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Match Reports

Match Report : 27/10/2012

27 October 2012

Rovers 1-0 Watford

It was Rhodes to the rescue for Rovers as they left it late to claim all three points against Watford.

The game looked to be heading towards a goalless draw after Colin Kazim-Richards had hit a 77th minute penalty against the crossbar, but Rovers' record signing spared his blushes with an injury-time winner.

With Rovers' camped in the Watford half for the majority of the game it looked like the goal wouldn't come, but as Ruben Rochina saw his shot blocked the ball fell to Rhodes and he took a touch before turning and lashing home to make it back-to-back home wins and back-to-back clean sheets.

Following on from the midweek win over Sheffield Wednesday, Eric Black made two changes to the starting eleven for the game against Watford.

A calf strain ruled out David Dunn, his spot taken by his midweek replacement Ruben Rochina, whilst Morten Gamst Pedersen was preferred to Martin Olsson on the left.

Olsson dropped to a substitute's bench that included Academy graduate Raheem Hanley. The 18-year-old named for the first time.

Despite the bright conditions at Ewood Park, the first half fare was anything but, Rovers enjoyed plenty of the ball but they struggled to build up a head of steam to put Gianfranco Zola's side under any meaningful pressure.

An early move showed promise as Bradley Orr looked to get on the end of a move started by the full back, but as he connected with a Morten Gamst Pedersen's cross from the left, his header hit the Watford defender and bounced behind. Orr appealed that the ball had been handled but the officials showed no interest.

Rovers continued to control the game, forcing a number of corners, but the Hornets defended admirably.

It wasn't until the 26th minute that Manuel Almunia was called upon to make a save, Jason Lowe the unlikely man letting fly from distance, the former Arsenal 'keeper claiming the ball at the second attempt.

Aside from a shot on the turn by Fernando Forestieri that Paul Robinson claimed comfortably, the majority of play centred around the other penalty area, Colin Kazim-Richards claiming a penalty as he looked to be tugged back in the area as he chased a cross from Pedersen. Again the referee wasn't concerned.

The last chance of the half summed up the 45 minutes, Jordan Rhodes couldn't get a site of goal in the box and as the ball came back to Dickson Etuhu for the shooting chance the Nigerian blasted the ball well over the bar.

The expected response after a disappointing first half never materialised for Rovers. The first event of the second half saw Gael Givet go off after being unable to continue following a crunching challenge, Martin Olsson on to replace.

Slowly but surely Rovers started to build up a head of steam, Colin Kazim-Richards glancing a Pedersen centre straight into the arms of Almunia, then another cross from the left, this time by Olsson, was met by the head of Rhodes but he powered the ball over the bar.

Those were only the two notable chances as the home side struggled to carve Watford open, but on 77 minutes Rovers were then handed the chance to open the scoring when they were awarded a penalty after a shot from Rhodes struck the arm of Hoban.

Colin Kazim-Richards grabbed the ball but even though he strode forward confidently, his effort slammed off the crossbar.

Ruben Rochina fired over after a Nuno Gomes dummy saw the ball run to the Spaniard, but a rare Watford attack saw the Hornets have men over but man of the match Scott Dann defended superbly to thwart Deeney.

Like Wednesday night five added minutes were shown but not all of them were required. With Watford having all but Deeney back in their area it invited pressure and as Danny Murphy and Colin Kazim-Richards fed Rochina, his shot was blocked as far as Jordan Rhodes who took a touch before lashing left-footed beyond Almunia.

The Hornets' hearts were broken, Rovers were relieved, the joy on Rhodes' face told its own story, Kazim-Richards' was quick to thank him.

The win sees Rovers consolidate their position in the top five before next week's trip to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace.

ROVERS: Robinson (c), Orr, Dann, Hanley, Givet (sub Olsson 56 mins), Kazim-Richards, Lowe (sub Murphy 89 mins), Etuhu, Pedersen, Rochina, Rhodes (sub Nuno Gomes 78 mins).

Subs not used: Kean (GK), Formica, R. Hanley, Rosado.

Goals: Rhodes 90 mins.

Booked: Givet, Dann, Rochina.

WATFORD: Almunia (c), Hall, Yeates (sub Battocchio 81 mins), Hogg, Deeney, Doyley, Cassetti, Smith, Hoban, Forestieri (sub Geijo 85 mins), Fanchone (sub Erkstrand 75 mins).

Subs not used: Bond (c), Murray, Vydra, Anya.

Goals: None.

Booked: Cassetti.

Attendance: 13,233

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