Watford 2.v.1 Rovers
23rd January 2007. 19:45
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Another derisory display against struggling opposition meant that Rovers London hoodoo struck again. A terribly under-par performance allowed one league win Watford claim all three points over a Rovers side who had won their last three away games against tougher opposition.
Rovers started brightly on a freezing January night with Bentley and Nonda both have half chances early on.
However, it was Watford, who needed some luck, who took the lead. A weaving run from Tommy Smith provided space for a cross to the back post. Damien Francis was put under pressure by Brett Emerton but the Aussie could only head the ball into his own net.
Watford rallied after finding themselves in front and surged forward in search of a second. Bouazza twice tested Friedel inside the area as Rovers began to look heavy legged.
Rovers were laborious in defence and profligate in front of goal. Both Benni McCarthy and David Bentley failed to show the kind of composure required in front of goal.
However, an equalising goal wasn`t far away and it arrived with the last kick, or more to the point, head f the first half. An excellent jinking run from David Bentley pulled him clear of two Watford defenders. He had time to look up and pick out the run of McCarthy whose bullet header crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.
The half ended all square and a marked improvement required from Rovers.
The opening exchanges of the second period can only be described as a damp squib. In front of a woeful 13,000 crowd both sides appeared reluctant to go for the win.
The only incident worthy of note was a foul on Robbie Savage by Al Bangoura. Rovers` Welsh firebrand tried to get to his feet but collapsed on the ankle that had taken the brunt of Bangoura`s force. He was replaced by Paul Gallagher.
Both sides continued to tentatively feel each other out but it was Watford who took the game to Rovers and re-gained the lead in the 70th minute.
Poor defending and marking from Rovers allowed Bouazza to return the ball into the box with interest after Rovers failed to clear initially. His centre was glanced home by the unmarked Jay Demeritt.
Watford then pressed in search of a third and decisive goal. Will Hoskins could have done better but shot straight at Friedel.
The away contingent was expecting a Rovers rally in pursuit of an equaliser but it never materialised. Matt Derbyshire, who had earlier replaced McCarthy, headed over after more good work from Rovers` man of the match David Bentley.
The game petered out in manor that epitomised Rovers display, limp, lethargic and laborious.
He provided a constant threat down Rovers' right.
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