Watford Ease Past Rotherham
Tue 24th Feb - 7:45pm
Watford bounced back from Saturday's disappointment with a comfortable 3-0 victory at home to Rotherham Utd. Odion Ighalo opened the scoring after 18 minutes when he capitalised on a defensive error. Rotherham posed little threat going forward and Watford wrapped up the points in the second half with two goals in two minutes from Troy Deeney and Ighalo again to run out 3-0 winners.
Slavisa Jokanovic made two changes from the side that lost 3-0 against Norwich City at the weekend. Tommie Hoban came in to replace Juan Carlos Paredes whilst Daniel Tozser replaced Ikechi Anya was the Hornets switched to a 4-4-2 diamond formation.
Steve Evans was able to call on the services of strike duo Conor Sammon and Matt Derbyshire who have linked up well in recent matches. There was only a place on the bench for former Hornet Scott Loach as Adam Collin continued in goal.
Watford started the game well and created their first chance inside the opening two minutes when Almen Abdi, playing at the tip of the diamond, found space in the Rotherham box before teeing up Miguel Layun who was robbed of the ball just as he wound up to shoot.
The Hornets then struggled to get into their rhythm with their new formation offering them little in terms of pace in wide areas. Daniel Tozser fired over the bar from the edge of the box when Abdi found him after good work from Odion Ighalo.
However, despite their sluggish start, Watford took the lead after 18 minutes through Ighalo. After chasing down a long clearance forward the Hornets striker was as surprised as anyone when Kari Arnason slipped after controlling the ball allowing Ighalo a free run at goal. He never looked like missing and rounded Adam Collin before slotting into an empty net.
Midway through the first half Watford found Collin in top form on two occasions as they looked to double their lead. First, he managed to beat away an effort from Troy Deeney from the edge of the box before producing a brilliant reflex save to deny Joel Ekstrand from the resulting corner.
The visitors grew into the first half and had chances to equalise before the half was out themselves. Matt Derbyshire managed to turn Ekstrand in a wide area before cutting into the box and shooting goal wards but Heurelho Gomes palmed his effort away.
An even better chance presented itself minutes later when an in-swinging corner was met by an unmarked Kari Arnason on the penalty spot but he headed straight at Gomes when he really should have done better.
Half Time: Watford 1-0 Rotherham Utd
Watford started the second half much more brightly and put the game to bed with two goals in two minutes.
Troy Deeney doubled the lead after 54 minutes when Collin could only parry Tozser's long range free kick. Ekstrand followed up on the rebound and his cross into the box was tapped in by the Hornets number nine.
Just two minutes later Ighalo added his second of the game and Watford's third to make the game safe. A quick break from the Hornets saw Deeney find Layun on the edge of the box. His left footed effort was parried by Collin straight to Ighalo who had the simple task of tapping the ball into an empty net.
By now Watford were hitting their straps and they nearly made it 4-0 after an hour when a sweeping move saw Tommie Hoban receive the ball on the edge of the box before cutting inside his man and firing over from inside the area.
Rotherham threatened sporadically in the second half but did come close to pulling a goal back on a couple of occasions. Midway through the second half Craig Cathcart had to be at his best to block a goal bound effort from Paul Green after he connected with a deep cross into the box.
Gomes, who received treatment for a leg injury in the second half, did well to hold onto a low effort on goal from substitute Danny Ward with a number of Rotherham players waiting for the rebound.
Abdi came close to adding to the scoreline in the final ten minutes when a good move involving substitute Matej Vydra saw Deeney cross to the far post for Abdi to score but he fired his effort over the bar.
The Swiss International came even closer to getting a goal for himself in the closing stages when Ben Watson played a through ball behind the Rotherham defence. Abdi collected, steadied himself but hit the inside of the post with his effort from a tight angle.
Full Time: Watford 3-0 Rotherham Utd
Watford: Gomes, Cathcart, Ekstrand, Angella, Hoban, Watson, Layun (Munari), Tozser, Abdi, Ighalo (Vydra), Deeney (Forestieri)
Subs Not Used: Bond (GK), Pudil, Paredes, Anya
Rotherham Utd: Collin, Hunt, Morgan, Arnason, Fryers, Green, Smallwood, Milsom (Ward), Pringle, Sammon (Hammill), Derbyshire (Clarke-Harris)
Subs Not Used: Loach (GK), Broadfoot, Richardson, Bowery
Att: 13,468 (301 Rotherham)
Ref: Mr Andy Haines