Referee – Mr Darren Drysdale
Attendance – 13,998 (290 visitors)
Lewis McGugan scored a late penalty after James Husband was adjudged to have committed a foul in the penalty area, although replay's show that the foul was committed a yard outside of the 18 yard box.
Rovers made no changes to their starting line-up following the 0-0 draw with Huddersfield but Federico Macheda, the new loan signing from Manchester United, replaced Billy Paynter on the bench.
The home team made a number of changes from the side that drew at home to Charlton Athletic on Saturday. Essaid Belkalem, Fernando Forestieri, Davide Faraoni, Diego Fabbrini, Iriney all dropped to the bench.
Rovers were the first to get a sight of goal in the 3rd minute when a good build-up had Brown getting to the right byline and crossing for Robinson, who, under challenge, knocked it wide.
The sides continued to size each other up and in the 9th minute the home team built some pressure but failed to capitalise on successive corners. A couple of minutes later, a corner from Cotterill was met with the head of the on-running Khumalo but the ball went wide.
In the 13th minute, the first goal arrived – to the home team. McGUGAN received the ball in a central position 25yards out, made space for himself and shot for goal. Turnbull, off his line, got a hand to it but it wasn’t strong enough to knock the ball wide of the post and the ball rolled slowly into the goal.
Watford’s lead lasted just three minutes as Rovers drew level almost immediately. Attacking down the right, the cross came into the middle where Almunia fumbled the ball and BROWN gratefully slammed it into the roof of the net.
The match settled down as midfield play predominated as both sides began to settle down and pass the ball well as they hunted for more goals.
Watford had a good chance in the 36th minute when Battocchio broke through on goal but Turnbull spread himself and blocked the ball with his legs. Minutes later and Husband, on the Rovers left, hit a low cross to the middle where Brown and Ekstrand challenged but the ball went through them and out. The whistle went on a reasonably entertaining game, with the score still level.
Half Time – Watford 1 Doncaster Rovers 1
Rovers got the second half underway but it the lightening fast Anya who got down the home right and to the by-line but his cross to the middle was cleared.
Good play by the Rovers in the 51st minute led to Cotterill threading the ball through to Coppinger, in a central position. His twenty-five yarder went just over the bar.
The introduction of Forestieri for Watford sparked them into action. He immediately had a go from 25yards that Turnbull saved well diving to his left.
Then, a cross from the Watford right fell at the feet of McGugan at the far post but his ball control let him down and the chance was lost.
Watford had upped the pace and were swarming to the attack. Angella put a header wide following a corner, Deeney then put wide under challenge following a cross from Pudil on the left and Anya won the race for the ball to the right by-line as Turnbull came, half stopped the cross causing the ball to run across the face of goal before being cleared.
Forestieri put wide from 20yards, Pudil, on the home left pulled the ball back to McGugan just inside the area but his shot was brilliantly tipped over by Turnbull.
Then, in the 75th minute Wabara intercepted a pass and set off an attack by the Rovers He gave Coppinger the ball but his shot was saved.
Minutes later and Pudil got in a terrific strike but Turnbull saved well at the foot of a post. In the 82nd minute a good run out of defence by Wabara, to Coppinger and on to Macheda but he fired wide from the edge of the area.
In the 85th minute, Husband was adjudged to have brought down Forestieri in the area, although everyone in the ground would have agreed that the foul was committed a yard outside the 18 yard box. McGUGAN took the kick and fired into the top corner well out of Turnbull’s reach.
Brown received a yellow card in the fourth minute of extra time after a foul on Ekstrand. Although five minutes of added time was played the Rovers could not hit back so the spoils went to Watford but it had been hard work for them.
Result – Watford 2 (McGugan13 pen85) Doncaster Rovers 1 (Brown 16)
Teams – Watford – Manuel Almunia ©; Gabriele Angella, Joel Ekstrand, Cristian Battocchio, Lewis McGugan, Lloyd Doyley, Javier Acuna, Daniel Pudil, Ikechi Anya, Connor Smith, Troy Deeney
Subs used – Fernando Forestieri for 61 mins; Sean Murray for Battocchio 72 mins; Iriney for Smith 87 mins;
Subs not used– Essaid Belkalem, Davide Faraoni, Diego Fabrini, , Jonathan Bond gk
ROVERS – Ross Turnbull; Reece Wabara, Bongani Khumalo, Rob Jones ©, James Husband; David Cotterill, Paul Keegan, Richie Wellens, James Coppinger, Chris Brown, Theo Robinson
Subs used – Federico Macheda for Cotterill 57 mins; Dean Furman for Wellens 76 mins;
Subs not used – Paul Quinn, Mark Duffy, Luke McCullough, Kyle Bennett, Jonathan Maxted gk