Blackburn earn smash-and-grab win at Watford

27 August 2023 0 By Total Football News

Watford extended their winless run to four games in all competitions after Blackburn came away with a smash-and-grab 1-0 win on Sunday afternoon.

Matheus Martins had the best of the chances for the Hornets - whose 21 shots dwarfed Rovers' five - and crashed an unstoppable shot onto the crossbar half an hour in.

But the only goal of the game came after 72 minutes, when Ryan Hedges took over after Lewis Travis could lead the counter no longer, controlled the ball with two neat flicks and fired in from the tightest of angles.

Blackburn move up to ninth as a result of their second league win of the season and first since the opening day, while Watford stay down in 15th, with four points from four games.

Blackburn leave Watford to rue missed chances again

Keen to start making their way towards the higher reaches of the table after one win, one draw and one defeat each in their first three league outings, both teams set a great tempo in the mild lunchtime air in Hertfordshire.

Twenty minutes in, Blackburn forced the first save, when Sammie Szmodics struck a shot straight at Daniel Bachmann after receiving the ball on the half-turn and, within minutes, Martins had reacted quickest to force Aynsley Pears into a similar stop at the other end.

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Matheus Martins came close to opening the scoring for Watford but was denied by the crossbar

With the visitors lacking a touch of zest in the final third, Watford started to assert themselves thereafter and came so close to taking the lead when Martins cut in off the right, unleashed a shot and rattled the crossbar.

Martins continued in the same vein after the break, but could find no way through. Blackburn, however, did.

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Blackburn Rovers forward Ryan Hedges silenced Vicarage Road with a classy finish to put his side 1-0 up against Watford

Sam Gallagher set Travis away on the counter, but he ran out of steam before he could bear down on goal; an attempted clearance took the ball across to Hedges, who expertly flicked it past Wesley Hoedt, flicked it up again and squeezed in a shot from a narrow angle.

Inside the final 10 minutes, there was time for Martins to try his luck one last time with a low shot after Imran Louza kept Tom Ince's cross alive, but Pears dived to push the shot onto the post.

Player of the match - Ryan Hedges

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Player of the match Ryan Hedges discusses his neat finish against Watford and says Blackburn Rovers are aiming to stay at the top end of the table like last season

The managers

Watford's Valerien Ismael:

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Watford head coach Valerien Ismael says his side need to be more ruthless in attack after missing a host of chances during their 1-0 home defeat by Blackburn.

Blackburn's Jon Dahl Tomasson:

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Blackburn head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson says his 'extremely young' side are ambitious but are realistic with their progression as they look to climb the Championship table.

What's next?

Blackburn are back in action on Wednesday August 30 at 7.45pm, when they travel to Harrogate in the second round of the Carabao Cup.

Meanwhile, Watford return at 3pm on Saturday September 2, when they travel to the Coventry Building Society Arena to take on Coventry.

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