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Vicarage Road Stadium (ATT 15,636) 8th August 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: N Swarbrick

Watford Watford vs Doncaster Rovers Doncaster

Watford 1

D Graham (27)


Doncaster 1

J Hayter (38)

Hornets held by Rovers

Vicarage new-boys denied ideal start by Hayter

Last Updated: 08/08/09 5:51pm

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Graham: Denied dream start

Graham: Denied dream start

Watford's ideas of a dream opener were quickly quashed as they drew 1-1 at home to Doncaster.

Malky Mackay and Danny Graham were denied the perfect starts to life at Vicarage Road after striker James Hayter headed home before the break to deny the Hornets an opening day victory.

Mackay handed debuts to midfielder Scott Severin and striker Graham but was without Tamas Priskin after the striker joined Championship rivals Ipswich on Friday.

Rovers manager Sean O'Driscoll opted against starting any of his summer signings as Rovers looked to build on last season's impressive campaign.

Both sides struggled to carve out early chances, with Hornets shot-stopper Scott Loach showing good command of his area to break down the visitors' attacks.

Watford had to wait until the 27th minute for their first chance but they made it count when Graham latched on to a wayward shot from Tommy Smith to nudge the home side ahead from close range.

Don Cowie then attempted to double the Hornets' advantage as he curled a free-kick just over the bar from 25-yards.


But the visitors restored parity eight minutes before the break, Brian Stock providing the cross for frontman Hayter to send a looping header over the stranded Loach from the edge of the area.

John Spicer then looked to complete the turnaround before the break as he fired an ambitious effort wide from long range.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first with neither side able to really threaten their opponents' goal. Rovers veteran stalwart Neil Sullivan was barely troubled by a strike from Adrian Mariappa.

An inswinging corner from Martin Woods then presented Dean Shiels with a great chance to put the visitors ahead but the striker was unable to beat Loach from close range.

Midfielder Ross Jenkins had the chance to restore the hosts' lead just after the hour mark but he struck wide from the edge of the area.

Smith was next to try his luck for the hosts but Sullivan once again looked assured as he saved well.

The midfielder had another fine chance with 20 minutes remaining but he sent his header wide from 12 yards out.

With the Hornets looking the more likely to steal a winner, O'Driscoll brought midfielder John Oster off the bench for his debut.

However, neither side managed to break the deadlock late on, with Severin and Smith both failing to find the net with late chances, leaving O'Driscoll to go home the happier of the two bosses.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23