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Posted Tue 01 Oct 13 at 21:45 PM

Rovers 1 Watford 0

Jordan Rhodes' second half header settled a pulsating league encounter at Ewood Park.

A good game between two good sides saw Rovers triumph 1-0 over Watford.

Rovers edged the first half, Corry Evans and Jordan Rhodes having the best of the chances, but roared on by a vocal home support it made the difference in a scintillating second half display.

Josh King, Ben Marshall and Tom Cairney all went close but when called upon it was inevitably Jordan Rhodes who would strike the crucial blow, rising high to head home after Scott Dann had flicked on Tommy Spurr's throw-in.

Watford were the league's top goalscorers and they threw everything at Rovers in the closing stages, but the home side held strong to claim a second successive victory.


Gary Bowyer kept faith with the same starting eleven that claimed a first away win of the season at the weekend against AFC Bournemouth.

The only changes coming amongst the substitutes bench as Ben Marshall and Alan Judge replaced Josh Morris and Chris Taylor.

For Watford, they made five changes from the side that beat Wigan Athletic 1-0.

It was an entertaining start to the game under the Ewood Park lights with both sides showing good attacking intentions.

On 15 minutes the busy Corry Evans intercepted a clearance to feed Jordan Rhodes, but his left-footed strike across the area flashed wide.

The visitors responded with a chance of their own as Lewis McGugan volleyed wide from the edge of the box.

That set the tone for the rest of the half with little between the two sides in an open match. They even shared the cards as both Leon Best and McGugan saw yellow.

Todd Kane defended well to block a headed chance for Javier Acuna, whilst Josh King wasted a good opportunity when he blazed wide from the corner of the box.

Rovers ended the stronger of the two sides and had strong claims for a penalty waved away on 42 minutes when Jordan Rhodes appeared to be pushed in the area. As those shouts were dismissed Corry Evans pounced but was inches wide with his close-range shot.

It had been a lively end to a first half that just lacked goals.


The second half waas much slower to get going, not helped in part by the constant whistle from the referee, but once the half kicked into life it was a barnstorming affair between two good teams.

Watford threatened as a Troy Deeney centre was fired over by Anya on the stretch before McGugan's deflected strike was well claimed by Jake Kean.

Sparked by the fleet-footed Josh King, Rovers rallied themselves and suddenly they were the side in the ascendancy.

King chased into the area before finding Rhodes but his shot was saved, then a sensational run by the Norwegian from his own half to the opposition area saw an attempted curler kept out by the former Arsenal man.

On 65 minutes Watford's resolve was broken with a goal straight at of the Sam Allardyce playbook. Tommy Spurr sent a long throw into the area, captain Scott Dann flicked on an Jordan Rhodes rose to head home emphatically.

Ben Marshall had been introduced for Leon Best just past the hour mark and he would make a huge impression on the Ewood faithful with a scintillating cameo. The former Leicester man skipped past two challenges but fired just wide.

Then he flew down the wing but Almunia claimed the ball ahead of Rhodes, before another superb centre from Marshall saw Rhodes' flick take it off the head of the onrushing Cairney.

Despite that concerted spell of pressure the Hornets certainly didn't lie down. Ikechi Anya tried his luck from distance with a shot that whistled just past the post, whilst substitute Fernando Forestieri was wide from a tight angle.

Five additional minutes were shown as Matt Kilgallon was sent on for his Rovers debut, replacing the imperious Scott Dann who picked up a knock in the closing stages and was unable to continue.

Watford threw everything at Rovers, Kean saving well as Gabriele Angella headed goalwards, whilst bodies were thrust on the line when it counted.

Rovers could have grabbed a second at the death but Almunia saved well when Rhodes was clean through, but no-one was moaning as the fans celebrated a hard-fought win in an entertaining match.

Wigan Athletic are next up this Sunday at the DW Stadium, Rovers will make the short journey in good heart.

ROVERS: Kean, Kane, Dann (c) (sub Kilgallon 90 mins), Hanley, Spurr, Cairney, Lowe, Evans, King (sub Olsson 83 mins), Best (sub Marshall 62 mins), Rhodes.

Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Williamson, Marrow, Judge.

Goals: Rhodes 65 mins.

Booked: Best, Evans.

WATFORD: Almunia (c), Angella, Belkalem, Battocchio (sub Forestieri 72 mins), Deeney, McGugan, Acuna (sub Fabbrini 46 mins), Faraoni, Anya, Iriney (sub McEachran 61 mins), Cassetti.

Subs not used: Bond (GK), Doyley, Murray, Pudil.

Goals: None.

Booked: McGugan, Faraoni.

Attendance: 12,981

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