Nottingham Forest may only have taken a point from the game but they put in an impressive performance to honour the memory of Nigel Doughty.
Forest finally scored at home, their first goal since November last year coming 19 minutes into the first half, but Watford managed to get one back just before half time.
The second half was fast and furious with Forest creating numerous chances and producing some of the best football the City Ground has seen this season until the final ten minutes when Watford had the better possession.
After a minute's applause for Mr Doughty, Forest started the game well, with the new loan signings fitting in quickly and Adlene Guedioura in particular putting Watford under pressure in the opening minutes.
After good work down the right, Forest had a chance after winning a free kick when Chris Gunter was brought down. It was taken by Guedioura who put a good ball into the box from the right and was headed towards goal by Luke Chambers, but was an easy save for Scott Loach.
Forest continued to push forward and had the majority of the attacking play but the goal came out of nowhere when Garath McCleary sent the ball flying towards goal from at least 25 yards out, smashing it into the bottom corner, just inside the far post.
And they looked like getting a second when Chris Gunter found himself clean through and lofted the ball over the keeper, but it didn't have quite enough on it to find the back of the net.
A superb pass by Guedioura created a third chance for Forest in as many minutes. The ball fell into the path of Ishmael Miller who made a great run through from the left forcing Loach to dive to his right to make a good save.
Watford should have been level when John Eustace forced a point blank save from Lee Camp who was unable to keep hold of the ball and it was well cleared by Luke Chambers.
McCleary tried another shot from the same spot as his goal after Miller turned the ball towards him, but this time Loach got down to his right to keep the ball out of the goal.
Watford had a good period of possession and looked like they had found the target but Sean Murray's shot went into the side netting.
Their equalizer followed soon after when former Forest player Joe Garner won his side a free kick. It was taken by Sean Murray and headed on by Troy Deeney and with Camp not able to reach the ball it drifted into the top corner with a minute of the half remaining.
Forest made a good break forward in the opening minute of the second half with Miller sending the ball out to McCleary on the left. He made a good run to the side of the box and sent the ball flying across the six-yard line but in spite of Forest having four players in the box nobody could turn it into the goal.
In a lively start to the half McCleary made a great run forward and picked out Miller who found space to get a shot in but it was blocked about six yards out.
Forest won a free kick 30 yards out dead centre when Guy Moussi was brought down. Marlon Harewood sent the ball along the ground past the wall but it went just wide of the near post.
Forest looked certain to take the lead after a great cross from Harewood picked out Gunter whose volley crashed off the crossbar.
And a great run and a good cross from the left by McCleary found Gunter again but this time he scuffed his shot towards goal and it was easy for Loach to make the save.
Watford's first chance of the second half came from a corner when Adrian Mariappa flicked a header towards goal from the near post, which Camp easily gathered.
Forest put some good pressure on the Watford goal with Guedioura having two efforts come back out to him and another good cross by McCleary to the head of Gunter whose effort from 10 yards out went over the bar.
A break by Watford saw a chance come out of nowhere when Eustace made a late run into the Forest penalty area to get on the end of a cross and volley the ball off the crossbar.
There were 15 minutes remaining before Steve Cotterill made his first substitution, replacing Miller with Robbie Findley.
Gunter must have been wondering what he had to do to find the target when he got on the end of another good cross from McClearly and then blazed over the bar from eight yards out.
As Forest continued to search for the winner Dexter Blackstock came on for Harewood with ten minutes remaining.
And after some good possession from Watford, Andy Reid replaced Scott Wootton with three minutes remaining.
With four minutes stoppage time added on the anticipation of a winnerwent around the City Ground when Reid fed the ball through to Findley who broke clear and went one on one with the keeper, but his first touch was too heavy and Loach came out to smother the ball.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Chambers(C), Wootton(Reid 87min), Higginbotham, Elokobi, Gunter, McCleary, Moussi, Guedioura, Harewood(Blackstock80min), Miller(Findley 75min)
Subs not used: Smith, Lynch,
Bookings: Gunter 66min, Miller 73min
Scorer: McCleary 19min
Watford: Loach, Hodson, Eustace(C), Mariappa, Deeney, Doyley, Kacaniklic(Yeates 62min), Murray(Iwelumo 69min), Garner, Hogg, Nosworthy
Subs not used: Dickinson, Buaben, Bond
Bookings: Doyley 12min, Hogg 52min, Nosworthy 56min, Garner 69min,
Scorer: Deeney 44min
Referee: J Moss
Attendance: 21,712 Away attn: 994