Lucas Digne’s brilliant first Everton goal rescued a point in a dramatic finale to an entertaining encounter at Goodison Park.
The Frenchman’s pinpoint 96th-minute free-kick helped prevent what was heading towards a frustrating defeat for Marco Silva’s men after two Watford goals in three second-half minutes had turned the game on its head.
Everton led through Richarlison’s eighth strike of an increasingly impressive first campaign on Merseyside but an unfortunate Seamus Coleman own goal and Abdoulaye Doucoure header stunned Goodison Park.
Gylfi Sigurdsson then saw his penalty saved by Hornets stopper Ben Foster after Christian Kabasele was punished for a foul on defensive counterpart Yerry Mina.
However, Digne expertly curled the ball beyond Foster deep into injury time after Kabasele handled on the edge of the box, extending Everton's unbeaten run on home soil to seven games.
There was still time for a late chance to fall the way of Watford midfielder Roberto Pereyra but the Argentine dragged the final kick of the game across the face of Jordan Pickford's goal.
Richarlison At It Again
Silva made three changes to the Everton side that was held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle United at the same venue five nights earlier.
They saw Kurt Zouma, Cenk Tosun and Ademola Lookman drop out for the players they’d replaced against the Magpies - Michael Keane, Bernard and Theo Walcott.
And it was the latter of that trio whose good work instigated the move for the opening goal on the occasion of his 300th Premier League appearance.
Walcott’s hold up work in midfield allowed his teammates to pile forward, with Coleman bombing down the right to provide the outlet.
The right-back cut inside to feed Andre Gomes, whose momentum took him past Craig Cathcart and allowed him to centre towards Richarlison, albeit not before a fleeting touch from an apparently offside Walcott.
A let off, Richarlison was not to know and wouldn't let it throw his concentration regardless. Reading the pass of Gomes, the Brazilian checked his run to escape Kiko Fermenia and applied a clinical finish to net for the second successive match.
Watford Hit Back
Pereyra had already struck a free-kick into Pickford’s side-netting and Mina blocked a goalbound shot from Doucoure when Watford’s leveller sparked five minutes that ultimately cost Everton the chance to get back to winning ways.
Digne’s slip allowed Watford to get the ball out to right-back Femenia, who delivered a swirling centre into the Everton box.
Pereyra got there to swipe a shot across goal, and though the Argentine struck the woodwork, it rebounded on to Coleman at the back post, cannoning off the Irishman's thigh before trickling away on an agonising path across the line.
A quickly-taken free-kick then saw Femenia and Pereyra link up again as this time the Argentine carved out a deep cross to the back post from which Doucoure powered his side in front.
Everton were handed an immediate shot at parity when Kabasele climbed all over Mina from Digne's long throw. It left referee Kevin Friend in no doubt to point to the spot but Foster stuck up his left leg to repel Sigurdsson’s spot-kick.
Digne To The Rescue
Far from losing concentration after seeing his penalty saved, Sigurdsson - making his 50th Everton appearance - produced a clever back heel that almost led to a Blues leveller on 71 minutes.
It played in Coleman, who cut the ball back towards the Icelander. In stretching to reach the skidding ball, Sigurdsson inadvertently diverted it in the direction of Richarlison, who recovered from a stumble but failed to get in a shot on goal.
As he sought to add to his tally against the side he left in the summer, the Brazilian striker later saw an acrobatic volley turned behind for a corner, moments before six minutes of added time were signalled.
In the last of those, Coleman found himself the only man back for Everton but managed to dispossess Troy Deeney and launch a punt forward that was handled on the edge of the box by Kabasele.
Digne lined up the free-kick and sweetly struck the ball over the wall and high to Foster’s right. A moment of composure and class when it was needed most, it was a fine way to open his goalscoring account for the Club and one that sent a wave of relief around Goodison.
No Unlucky 13 For Goal-Hungry Blues
Richarlison’s 15th-minute strike continued Everton’s streak of scoring in every home game so far under Marco Silva.
Throw in a 1-0 win over Newcastle United and 1-1 draw with Southampton at the end of last season and that’s now 13 home outings in succession in which the Blues have found a way past the opposing goalkeeper.
Silva will be disappointed the early lead was not converted into victory but it’s Everton's best such run in over four years and indicative of the brave approach the Portuguese is demanding of his players.
And while there was a touch of fortune about Everton's opener - the seemingly offside Walcott getting away with a momentary touch in the build up - there was nothing lucky about Digne's late intervention.
The Frenchman's first goal in English football - and first since netting for Barcelona in a Champions League tie against Olympiakos 14 months ago - also denied Watford what would have been their first ever Goodison Park victory... on their 13th attempt.
What They Said
Everton boss Marco Silva:
“I told the players that I didn’t like our second half. It was not a normal second half for us. We have to display our quality on the pitch a bit more, to play our way and try to score the second goal.
“We cannot concede two goals in two or three minutes. In those two moments, we have to do differently.
“But we kept trying to create chances and we did with Richarlison, the penalty and others. But thankfully we got the equaliser right at the end.
“It was a fantastic moment for him [Digne].
“He showed not just his quality but his personality as well as a player when he took that decision [to take the free-kick].
“Maybe everyone was expecting it to be Gylfi [Sigurdsson] because it is a good decision for a right-foot shot.
“But Lucas has done well and it was a very good moment for him and to help our team.”
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford:
“Watford are a strong, physical side and probably beat us on the first and second battles [for the ball].
“We had good spells, good chances and got the first goal but we know how good Watford are. They had a good start to the season and we had to be aware of that.
“They got two goals in five minutes and we had to reset and to be resilient.
“Unfortunately Gylfi missed a penalty but that’s football and you’d back him to score the next one. But we never say die and we managed to claw one back and if you can’t win then don’t get beat.”