Bristol Rovers went out of the Capital One Cup this evening after to losing 3-1 to Watford, despite playing some really good football at times.
All the goals came in the first half, with Rovers going 3-0 down, before Eliot Richards pulled one back for the home side just before the break.
Rovers played some exciting football, especially in the second half, where they kept the Championship side fairly quiet.
There was an early appeal for a penalty for Rovers, after a shout for handball within the Rovers’ box, but referee Darren Sheldrake was quick to wave it away.
Rovers settled well and played some good passing football, more than matching their higher league opponents in the opening stages.
Tom Lockyer was given his first start in a blue and white shirt, replacing Mitch Harding who dropped to the bench. Lockyer, who came to the club as a defender, started alongside Oliver Norburn in the centre of midfield, with Eliot Richards moved up front.
Watford had the first real chance of the game when a long range effort from Javier Acuna was tipped over the bar by Steve Mildenhall.
The visitors then had another long range effort, but the free kick went straight into the arms of the impressive Mildenhall.
Rovers then had their first real chance when they hit the post through Clarkson who wrong footed the Watford keeper.
Watford then took the lead when Sean Murray was given too much space. He slipped by his man and shot from an angle from inside the box, beating the diving Mildenhall.
Watford seemed to settle on the ball after the first goal, and Rovers backed off allowing them to add another two goals to extend their lead.
Just before the half hour Gabriele Angella leapt highest to head home a corner from goalscorer Murray.
And then Murray made it 3-0 just five minutes later; Acuna cut back the ball back across the box and Murray looked up and slammed the ball home from the edge of the area.
Rovers then started to work their way back into the game, and they pulled one back before half time through Eliot Richards. The Welshman volleyed home after Watford failed to clear a Rovers’ corner.
Rovers really came at Watford after the break and put the Championship side on the back foot, clearly keen to pull another goal back as soon as possible. Watford keeper Jonathan Bond pulled off a great save to deny John-Joe O’Toole who shot from a tight angle.
Harrison then had a chance for Rovers, after a good cross from Norburn fell to Clarkson only to be blocked by Watford sub Lloyd Doyley. However, the winger volleyed his shot from close range high over the bar.
Richards went close to making it two for himself and Rovers; O’Toole headed the ball down towards an onrushing Richards but the keeper got there just before him to gather the ball safely.
Norburn was then ruled offside as his cross to O’Toole ended up in the back of the net.
O’Toole again came close to pulling one back after he controlled the ball on his chest, brought it down and volleyed from 20 yards only to see the ball whizz just wide.
Mildenhall then made a great low save to deny Diego Fabbrini at the other end.
Norburn then tried a long range shot but Bond reacted quickly and got down well to make an easy save.
Fabrinni was again denied by Mildenhall who this time produced a one handed reaction save to keep the ball out of the net.
Norburn tried his luck with another long range shot in injury time, but another great save from Mildenhall saw out the game.
Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Lee Brown, Mark McChrystal, Tom Parkes, Michael Smith, Ellis Harrison, Oliver Norburn, John-Joe O'Toole, Tom Lockyer (Mitch Harding), Eliot Richards (Shaquille HUnter), David Clarkson (Alefe Santos).
Substitutes: Conor Gough, Pat Keary, Josh Southway.
Watford: Jonathan Bond, Reece Brown, Gabriele Angella (Lloyd Doyley), Joel Eksrand, Marco Faraoni (Marco Cassetti), Christian Battocchio (Almen Abdi), Javier Acuna, Sean Murray, Daniel Pudil, Connor Smith, Diego Fabbrini.
Substitutes: Manuel Almunia, Fernando Forestieri, Bernard Mensah, Luke O'Nien.