Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Tuesday March 11 2014
TEN man Watford trail Doncaster Rovers at half-time after Mathias Ranegie's senseless red card.
The Swedish international was rightly dismissed after 18 minutes for a kick on James Husband, but Watford were left feeling let-down by referee Mr Sarginson when he failed to send-off Sam Johnstone after he hauled down Troy Deeney in the penalty area.
Chris Brown got the only goal of the half - heading past Jonathan Bond at the near post four minutes after Ranegie's dismissal.
With Manuel Almunia ill and Sean Murray injured, Beppe Sannino was forced into two changes, bringing Bond and Alexander Merkel into the side.
Third-choice goalkeeper Gary Woods came onto the bench against his former employers, whilst Lewis McGugan and Fernando Forestieri were both also named as substitutes after returning from injury.
Doncaster Rovers boss Paul Dickov made just one change, with new father James Coppinger taking the place of former West Brom centre-back Gabriel Tamas after missing Saturday`s win over Huddersfield Town.
Coppinger started in an unfamiliar right-back role, with Paul Quinn partnering Abdoulaye Meite at centre-half.
Watford enjoyed the better start of the two sides, Merkel well denied by Manchester United loanee Johnstone after a lovely one-two with Deeney teed up the German midfielder.
After just 18 minutes though, Watford`s task got decidedly harder when Ranegie was dismissed for kicking out at Doncaster`s Husband.
The two were involved in a minor tangle, Husband shoving the big Swede, who returned the contact with interest, kicking the prone defender to rightfully earn a straight red card.
Doncaster took just four minutes to capitalise on their numerical advantage, Brown meeting a Coppinger cross from the right to head powerfully past Bond at the near post.
Watford responded with a good chance just after the half-hour mark, Gabriele Angella collected a Daniel Tozser free-kick, only to see his scruffy effort blocked inside the penalty area.
The Hornets had no cause to complain over Ranegie`s red card, but were left bemused when Mr Sarginson failed to award a penalty and dismiss goalkeeper Johnstone for his rugby tackle on Deeney.
Deeney had closed down the young goalkeeper impressively, the England youth international losing out in a 50:50 with the Watford skipper, who was then hauled down as Johnstone attempted - disastrously - to atone for his error.
Date:Tuesday March 11 2014
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Stats: Watford v Huddersfield Town (Saturday August 30 2014)
Preview: Watford v Huddersfield (Saturday August 30 2014)
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Stats: Watford v Leeds Utd (Saturday August 23 2014)
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