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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 Derby County 13 26
2 Watford 13 25
3 Middlesbrough 13 23
4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 13 23
5 Norwich City 13 22
6 Nottingham Forest 13 22
7 Charlton Athletic 13 22
8 Bournemouth 13 21
9 Ipswich Town 13 20
10 Cardiff City 13 19
11 Blackburn Rovers 13 19
12 Brentford 13 19
13 Sheffield Wednesday 13 18
14 Rotherham United 13 16
15 Leeds United 13 16
16 Huddersfield Town 13 16
17 Reading 13 15
18 Millwall 13 14
19 Wigan Athletic 13 12
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 13 12
21 Birmingham City 13 11
22 Fulham 13 11
23 Bolton Wanderers 13 8
24 Blackpool 13 6