Watford Under-23s slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Blackburn Rovers on Monday night as Lewis Mansell scored the game’s only goal.

The two sides met at Wealdstone’s St George’s Stadium in what proved to be an evenly contested Premier League Cup clash.

Blackburn had the better of the first half and forced two good saves from Sam Howes as they pushed for the opening goal.

There remained little to separate the two sides as the game ticked into the latter stages of the second half and it took the introduction of Mansell from the bench to break the deadlock.

Mansell showed the clinical edge which had been lacking from his team mates throughout the rest of the game, firing across goal and in via the far post to put Rovers ahead.

Watford pushed for a leveller, but never really looked like finding one as their clearest opening fell to Dion Pereira in the dying stages.

The talented youngster did well to control a driven cross before striking at goal from a tight angle, only to see his effort saved by the Blackburn keeper.

The result leaves the Hornets bottom of their Premier League Cup group with a solitary win from their three games so far.

They are two points behind group pace setters Southampton but have a game in hand over the Saints with two group games to play.

Watford’s youngsters are back in action on Thursday as they return to Professional Development League action with a visit to Colchester United.

Hayden Mullins’ side are ninth in the table after a run of one win in five games and will be looking to overcome a United outfit sitting sixth in the table.