Date: 30th November 2008 at 10:37am
Written by:

Doncaster went to Watford with renewed optimism after the midweek signing of striker Steve Brooker.

Having missed so much football with Bristol City recently Brooker had to be happy with a place on the bench.
John Spicer earned a recall whilst Gareth Taylor was the loan striker.

Watford welcomed their new manager Brendan Rodgers who brought with him from Chelsea youngster Liam Bridcutt on loan.

Rovers started much the brighter and were attacking their large following in the first half.

The first chance fell to Richie Wellens who tried to clip the ball back across goal but his effort took a deflection and looped up; hit the bar and came down on the line, Watford somehow managed to escape.

Rovers continued to lay siege on the Watford goal without making a clear cut chance.
Coppinger wasted the best opportunity when he took too long when in a good shooting position and Watford got back to clear the ball.

It was nearly half way through the half before Watford had their first real chance, a free kick 25 yards out was taken by Williamson but his effort hit the Rovers wall and went out for a corner.

Rovers fell behind on the half hour when Chambers was dispossessed when letting the ball bounce and not clearing the ball first time. Watford gained possession and Priskin`s shot was going well wide, Tommy Smith got on the end of it to steer the ball into the back of the net to give Watford the lead against the run of play.

This brought Watford to life and a few good attacks were made at the Rovers goal but without seriously troubling Sullivan in goal.

It was about this time that the referee decided to take centre stage for the rest of the game with some strange decisions that baffled both sets of fans. He somehow managed to book nine players before the end of the match and there wasn`t a bad tackle in the whole game!

Gareth Taylor had a good chance to equalise just before half time but his header was straight at Loach in the Watford goal.

The quality in the second half was very poor for the first fifteen minutes and the Rovers crowd were baying for the arrival of new striker Steve Brooker.

The fans finally got their wish with 25 minutes remaining when Rovers made a double substitution with Brooker and Guy replacing Taylor and Woods.

With one of his first touches of the ball Brooker broke his duck for Rovers when he guided the ball past Watford keeper Loach after a good ball into the middle from Spicer; it was a very similar goal to Watford`s.

This sent the large Rovers following into raptures and they celebrated seeing a Rovers striker score for the first time since Lewis Guy scored in mid August around 1623 minutes of play!

We have been saying all season that all we need is a decent striker and Rovers create enough chances for them to score.

Rovers were now on the front foot and trying to find a winner, unfortunately most of the time it was same old Rovers who when in a good position took far too long to play a ball into an attacking player, allowing the defence to get back behind the ball and clear the danger.

Watford had a rare forage into the Rovers half and won a free kick in a decent position, O`Toole got his head to the free kick but luckily it was straight at Sullivan.

Coppinger then had a tremendous left foot effort from the edge of the box saved by the Watford keeper at the other end.

There was a couple of nervy moments for Rovers in the four minutes of added time but they stayed strong at the back to ensure they stretched their unbeaten run to four games, unfortunately it didn`t stop Rovers dropping back to the bottom of the Championship.

Another good performance on the road for most of the game and finally we have a striker who knows how to score goals. As well as the goal he showed quite a few glimpses that he has lots to offer Rovers in attack and hopefully he will start in next weeks home game against Plymouth.

Player Ratings

Neil Sullivan 7
Had little to do, didn`t have much chance with the goal.

James O`Connor 6
Did well on an attacking front but was often caught out down the right hand side when defending

Matt Mills 7
Solid display although he did give us a few heart in mouth moments with sliced clearances.

Shelton Martis 6
(replaced by Hird 40 minutes)
He doesn`t fill me with confidence at the back and seems quite clumsy, gives away silly free kicks.

James Chambers 6
Another one who got forward well to help out the attack, a few telling challenges at the back.

John Spicer 7
Battled well throughout, put across the ball that got Rovers their equaliser.

Brian Stock 7
Usual hard working display in midfield.

Richie Wellens 6
Didn`t seem to be fully fit and struggled to get into the game.

James Coppinger 7
In and out of the game but was usually involved in all Rovers good attacking moves, wasted a good chance to shoot in the first half but made the keeper make a fantastic save late on in the game

Martin Woods 6
Quiet game, shame he`s not got a right foot or he could have been in on goal in the first half.

Gareth Taylor
(replaced by Brooker 64)
Worked hard for the team and won lots of balls in the air, kept getting penalised by the referee for a lot of them though when he was doing nothing wrong.

Sam Hird 7
(replaced Martis 40)
Usual composed defensive performance when he had to replace the injured Martis.

Steve Brooker 8
(replaced Taylor 64))
We have been crying out for a striker for months and the moment we sign one he scores within minutes of his debut. Looked sharp and eager up front, all we need now is someone to help him out!

(replaced Woods 64)
Did little after coming on and managed to balloon over from six yards late on, luckily for him the linesman`s flag was raised for offside.

Manager Rating
Sean O`Driscoll 5
Glad to see he gave Spicer another chance in midfield. Was disappointed he left it almost twenty minutes into the second half before introducing Brooker.

Referee Iain Williamson 1
Absolutely woeful performance from the official, somehow managed to book nine players when there wasn`t a bad tackle in the whole game.
He was one of those officials that when he blew his whistle both sets of players and fans waited to see which way the free kick would go because they didn`t have a clue what he was thinking!