Asprilla steers Watford past Rotherham

17 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Watford gave their season the much-needed boost it required with a 1-0 win at struggling Rotherham.

Both teams went into the fixture out of form and on the back of three straight defeats but Yaser Asprilla’s second-half winner helps Valerien Ismael’s team to look up again.

Watford won the reverse fixture 5-0 but were happy to walk away from this one with a much narrower winning margin and were clinging on by the end.

Neat interplay between Hakeem Odoffin and Peter Kioso led to Rotherham’s first chance with Odoffin just firing off target from Kioso’s pull-back.

Andy Rinomhota also shot off target on the volley after Sean Morrison’s long throw dropped nicely for him.

Watford’s first effort came from lone striker Mileta Rajovic but his header, from Asprilla’s cross, dropped wide of goal.

Asprilla then came close himself with his effort from the edge of the box deflected onto the roof of the goal.

Kioso tested Ben Hamer for the first time in the match as he got on the end of Ollie Rathbone’s free-kick.

The home side started the second half on top and strongly appealed for a penalty when Rinomhota went down in the box.

Giorgi Chakvetadze was brought on by Ismael and he almost had a swift impact as he slipped Rajovic through but quick-thinking from Viktor Johansson stopped the attack.

Watford took the lead in the 58th minute when a corner eventually found its way to Asprilla on the edge of the box and he lashed an unstoppable drive into the bottom corner.

Rotherham boss Leam Richardson made a treble change in the hope of getting back into the game but it was starter Seb Revan who twice tried his luck in as many minutes.

The first effort was slashed at but the second would have temporarily worried Hamer before it trickled just wide of the post.

One of the new men, Jordan Hugill, could not get enough of a contact on a backpost header which again drifted wide.

An intervention from Jake Livermore denied Rotherham a leveller as he blocked a header from Tom Eaves after a Sam Clucas free-kick. From the resulting corner Morrison headed just off target.

Tom Ince had a good chance to put the game to bed after being slipped through by Livermore but his effort was wildly off target.

Watford skipper Wesley Hoedt was then in the perfect position to deny Rinomhota’s driven effort from going in.

Rotherham continued to push into added time and a looping header from Odoffin landed on the roof of the net.

The managers

Rotherham’s Leam Richardson:

“You’re judged on the final result; I think we are up on every stat within the game apart from the result which counts.

“I am disappointed for the players. They gave enough effort and endeavour to get a positive result out of the game. That is where we are.

“I have said it before and I will probably be repeating myself a lot now until the end of the season, I knew the challenge coming in.

“There is no reason why we can’t give a good account of ourselves whether that be on a Saturday or Tuesday or Monday, Thursday, Friday. We have still got points to play for and an end goal.”

Watford’s Valerien Ismael:

“We were ready for the battle. We spoke about it before the game. It was all about the result. We had to be solid and to do the basics right.

“Finally it was another clean sheet. It was very difficult but we managed well.

“Our focus was all about the result. We have had to stay positive. There is no excuse any more – we had to act on the pitch.

“Yaser is a player who has learned a lot this season and he is ready now to have an impact on games. I am very pleased for him.”

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