cowie, McGinn, Mutch, Sordell, Deeney, Graham.
Subs: Gilmartin, Hodson, Walker, Buckley, Bryan, Bennett, Whichelow.
Reading: Federici; Griffin, Harte (Armstrong HT), Pearce, Mills (c); Karacan, Tabb (Kebe 63), McAnuff; Hunt, Church (Antonio 84), Long.
Subs: McCarthy, Cummings, Khizanishvili, Robson-Kanu.
Yellow: Long, Mills
Ref: S Hooper
Att: 12,196 (1,213 away)
On a chilly afternoon at Vicarage Road the Royals started brightly, with Alex Pearce heading over Ian Harte's free-kick - though if it had hit the net the effort would have fallen foul of the assistant's flag.
The first real opening of the game didn't arrive until 13 minutes were on the clock, as Hornets forward Troy Deeney found room to turn and fire wide from the edge of the area.
However it would be the visitors who took the lead, as a wonderful ball to the channel by Ian Harte was excellently controlled by Shane Long, who centred for Noel Hunt to poke home for the third consecutive match.
In truth the game wasn't a great spectacle, as even the goal failed to spur it into life in a scrappy first 45 minutes.
Simon Church and Jobi McAnuff both made efforts to lift proceedings, though the Welsh international's driving run was legally halted in the box by Adrian Mariappa - and Jobi's long range effort flew well over.
Federici was called into action for the first time five minutes before the break, as he did brilliantly to tip over Andrew Taylor's dipping strike.
However there was nothing the Aussie stopper could do about the next effort, as Jordon Mutch's corner was powered home by the head of Troy Deeney.
The game was finally sparking into life, as Jobi saw an effort well stopped by Loach - before another crackling Harte cross was headed narrowly off target by Long.
The first opening of the second period fell to Watford, as Cowie ghosted to the byline before fizzing a cross into the area -which somehow evaded all the onrushing yellow shirts.
Five minutes later Shane Long did well to charge down a clearance before scampering through on goal, but lost control of the ball at the vital moment and was challenged before he could clip the ball over Loach.
Tenacious play by Jay Tabb allowed the midfielder to slot through Noel Hunt with an hour on the clock, and the Irishman's pass then found Church - who saw his effort deflected wide by Loach.
A greater chance was still to come. Superb work by Long robbed the ball off Watford's last man, and as his effort was again well saved by Loach - the ball flew back to Karacan, who unfortunately put the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Shane Long also saw a very strong looking penalty shout turned down after he was clattered by Loach 12 yards from goal, though referee Simon Hooper gave nothing.
The Royals were enjoying more of the possession as the game wore on, and the home side found themselves increasingly on the back foot.
However it just wasn't to be for McDermott's men, who had to settle for a point on another occasion where they could argue to be worthy of all three.