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Match Previews


6 August 2013

A look ahead to tonight's game

Bristol Rovers will be aiming for their first win of the season tonight with a Capital Cup fixture against Championship team Watford. 

On Saturday Watford got off to a winning start against Birmingham City at St Andrews to help them overcome the disappointment of last season's play-off final defeat. 

Troy Deeney, who has now notched four goals in three trips to St Andrew’s, hit a  right foot shot into the bottom right corner of the Blues net with just over 10 minutes of the season gone. Wade Elliott and Dan Burn both went close for the hosts.

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola said after the game, "I am pleased with the win. It was a tough test to start the season. This is why I am pleased with result and the performance.

"In first half we were excellent for long spells. Perhaps we should have tried to have taken more chances and scored more than one goal. Birmingham came back stronger in the second half. We dropped a little bit physically and we allowed them to cause us a lot of problems."

Rovers have met the Hertfordshire team a total of 86 times since 1921 when the club’s first clashed in the Third Division with both home teams securing maximum points.

In the game at Vicarage Road on 26 February 1921, John Short and Tom Waterall scored for the Hornets with Sid Leigh netting a penalty for the Pirates. The return fixture just one week later saw Rovers gain their revenge with Harold Boxley and an own goal by Watford’s Left Half Fred Wilkinson secured a 2-0 win for the home team.

One game that will stay in the memories for many GasHeads for all the wrong reasons took place at Vicarage Road on 6 May 1967. With Rovers needing a victory on the last day of the season to give themselves any chance of promotion the travelling thousands from the west went wild as Wayne Jones struck to give them an early lead.

However goals by Roy Low, Terry Garbett and Brian Owen ensured that it was the Hornets who were flying high and on their way to Division 2.

Rovers’ record at home to the Hornets is very even with 18 victories to Rovers, 17 to Watford and just 8 draws.

It’s an indication of the superiority of the Home Counties team in the overall fixtures that they have hit 3 or more goals against Rovers 19 times whereas Rovers have only managed that feat 11 times.

A further indication of the Hornets superiority is that they had not been beaten by the Gas in two decades, until the 2011-12 Capital One Cup tie at the Mem.

The game finished 1-1 after extra time. Both the goals in 120 minutes of highly competitive cup-tie action came in the opening five minutes. Marvin Sordell slid in to convert a low cross from Craig Forsyth just two minutes in and three minutes later Matt Harrold equalised with a superbly-struck shot on the turn from 25 yards.

Both sides had chances to win before the shootout which was completed by the coolest of spot-kicks from Rovers' substitute Mustapha Carayol.

There is an interesting link up with Rovers strikers and Watford, with Gas favourites, Peter Beadle, Nathan Ellington, Devon White, Dennis Bailey, Gary Penrice and Will Hoskins having all also represented the Hornets at various times. 

Written by Gerry Prewett.

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