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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Blackburn Rovers 3 - Watford 1

Ewood Park

18th April 2007. 20:00 k/o

Attendance: 16,035

Rovers 3.v.1 Watford

A whirlwind opening from Rovers thoroughly blew Watford away as relegation now beckons for the unfortunate southern side.

Mark Hughes kept faith with the same starting eleven that fought so bravely against Chelsea and it wasn`t long before they were showing a clinical touch that was decidedly lacking on Sunday.

Rovers took the lead from their first corner after 7 minutes when Christopher Samba towered above the Watford defence at the back post to nod David Bentley`s centre over the line.

Watford were stunned and it wasn`t long before they found themselves further behind. Jason Roberts picked up where he left off at Old Trafford by smartly sweeping the ball beyond Ben Foster who got a solid hand to it. David Bentley was once again the architect releasing the burly front man who averted the attentions of Carlisle to drive his effort in.

Rovers were rampant and Bentley should have made it three when he selfishly elected to shoot with better options available. Rovers did find the net for a third time but Morten Gamsts Pedersen`s tap-in was adjudged to be offside.

Soon after Watford hit back with a rare foray into the Rovers half. Rinaldi rose at the back post to head in Bouazza`s cross.

This was merely a distraction from the main feature as more sumptuous build up play down the right found Bentley in space again. His pinpoint cross was emphatically headed home by Benni McCarthy, a special goal as he became the first Rovers striker to score twenty goals in a Premiership season since Alan Shearer.

Watford were affording Rovers time and space and they were thoroughly enjoying themselves, working hard to banish the memories of Sunday.

Rovers finished the half strongly and the teams went in with Watford seemingly out of the game.

As expected Watford started the second period strongly in a bid to wrench them back into the game. Openings were sparse though with Rovers looking more threatening on the break and but for some poor finishing and questionable decisions Rovers could have bulldozed their way to a large score line.

Steve Kabba and Marlon King was the new look attack for Watford in the second half and Kabba stung the fingers of Brad Friedel with a rasping drive.

Roberts was having a tremendous game, finally proving to the Ewood faithful that he does have some talent. He has endure a torrid spell at Ewood to date with injuries and lack of form peppering his campaign.

His surging runs and direct play, not seen since the opening game at Ewood against Everton caused Watford all kinds of problems.

In the end Rovers ran out comfortable winners but for some pressure from Watford. The win catapults the club back into the top half and keeps their slim hopes of Europe alive.

Star Player

Jason Roberts.

I have been his biggest critic this season but tonight he was tremendous. Strong, direct and partially lethal.

Player Ratings

Friedel 6

Made some smart saves.

Emerton 6

Earned a bust nose for his efforts

Warnock 6

Energy, enthusiasm and endeavour once again.

Nelsen 7

Solid as a rock

Samba 7

You just got to like this fella, he's terrific. Nicely taken goal too.

Gamst 6

Struggling for impact on occasions.

Bentley 8

The magic right foot was homing in all night.

Dunn 6

Worked hard in the centre

Mokoena 6

Another typical Mokoena display

McCarthy 8

Great goal and showed quality in the link-up play once more.

Roberts 9

Perhaps if he was fit all season we would be talking about a Champions Laegue race?

Gallagher 6

Looked hungry again.

Tugay 6

Made his passes.

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The Journalist

Writer: Roversman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday April 18 2007

Time: 10:30PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
HDM with the exceptional call on the result...I hope you had a little wager on that fella. Excellent performance. PLayed within ourselves which was good enough for me. Another win against Fulham and we can keep dreaming of gatecrashing, especially if JR has a handful more left in him. Excellent to see benni make the 20 mark. prem second top scorer!!!!!
Report Abuse
18/04/2007 22:32:00

Wish I blooming well you know as I just got this feeling it would be 3-1 and JR would have a good game and score! (the best miss hit shot all season!) 1st half was brilliant (from both sides in fairness) wasn't it. We played with great flair, tempo and passing ability utilising JR well. 2nd half and I think the weekend caught up with us be we'd done enough. Bents had another very good game, Man of the Match was between him and JR but think JR just deserved it, shown in the last two matches just why I rate him so highly. I Was VERY impressed with Samba again tonight, what he and the rest of the defence had to do they did well but this guy can play football. He brings it out of defence well doesn't he and one cross field ball to Gally late on was brilliant, Tugay would be happy with that! Same against Fulham and we are RIGHT back in the hunt for Europe.
Hughes Da Man
Report Abuse
19/04/2007 00:12:00

No offense to Fulham but we should beat them, as were are on a littel run now and they have lost a bit of confidence, it'll be tuff though to say the least. BUT wot about Roberts last nite, I tell u if he had of been fit this season, well who knows. Hes has it all, speed, strength, eye for goal and team play. Keep him fit and keep Benni next yr and the skys the limit, Add these two the the mpressive centrebacks, get the midfielders back in action , maybe add a couple more in the there though and we have the guts of a very good side
Report Abuse
19/04/2007 08:36:00

Job done. It was a tricky game due to the bad results we have had against the relegation candidates prior to last night. At 2-0 there was only ever gonna be one winner. Roberts is finally... FINALLY, showing us why we wanted him bad in the summer. Good stuff all round. Bentley was excellent - McLaren.Squad.Now.
Report Abuse
19/04/2007 08:52:00

We have a starting XI (when all are fit) to match ANY side in this League, so if we keep ALL these players, add one or two more the skys the limit indeed Clint. JR, BRILLIANT, wonderful football who was ALWAYS going to do a job for us, we've started seeing this now after an injury disrupted season. He's the perfect foil for Benni or Derbs. If Stevie Mac overlooks Bents next time round then he pretty much has NO chance of ever getting in for England under him.
Hughes Da Man
Report Abuse
19/04/2007 09:37:00

Stevie Mac does not have an excuse to keep him out of the team now, at least in a friendly of some sort. I have to laugh at England managers who quote that players do not have international experience, well how do these same players get it?!?! Teams like Brazil play the players that are doing well, granted they have basically 2/3 great teams to put out. There are loads of players that should get a crack in the team exluding Bentley, players like Nolan, Warnock, Huddlestone etc. players that could be needed should his fav 1st team are injured
Report Abuse
19/04/2007 15:08:00

He says he'll pick you if you play well but he isn't doing this is he. Why won't he give Bents (obviously) and the Kevin Nolan's (how this guy is overlooked in favour of Joey Barton I don't know!), Stevie Warnock's, Leighton Baines', Steve Sidwell's, Nicky Shorey's, Matthew Taylor's, Gary O'Neil's, Gabriel Agbonlahor's (before Nigera get him!), Tom Huddlestone's etc. a chance even if it is only in a friendlies?!?! WHAT is the point of a friendly if new players aren't tried?!?!
Hughes Da Man
Report Abuse
19/04/2007 15:15:00

I stayed quiet about Gabriel Agbonlahor. Glad i'm not the only one that think he's worth a shout. Nicky Shorey has as much right as Bentley to be annoyed by the exclusion too.
Head Rover Heels
Report Abuse
19/04/2007 15:40:00

I think Gabby is destined for a MASSIVE future, hope it's with England! Shorey, Bents and Taylor, probably even Nolan no two ways about it SHOULD be in the England set-up, the others could and should get a chance at some point but these four have been good enough for this chance all season, some (Nolan) for SEVERAL seasons!
Hughes Da Man
Report Abuse
19/04/2007 15:51:00

Extremely happy to see how Samba & Nelsen play together. Finally, we have a decent defence. Hope we sort out the right back position- a bit worried about Emerton way of defending.
Report Abuse
19/04/2007 17:30:00

go on lads - push for that European place - you deserve it!
Report Abuse
19/04/2007 19:21:00

Yeah Emerton was caught out somewhat for the Watford goal wasn't he, easy to say but not sure Andre Ooijer would have?!?! Thanks merlin, you don't always get what you deserve though do you!
Hughes Da Man
Report Abuse
19/04/2007 23:44:00


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