Championship
WatfordWatford3BlackburnBlackburn Rovers1

Watford 3-1 Blackburn Rovers: Ben Foster inspires Hornets to victory

By Brendon MitchellBBC Sport
Watford celebrate
This match was the first time Watford had scored more than once in a game under boss Vladimir Ivic

Watford continued their impressive start to the Championship season with victory over Blackburn Rovers, who fell to a second straight loss despite dominating at Vicarage Road.

Tony Mowbray's side controlled the opening stages but found themselves 2-0 down inside 17 minutes, Joao Pedro finishing a fine Hornets move and captain Tom Cleverley heading into an empty net.

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster had already made a number of fine saves by the time Ben Brereton pulled one back with a brilliant chest and volley from 25 yards out.

The hosts were also fortunate not to have Christian Kabasele sent off after he hauled Adam Armstrong down when the Rovers striker had gone clean through.

To compound the away team's frustration, Watford's two-goal advantage was restored thanks to an own goal, with Darragh Lenihan diverting Ken Sema's teasing cross into his own net shortly after half-time.

Blackburn continued to carve out chance after chance but their night was best summed up by Armstrong's failure to beat Foster from the penalty spot after Craig Cathcart had fouled Lewis Holtby in the box.

In total, the visitors managed 19 attempts on goal against a Hornets backline that had conceded just once in their previous five league matches.

This victory, however, was more thanks to Foster's brilliance than the defenders in front of him, the keeper saving free headers from Lenihan and Daniel Ayala before the break and then tipping Armstrong's attempted chip over the bar in the second half.

His most crucial intervention was palming Armstrong's spot-kick away, setting up a fourth win of the season for Watford, who also climbed up to third.

At the other end of the pitch Joao Pedro also impressed, with the 19-year-old Brazilian posing a constant threat and clinically side-footing Kiko Femenia's low cross into the bottom corner.

Watford manager Vladimir Ivic:

"We can be satisfied with three points but we know that we have to improve a lot of things, like when we have possession.

"We have to learn to win because when you are relegated from the Premier League to the Championship you have a different goal.

"It is a good start from six games but the Championship is long. We are waiting for injured players to come back and help us."

Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"I thought we were generally pretty good for most of the night.

"You don't want to lose three goals, of course. It's risk and reward for us and we came here thinking we could win.

"You have to respect they have some pretty good footballers at the top end of the pitch.

"I thought we were OK. There were plenty of positives. We're allowed to be disappointed, I think we let them off the hook."

Line-ups

Watford

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Foster
  • 15Cathcart
  • 27KabaseleBooked at 22mins
  • 6Wilmot
  • 21FemeníaSubstituted forNgakiaat 71'minutesBooked at 75mins
  • 16Garner
  • 14Chalobah
  • 8CleverleySubstituted forCapoueat 61'minutes
  • 12Sema
  • 23SarrSubstituted forQuinaat 89'minutes
  • 10João PedroBooked at 84mins

Substitutes

  • 3Ngakia
  • 5Troost-Ekong
  • 17Murray
  • 20Quina
  • 25Perica
  • 26Bachmann
  • 29Capoue

Blackburn

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Kaminski
  • 2Nyambe
  • 26Lenihan
  • 5AyalaSubstituted forWhartonat 66'minutes
  • 17Bell
  • 10Holtby
  • 29EvansSubstituted forTrybullat 70'minutes
  • 4Johnson
  • 16Elliott
  • 7Armstrong
  • 20BreretonSubstituted forDolanat 77'minutes

Substitutes

  • 13Pears
  • 15Douglas
  • 19Trybull
  • 21Buckley
  • 24Rankin-Costello
  • 28Wharton
  • 39Dolan
Referee:
Andy Woolmer

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamBlackburn
Possession
Home34%
Away66%
Shots
Home10
Away19
Shots on Target
Home4
Away7
Corners
Home1
Away8
Fouls
Home24
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 3, Blackburn Rovers 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 3, Blackburn Rovers 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Jeremy Ngakia.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Bradley Johnson (Blackburn Rovers) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tyrhys Dolan with a cross.

  5. Post update

    Lewis Holtby (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Tyrhys Dolan (Blackburn Rovers).

  8. Post update

    Jeremy Ngakia (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Offside, Blackburn Rovers. Amari'i Bell tries a through ball, but Adam Armstrong is caught offside.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Domingos Quina replaces Ismaila Sarr.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Lewis Holtby (Blackburn Rovers).

  12. Post update

    Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tom Trybull (Blackburn Rovers) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lewis Holtby with a cross following a corner.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Christian Kabasele.

  15. Booking

    João Pedro (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

  16. Post update

    Tom Trybull (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Ismaila Sarr (Watford).

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ismaila Sarr (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by João Pedro.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. James Garner (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ken Sema.

  20. Post update

    Bradley Johnson (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick on the right wing.