The Cherries brought to an end Watford’s 100% home record in the Sky Bet Championship by holding them to a 1-1 draw in the early kick-off.
Harry Arter’s spectacular 63rd minute strike looked to have given the Cherries the three points their impressive performance deserved in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
But the Hornets, without top scorer and captain Troy Deeney, fought back to take a point from the encounter thanks to a late equaliser from defender Craig Cathcart.
Howe was clearly buoyed by his side’s performance the last time they played away from home against Norwich City, with Eunan O’Kane and Junior Stanislas returning to the starting line-up as the Cherries reverted to a 4-5-1 formation.
There was also a debut for Artur Boruc in the Cherries goal, after he signed from Southampton on Friday.
And the Cherries almost got off to the perfect start, with Callum Wilson being bundled over in the area by Gabriel Tamas in just the third minute.
Referee Oliver Langford pointed straight to the spot, but, an unlikely candidate to take it, left-back Ian Harte stepped up and dragged it wide.
The early controversy sparked the game into life, as both sides did their utmost to break the deadlock.
Watford looked to expose the pace of winger Lloyd Dyer, who was making his first League start for the club since signing for the Hornets from Leicester City in the summer.
And it was Dyer who was fouled by Matt Ritchie in the 11th minute to hand the hosts a free kick – but Sean Murray could only head Daniel Toszer’s set piece over the bar.
Just two minutes later Dyer was released again, this time by wing-back Daniel Pudil, however his cross was too early for Matej Vydra.
But the Cherries’ game plan appeared to be working, with the Watford midfield often stifled and unable to capitalise on any openings they created.
And in the 21st minute Junior Stanislas carved himself an effort out as he cut in from the left but his low shot was saved by Heurelho Gomes at the near post.
Back down the other end, Toszer looped the ball over the Cherries defence towards Vydra, but he couldn’t turn quick enough to bury the ball beyond Boruc.
Cue the Cherries going on the attack again, and this time it was Ritchie who tried his luck but he could only curl a shot over from the corner of the area.
With half an hour on the clock, the Hornets were forced into their first change of the afternoon, with Tamas injured in the build-up to Ritchie’s effort and having to be replaced by Cathcart; little did they know what a key change this would prove to be.
After a lengthy delay for the treatment and substitution, the game restarted in a similar lively manner, and it was in fact in the time added on as a consequence of Tamas’ injury that the Cherries created their best chance of the half.
A slick passing team move culminated in Simon Francis timing his cross to perfection to find Wilson at the far post, but Gomes pulled off a fine reaction save to ensure the sides went in level.
The Cherries finished the first half the stronger and they continued this form into the second half, and Wilson was again unlucky to not break the deadlock just two minutes in.
Surman found himself in space on the edge of the area and so he drilled in a low shot which Gomes could only parry into Wilson’s path.
The former Coventry man tapped the ball into the empty net, but the linesman’s flag was up.
Despite another disappointment in their quest to open the scoring, the Cherries continued to look the more dangerous in front of goal and it was Stanislas who came close next as he retrieved Ritchie’s cross field ball, but his effort was just short of the near post.
The Hornets made their second substitution of the afternoon in the 57th minute, with Fernando Forestieri replacing Dyer but it was in fact the Cherries who took the lead on the 63rd minute.
Arter picked the ball up on the edge of the area, took a touch and hit his spectacular effort into the top corner to send the Cherries supporters behind the goal into raptures.
The visitors were worthy of their lead and with Watford looking for an equaliser, they continued to look dangerous on the break.
But the game had another twist in it yet and with Watford making their final change – introducing Odion Ighalo in place of Almen Abdi - in the 83rd minute the killer blow came.
In a move that was typical of the Hornets’ failure to get beyond the thus far impressive Cherries defence, substitute Cathcart shot from the edge of the area and the thunderbolt somehow found its way through the sea of legs in the Cherries box to go beyond Boruc.
The Hornets were buoyed by their equaliser and with the home crowd behind them they continued to press for the winner.
Vydra was first up to come close, as his shot from a tight angle flashed across the face of goal, whilst in the final minute of normal time, Forestieri played through Ighalo but under pressure he shot straight at Boruc.
The fourth official held up his board and signalled five minutes of added time, and the game ended as it begun, with both sides digging deep to try and find the winner which, unfortunately for the Cherries, never came.
Cherries: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Harte, Stanislas (Pugh 73), Surman, O’Kane, Arter, Ritchie (Smith 88), Wilson.
Substitutes: Camp, Pitman, Daniels, Smith, Kermorgant. Fraser.
Booked: Cook, Surman, Arter, Wilson, Elphick.
Goal: Arter (63)
Watford: Gomes, Ekstrand, Tozser, Paredes, Murray, Tamas (Cathcart), Pudil, Vydra, Anya, Abdi (Ighalo 71), Dyer (Forestieri 57).
Substitutes: Bond, Munari, McGugan, Fabbrini.
Booked: Toszer, Forrestieri
Goal: Cathcart (83)
Attendance: 14, 320 (707 away)