Report: Rovers 2 Watford 2
Second half goals from Rudy Gestede and Ryan Tunnicliffe saw Rovers come from behind to draw 2-2 with Watford.
After a first half in which Rovers were given a lesson in clinical finishing, the home side roared back to more than earn a share of the spoils in yet another pulsating Ewood encounter.
Matej Vydra's emphatic strike saw the visitors take the lead on the half hour, but whilst Rudy Gestede was inches away from levelling, Daniel Tozser's inch-perfect free-kick saw Watford in command at the break.
Gestede reduced arrears some 20 seconds into the second half when he headed home Markus Olsson's centre, and he could have had more.
Instead it was Tunnicliffe who grabbed the leveller 12 minutes from, the on-loan midfielder heading home Ben Marshall's inch-perfect cross.
Rovers pressed for a third, creating a host of chances. Tom Cairney struck the woodwork, Gestede was twice denied further and Jordan Rhodes saw a goal ruled out for a foul on goalkeeper. But Watford withstood the pressure to ensure Rovers came away with just a point.
With Lee Williamson and Tom Cairney having recovered from the knocks received in the 1-0 win over Fulham last time out, Gary Bowyer named an unchanged starting XI for the visit of Watford to Ewood Park.
That meant first home starts for goalkeeper Jason Steele and defender Shane Duffy following their impressive performances at Craven Cottage.
In contrast, the visitors made four changes following their 1-1 draw with AFC Bournemouth seven days ago. Gianni Munari, Gabriele Angella, Craig Cathcart and Odion Ighalo all coming into the starting line-up and it was one of those players who should have given the Hornets the lead inside two minutes.
A long ball over the top saw Ikechi Anya give chase, but an untimely slip from Markus Olsson allowed the Scottish international time and space to pick out Ighalo in the area but he fired wide when well placed.
Olsson then turned provider for Rovers' first effort at goal, the Swede crossing for Jordan Rhodes to control and shoot, but his effort deflected harmlessly into the arms of Watford captain Heurelho Gomes.
It was Rovers taking the game to Watford after that early scare as Alex Baptiste then went close to opening his Rovers account. Neat passing play saw Tom Cairney find the defender on the overlap and he cut inside to shoot left-footed only to be denied by Gomes down low.
Ben Marshall then played in Jordan Rhodes but good pressure from Paredes prevents the striker from getting a clean shot on goal allowing Gomes to gather. A minute later Rhodes got more power to his effort but it lacked accuracy.
Jason Steele was called upon to make a save low down at his near post after Ighalo had gotten the better of Grant Hanley, but there was little he could do as the Hornets took the lead on the half hour.
A chipped ball from Craig Cathcart over the Rovers' rearguard saw Matej Vydra beat the offside trap and although bodies got back to defend against the striker, the Czech forward found the back of the net in emphatic fashion with a superb strike into the far corner.
Rovers were inches away from getting back on level terms on 39 minutes. Again intricate passing from the home side saw Cairney feeds Rhodes, who, with his back to goal, slipped in Gestede, but the striker's curling effort flashed inches wide.
It would prove to be a pivotal miss as the Hornets went straight up the other to double their advantage.
After Corry Evans was adjudged to have fouled Vydra 20-yards out, Daniel Tozser stepped up and made no mistake, again leaving Steele with no chance as his free-kick curled in off the far post.
As Rhodes hit an overhead kick off target it summed up their first half display. The home side had seen more of the ball in the final third, but it was the visitors who were much more clinical when it counted.
However 25 seconds after the restart Rovers were back in the match. Markus Olsson used Craig Conway, on at half-time for Baptiste, as a decoy to send over a sumptuous ball that was just begging to be met.
Thankfully Rudy Gestede was the man to meet hit and he powerfully headed home his fifth of the season.
A minute later Gestede should have been celebrating his second. Ben Marshall, now playing as a marauding full back, sent over a cross from the right, the ball struck a Watford man to deflected perfectly for the striker but he sent his shot a yard the wrong side of the post.
Rovers then saw strong claims for a penalty waved away as a Corry Evans cross looked to have struck the arm of Daniel Pudil at close quarters.
Instead Rovers were awarded a corner kick for which Ben Marshall should have done better as he headed Conway's centre wide of goal.
Momentum was firmly with the home side as Gestede twice spurned further chances. Firing straight at Gomes from ten yards with a snap-shot, before latching onto Shane Duffy's headed pass only to lift the ball over the Watford 'keeper but wide of goal.
As the game entered the final 15 Rovers continued to pepper the Watford goal in search of an equaliser. Cairney and Gestede both seeing shots deflect wide of goal.
The Hornet's resolve was eventually broken on 77 minutes with Rovers finally able to find a finish to match their approach play.
Tom Cairney started the move, sweeping the ball to the right to Marshall, and as he stood the ball up towards the back post, substitute Ryan Tunnicliffe arrived to head home.
Urged on by the home support Rovers did everything but score in the closing stages of the game.
After Duffy's long-range shot had Gomes scrambling back, Cairney went closer with a free-kick that bounced off the top of the crossbar.
In the ensuing melee Gestede saw his goalbound effort cleared off the line.
Jordan Rhodes then thought he'd headed Rovers in front for the first time when he met Olsson's centre, but the whistle had gone for a foul on the Hornets keeper. Moments later the striker was denied by the legs of Gomes after he had outmuscled the Watford defence.
Five additional minutes were played, and although Rovers pressed until the death, they were unable to grab the winner their second half play merited.
ROVERS: Steele; Baptiste (sub Conway 46 mins), Hanley (c), Duffy, Olsson; Cairney, Williamson (sub Tunnicliffe 62 mins), Evans, Marshall; Rhodes, Gestede.
Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Kilgallon, King, Varney, Taylor.
Goals: Gestede 46 mins, Tunnicliffe 78 mins.
WATFORD: Gomes (c), Munari, Angella, Tozser, Paredes, Cathcart, Murray (sub Forestieri 79 mins), Pudil, Vydra, Anya (sub Ekstrand 88 mins), Ighalo (sub Dyer 69 mins).
Subs not used: Bond (GK), McGugan, Fabbrini, Hoban.
Goals: Vydra 30 mins, Tozser 41 mins.
Booked: Gomes, Vydra, Angella.
Attendance: 14084 (including 675 visiting supporters)