Mark Whittle hands out his ratings from Rovers’ defeat to Watford…
Thomas Kaminski 6
A mixed evening for the usually reliable stopper. He was at fault for the opening goal as he hesitated whether to come or stay on his line that led to Joao Pedro opening the scoring. He was not helped by the inexperienced centre-backs in front of him. Made a couple of smart saves from Sarr in the first half and Sema at his near post early in the second half.
Ryan Nyambe 6
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A couple of decent runs from Nyambe who tried to get forward and try to create, notably a good run and pull back for Armstrong when at 0-0 in the early stages of the first half. Not a good night defensively for the Rovers defence as a whole though.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis 4
A night to forget for both the young centre-backs. Really struggled with the pace and physicality against Watford’s front three. Completely missed kicked his clearance which eventually led to Sarr putting Watford 2-0 up. Went missing for the third goal as the Rovers defence was completely cut open. Wasteful in possession at times when going direct.
Jarrad Branthwaite 4
As Harwood-Bellis, a night that the Everton loanee will not care to remember. Seemed to really miss having the experience of Lenihan alongside him. The Watford front three gave the two centre-halves a torrid time all evening. Defence cut open for the third goal which ultimately finished the game off. Careless in possession like his partner.
Barry Douglas 6
Recent performances have been better. Defended okay but none of the Rovers defence can take any credit from the match. Got forward on a few occasions and put a couple of decent balls into the box.
Lewis Travis 5
Poor evening for Travis. He just could not get a hold in the game and made many careless passes. Was caught in possession in the middle of the park on various occasions, with Watford looking to capitalise on the break and dangerous when they attacked. As poor as the defence were, the midfield never gave enough protection.
Corry Evans 5
First start for Rovers since October and it probably showed, especially in the first half as was seeminglyanonymous. Struggled to get into the match, allowing Will Hughes to dominate the midfield and pull the strings. He did get better in the second half and started seeing more of the ball when Downing came on.
Bradley Dack 4
It is just not happening for Dack since his return to the side. He looks a shadow of his former self. Many bad touches and caught out of possession far too easily and just seem to look lost. Frustrating time for Dack – hopefully, he can regain some form as soon as possible.
Harvey Elliott 7
One of few players who looked like he could create anything. Scored an excellent goal just before half-time to get Rovers back in the game. Wanted the ball and put in a shift for the team, working hard closing the Watford defenders. Showing confidence even when behind, not afraid to try and make something happen.
Joe Rothwell 7 (MAN OF THE MATCH)
Rovers’ best player of the night. If Rovers were to create anything it was going to come from Rothwell or Elliott. Showed plenty of nice touches and ran at the Watford defence at every opportunity. He must take lots of credit for getting Rovers back in the match as it was down to his perseverance winning the ball back, never giving up, that eventually set-up up Elliott’s goal. Thought he was unlucky to be substituted.
Adam Armstrong 6
Was feeding off scraps for much of the match again. However, he never gave up the cause and kept running at the Watford defence when in possession, hoping to make something happen. He did force Bachmann into a decent save midway through the second half.
Stewart Downing (replacing Lewis Travis, 56 mins) 6
As always with Downing, comfortable in possession as the midfield lacked enough quality to keep a foot on the ball. A brilliant set piece corner got Brereton a goal which gave Rovers a fighting chance in the final few minutes.
Ben Brereton (replacing Joe Rothwell, 69 mins) 7
Got a goal at the far post from Downing’s corner, giving Rovers a fighting chance. Used his pace and strength when he came on and had a right go, giving the Watford right back something to think about in the final 20 minutes.
Tyrhys Dolan (replacing Bradley Dack, 69 mins)
Worked tirelessly when he came on. Linked up well with Elliott as he tried to inject some energy and pace, hoping to make something happen.