Match Report: Doncaster Rovers 2 Watford 1

Billy Sharp strikes in injury to secure victory for Doncaster over Watford
Billy Sharp strikes in injury to secure victory for Doncaster over Watford

Paul Dickov might want to put his lottery numbers on this weekend.

Because Rovers were given a huge helping hand as they broke their back-to-back league win hoodoo in dramatic fashion against ten man Watford - thanks to Billy Sharp’s injury time winner.

Chris Brown celebrates his goal for Doncaster Rovers against Watford

Chris Brown celebrates his goal for Doncaster Rovers against Watford

Doncaster had all the luck before the break.

Mathias Ranegie was sent off for the visitors, Chris Brown opened the scoring and then referee Christopher Sarginson denied the Hornets a certain penalty.

Ikechi Anya equalised after the break and Rovers’ luck appeared to have ran out as chance after chance went begging.

But cometh stoppage time, cometh the man, as Sharp - who had earlier missed two second half sitters - pounced from close range to claim a massive three points in Rovers’ bid to beat the drop.

It took until the 16th minute for the first chance. Sam Johnstone got down well to save from Alexander Merkel. From then the game sparked the game into life.

Moments later Ranegie was red carded for a needless kick out at James Husband after the ball had gone.

And not long after that Rovers were ahead, Coppinger advancing from his makeshift right back position, in the absence of Gabriel Tamas, to pick out Brown who planted a powerful near post header past Jonathan Bond.

Rovers were suddenly sensing blood and David Cotterill cut inside and lashed an effort just wide, before Mark Duffy latched onto Bond’s punch but saw his two efforts blocked by a hurried Hornets backline.

At the other end Paul Quinn did well to block from Gabriele Angella as Watford’s ten men provided a timely reminder they were not about to roll over.

And just before half time an eventful first half took another twist when the Hornets were denied a stonewall penalty, Johnstone hauling down Troy Deeney after a poor backpass from Abdoulaye Meite - only for Sarginson to incredibly wave play on.

Rovers rode their luck soon after the restart too. Merkel’s curling free kick from 25 yards out crashed back off the crossbar and Deeney’s effort on the rebound, with the goal gaping, rather bounced off him and over.

The mood inside the Keepmoat Stadium was one of anxiety before Cotterill flashed an effort over after some persistent forward play from Brown.

But just as the hosts began to exert more control they wasted a gilt-edged chance to go two ahead - Sharp fluffling his lines after Wellens put it on a plate - and Watford went up the other end and levelled, the Hornets breaking quickly and Anya firing home.

Chance after chance then went begging as Doncaster’s luck seemed to run out.

Sharp prodded Duffy’s teasing cross over, Brown somehow contrived to send another Duffy centre wide from three yards out, Bond saved well from Wellens before Paul Keegan saw his shot hacked off the line.

Watford thought they had weathered the storm but when Duffy’s shot was parried by Bond that man Sharp was on hand to score his third goal since returning to Rovers - and it could yet prove to be his most important one.

rovers: Turnbull, Coppinger, Quinn, Meite (McCullough 46), Husband, Duffy, Keegan, Wellens, Cotterill, Brown, Sharp. Subs: Maxted, Furman, McCullough, De Val, Robinson, Stevens, Bowery.

watford: Bond, Doyley, Cassetti, Angella, Anya, Tozser, Merkel (Forestieri 59), Battocchio (Faraoni 88), Pudil, Deeney, Ranegie. Subs: Belkalem, McGugan, Woods, Neill, Hoban.

attendance: 6,581