A spectacular strike from Watford debutant Domingos Quina and Isaac Success’ first-half tap in ensured Reading’s second-round exit from the Carabao Cup.
Watford’s Premier League quality proved too great for Royals, whose early season struggles continued, as the visitors dominated at the Madejski to continue their excellent start to the season. Success was a threat throughout and gave Hornets the lead as he rounded Sam Walker to finish off a swift counter-attack on 36 minutes.
Hornets continued to threaten after the break and 18-year-old Quina put Watford in total control in the second-half, latching on to a loose ball from a corner and running at the Royals defence before taking aim and firing into the top corner from 25 yards.
Royals’ best chances of the evening fell to Mark McNulty and Liam Kelly but both blazed over the bar, with attentions now turning to the crucial league game against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Reading looked lively in the opening exchanges, bossing possession and delivering plenty of crosses into the Watford box without troubling Heurelho Gomes in the Hornets goal before Marc Navarro took aim with a free-kick from range for the visitors, which trickled into the feet of Royals keeper Sam Walker.
Former Reading loanee Nathaniel Chalobah then came close for Watford, firing a dipping free-kick narrowly over from 20 yards.
The visitors were nearly gifted the opening goal as Walker’s clearance from an under hit Liam Moore backpass ricocheted into Success, but John O’Shea was there to hook the ball away to safety.
There was danger again for Royals from a well-worked Hornets corner, with Chalobah setting up Kiko Femenia to fire across goal, but Moore was there to block initially before Adrian Mariappa and Ben Wilmot also saw efforts cleared away.
At the other end Chris Gunter’s cross from the right found Mark McNulty, but the Royals striker failed to keep his shot down, and it sailed harmlessly over the bar.
Moore made another important block to deny Ken Sema before Reading’s resistance was finally broken when Hornets counter attacked at pace and Adam Masina threaded the ball through to Success who rounded Walker and slotted home.
John Swift struck a free-kick on target shortly before the break but it was straight into the arms of Heurelho Gomes, to leave Watford in front at the break.
Clement opted for a change at half time in, replacing John Swift with Josh Sims in midfield as Reading looked to get back on level terms.
Watford came close to doubling their lead immediately after the restart as Femenia found Navarro on the overlap down the right who crossed into towards Success, but his header looped just beyond Walker’s far post.
Success had another chance in the air just moments later, as he rose above Tiago Ilori to meet Quina’s delivery but again his effort was off-target. The 22-year-old Nigerian was involved again, this time teeing up Navarro who was only denied by a smart stop by Walker in the Reading goal.
The visitors’ second-half pressure was finally rewarded when the ball was only half-cleared from a corner into the path of Quina, who drove towards goal before blasting an effort into the top corner from 25 yards.
Some neat passing play by Royals provided Liam Kelly with a chance to pull one back for the hosts, but his shot flew over the bar.
Navarro nearly added a third but was again denied by Walker, who got down well to his left to keep Royals in the game.
Yakou Meite struck a low drive on target late on for Royals, but it was too close to Gomes in the Hornets goal as Watford secured a comfortable victory and progressed to round three.
READING: Walker; Ilori, O’Shea (Baldock 65), Moore (c); Bacuna; Gunter, Kelly, Swift (Sims 45), Richards (Yiadom 63); Meite, McNulty.
Subs not used: Jaakkola, McShane, Rinomhota, Clement.
Yellow card: Meite (89)
WATFORD: Gomes; Navarro, Prodl, Mariappa (c), Masina; Wilmot, Chalobah (Hughes 86); Femenia, Quina (Doucoure 82), Sema (Okaka 65); Success.
Subs not used: Dahlberg, Janmaat, Cathcart, Gray.
Goals: Success (36), Quina (62)
Yellow card: Navarro (90+3)
Referee: Andy Davies
Attendance: 9,265 (inc. 2,514 away)