Doncaster Rovers edge a thrilling encounter at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Tuesday, 11th March 2014 at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Skybet League Championship
Doncaster Rovers 2 Watford 1
Referee - Mr Christopher Sarginson
Attendance - 6,581 (429 visitors)
For Rovers, Gabriel Tamas was out with an injury sustained in training. Paul Quinn replaced him in the centre of defence, with James Coppinger filling the right back position. Rovers defended the South Stand end in the first half.
The first sixteen minutes were spent by both teams sussing each other out. Then a good move down the middle by Watford gave Merkel a sight of goal and a rasping low shot brought a good save from Johnstone diving to his left to push away
In the 19th minute came an unexpected incident when Ranegie objected to Husband's tackle and kicked him across the shins in front of the referee and his assistant. A red card and first use of the shower was the result.
Two minutes later and Deeney tried his luck from 35yards but Johnstone saved comfortably.
In the 24th minute Rovers made the breakthrough when a good cross by Coppinger on the right was bulleted into the net via the head of the onrushing BROWN.
Minutes later and Cotterill had a go after cutting in from the left and hitting a right footer wide of the far post from 20yards.
On the half hour, following a free kick on the Rovers right there were three attempts at goal but each one was blocked, the last one resulting in a corner for Rovers.
Rovers had the majority of the play to the break but tried hard to give the visitors a goal, particularly when Johnstone was played into trouble by his defence and tangled with Deeney. Vehement appeals for a penalty from the Watford players were ignored by the referee and his assistant.
Half Time - Doncaster Rovers 1 Watford 0
Rovers made a substitution at the start of the second half, with McCullough replacing Meite, who seemed to have a thigh injury. They then got the game underway but it was the visitors who went on to the attack.
In the 52nd minute Watford had a free kick from a central position 25yards out. Merkel took it, the ball hit the bar and rebounded against the onrushing Deeney before going high over the bar from 2yards.
Then Quinn played a ball back to Johnstone, who was quickly closed down by Deeney to the right of goal. As Johnstone cleared the ball it was blocked by Deeney but and went out for a goalkick.
Rovers began to exert their numerical superiority, with Duffy firing high and wide from 25 yards.
Then Cotterill had a good run inside from the left shot over from 25 yards. Pressure mounted in the Watford defence, with Sharp stopped in his tracks in the area.
But in the 68th minute Watford hit back when Forestieri , with a sublime pass, played ANYA in on goal for him to slot the ball past Johnstone.
Rovers hit back straight away, with Duffy, on the right placing a good cross to the far post where Sharp, falling backwards lifted the ball over the bar from a couple of yards.
Continuing to press Sharp was foiled again when Bond and a defender got in a muddle when Brown headed the ball to him, with Bond eventually collecting the ball.
In the 79th minute, brilliant work by Duffy on the Rovers right took him to the byline and a low cross to the middle had Brown getting his feet all wrong and stabbing past the post from a yard out.
Then Wellens burst forward and hit a rocket from the edge of the penalty area that Bond tipped away.
Keegan followed this with a fierce drive from 15yards that was cleared off the line at the far post. In the 84th minute a free kick from Duffy was palmed away by Bond diving to his left and cleared by his defence.
Good play by Cotterill ended when he fired wide from the right.
In the third minute of added time, Duffy came in from the left and hit a low piledriver for the near post. Bond spilled the ball and the poacher extraordinaire, SHARP, slotted into the net.
Rovers made hard work of it but a feisty game came good, with three points coming their way at the end.
Result - Doncaster Rovers 2 (Brown 24 Sharp 90+3) Watford 1 (Anya 68)
Teams - ROVERS - Sam Johnstone; James Coppinger, Paul Quinn, Abdoulaye Meite, James Husband; Mark Duffy, Richie Wellens, Paul Keegan, David Cotterill; Chris Brown, Billy Sharp
Subs used - Luke McCullough for Meite 46 mins;
Subs not used - Dean Furman, Marc De Val, Theo Robinson, Enda Stevens, Jordan Bowery, Jon Maxted gk
Cautions - Keegan 71 mins; Coppinger 90 mins; Wellens 90+3 mins;
Watford - Jonathan Bond; Gabriele Angella, Cristian Battocchio, Alexander Merkel, Troy Deeney (c), Lloyd Doyley, Mathias Ranegie, Daniel Pudil, Ikechi Anya, Marco Cassetti, Daniel Tozser
Subs used - Fernando Forestieri for Merkel 59 mins; Macro Faraoni for Battochio 88 mins;
Subs not used - Essaid Belkalem, Lewis McGugan, Lucas Neill, Tommie Hoban, Gary Woods gk
Cautions - Merkel 30 mins; Cassetti 49 mins; Toszer 62 mins; Angella 90+3 mins; Pudil 90+4 mins;
Sent Off - Ranegie 19 mins;