WATFORD begun 2013 in dramatic fashion, twice throwing away a lead against Charlton Athletic to lose a seven-goal thriller.
Watford took the lead through Daniel Pudil after 11 minutes before a Tommie Hoban own-goal and a strike from Yann Kermorgant had the Addicks ahead. Almen Abdi had Watford level from the penalty spot before Kermorgant again equalised. Johnnie Jackson finally settled the matter with a 78th minute header.
Gianfranco Zola made five changes from the side which comprehensively beat Brighton on Saturday as he shuffled his pack ahead of the trip to Manchester City.
Alex Geijo and Fernando Forestieri returned in place of Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra up front. In midfield Jonathan Hogg was replaced by Sean Murray while out wide, Marco Cassetti replaced Ikechi Anya. Finally, Neuton came in for the injured Fitz Hall at the back.
Former Hornet`s defender Chris Powell made one change to his starting XI, bringing in Ricardo Fuller for the injured Danny Haynes.
The Addicks made the brighter start but in the 11th minute Watford made sure it counted for nothing as they bagged the opener.
Geijo stretched the visitor`s goalkeeper Ben Hamer with a curling shot; the re-bound drilled home by the advancing Pudil to kick-start 2013 for the ‘Orns.
Charlton`s response came through Fuller who was set through by former Watford loanee Jackson. Manuel Almunia was off his line quick enough to block however.
Just after the half-hour mark Charlton looked to have found an equaliser when Jackson scored, however the Addicks` skipper saw his goal chalked off for handling the ball in the build-up.
Watford evidently failed to heed that warning though, and just 90 seconds later Charlton equalised from a set-piece.
Hoban appeared to have got the last touch after former Stevenage winger Lawrie Wilson helped a corner goalwards.
Prior to the leveller Almunia looked to be in some discomfort and in the build-up to the goal the Spaniard failed to assert himself on the situation. Following treatment the Hornet`s number one appeared to have recovered sufficiently.
Charlton bagged a second is as many minutes immediately after when Cedric Evina made progress down the left before Bradley Pritchard crossed and Kermorgant headed past Almunia.
Watford begun the second half more brightly, with Forestieri and Geijo combining well for what would have been a sublime goal had Hamer not blocked well.
Seven minutes into the second period Zola`s side found an equaliser when Forestieri was fouled inside the penalty area by Dorian Dervite. Abdi tucked home the penalty to draw the ‘Orns level.
Geijo tested Hamer shortly after with an effort from distance which the Charlton stopper leant back to palm over his crossbar.
On 67 minutes Geijo bagged his first home goal for the Hornets from six yards.
A delightful flicked through ball from Forestieri had left the Charlton backline exposed and Geijo finished.
Once again though, the Hornets failed to hold the lead and Frenchman Kermorgant was on-hand to turn home from close-range after good work from striker partner Fuller just two minutes later.
With 12 minutes to play Jackson headed home for the Addicks from a corner to give Powell`s side the lead for the second time in the game.
With four forwards on the field Watford continued to press their visitors, Forestieri twice denied well in the dying minutes by Hamer.
Watford: Almunia (c); Neuton, Ekstrand, Hoban; Cassetti, Chalobah, Abdi (Yeates), Murray (Deeney), Pudil (Vydra); Geijo & Forestieri.
Unused Subs: Anya, Nosworthy, Battocchio & Bond (GK).
Charlton Athletic: Hamer; Solly, Dervite, Cort (Taylor), Evina, Wilson (Cook), Stephens, Pritchard, Jackson (c); Fuller (Hulse) & Kermorgant.
Subs: Wright-Phillips, Kerkar, Seaborne & Button (GK).
Attendance: 14 221
Referee: Mr T Kettle.