Two second half goals in eight minutes give Watford victory over the Reds.
Barnsley suffered a 2-0 defeat to Watford at Oakwell, despite a good performance for much of the match.
Kayden Jackson forced a good save out of Charlie Bannister and Adam Lund went close with a header from the resulting corner, while Ola Adeyemo failed to convert with the goal gaping for the visitors.
The Reds began the second half the better and were awarded a penalty when David Sesay handled Omari Patrick's cross, but Louis Wardle's penalty was saved by Bannister.
The visitors were awarded a penalty of their own shortly after the hour when Jake Charles upended Sesay, but Dion Pereira fired his spot kick against the post.
Watford edged ahead 10 minutes later when Tyrell Robinson crossed for Ogo Obi to volley home, and the Hornets doubled their lead eight minutes later when Max Ryan bundled home.
Patrick headed on target late in the contest from Charles' cross, but failed to beat Bannister with a looping effort.
Josh Kay fired the first shot at goal wide from 25 yards, before Jackson forced a smart save out of Bannister low to his left, with Adam Lund meeting the resulting corner, but could not convert.
Adeyemo missed a golden chance to put the Hornets ahead, but failed to meet Sesay's low centre, before Lund and Julio Rodriguez both went close with headers.
Kay's driven effort was parried by Bannister with Louis Rowe's rebound cleared off the line as the first half chances petered out.
HALF TIME: Barnsley 0-0 Watford.
Lund again tried his luck with a volley but failed to find the target, while Bird drove forward 50 yards before pulling his shot wide of the target.
Four minutes later, the Reds were awarded a penalty when Patrick's dangerous centre was handled by Sesay. Louis Wardle stepped up, only to see his effort pushed away by the Watford stopper.
Rowe struck the post from a tight angle shortly afterwards and when the Reds did have the ball in the net on the hour mark, Patrick's volley was ruled out for a push.
Harry Kewell's Hornets were given a chance to take the lead when Sesay was upended by Jake Charles. Dion Pereira took responsibility, but struck the post from 12 yards.
It was the two Watford substitutes that combined for the opener as Tyrell Robinson blazed down the left and crossed for Ogo Obi, who brought the ball down before volleying home.
And with the Reds pushing in search of an equaliser, they were caught out from a corner when a header struck Max Ryan at the far post to give the visitors victory, despite Patrick's late bid to reduce the arrears.
Reds: Walton (GK), Janko, Rodriguez (Proctor. 76' ), Lund, Wardle, Patrick, Bird (c), Kay, Carvell (Charles, 61' ), Rowe (Wolfe, 61' ), K. Jackson.
Subs: Greatorex (GK), Dolan.