Match Report: Watford 2 Doncaster Rovers 1

Chris Brown and James Coppinger celebrate the equaliser
Chris Brown and James Coppinger celebrate the equaliser

He wanted more of the same and for the majority of the game that is what Paul Dickov got.

Rovers looked to be heading for another welcome and hard-earned point on the road with a performance and pattern of play that virtually mirrored those from the previous game.

On the top in the first half, unlucky not to be ahead at the break.

Under the cosh for long periods in the second, their performance deserving the reward of a point.

But three minutes from time came the hammer blow of a penalty for Watford, handing them a 2-1 win on a platter.

There will be plenty of debate whether Daniel Pudil was outside of the box when James Husband somewhat rashly slid in to tackle.

It certainly appeared so.

Lewis McGugan expertly converted the spot kick to give the hosts victory, denying Rovers another impressive result.

Chris Brown’s poacher’s strike cancelled out Lewis McGugan’s chip just two minutes after the midfielder had given Watford the lead early in the first half.

Throughout, Dickov’s men looked defensively solid, operating a narrow formation out of possession.

Driving their work both on and off the ball was pure desire. Rovers seemed to want the ball more than their hosts who showed only flashes of their own energy.

Passing, particularly in the early stages, was quick and crisp, creating triangles around the hosts.

To a newcomer it would have been difficult to tell which side was in League One last term.

After the break it became much more clear which side was 90 minutes from the top flight as Watford enjoyed much more control of possession.

Rovers spent much of the second half penned in their own half, facing waves of rapid attacks from Watford.

But to their credit they held firm, keeping their cool inside the area to make telling interceptions.

There was to be no dream debut off the bench for new loan signing Federico Macheda, given a good half an hour but limited to one real chance which he shanked wide on the angle.

Rovers surged out of the blocks in the early stages with Theo Robinson and Bongali Khumalo both going close with headers.

Their hard work appeared to have been undone when McGugan gave his side the lead on 13 minutes.

Troy Deeney flicked a header on to put McGugan in space 20 yards out and the midfielder chipped a shot which Ross Turnbull got his fingertips to but could not keep out.

Rovers wasted no time with disappointment and were level inside two minutes.

Robinson drilled a shot from the corner of the box which Manuel Almunia parried only for Brown to dart in and slam home the rebound.

Chances were few and far between for the remainder of the half but Rovers faced an onslaught after the break.

Substitute Fernando Forestieri caused plenty of problems, dancing his way in the final third and finding spaces for shots while Ikechi Anya was a constant threat on the right.

Turnbull dealt with the pressure well as did his defence until Husband’s challenge saw referee Darren Drysdale pointed to the spot on 87 minutes, giving McGugan the opportunity to seal the win.