Rovers and Hornets share spoils

A new-look Doncaster side failed to fire against an equally impotent Watford attack as the two Championship strugglers played out a 0-0 draw.

Last Updated: 26/11/11 at 18:15

Sharp (right): Nodded wide for Rovers

Sharp (right): Nodded wide for Rovers

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With few shots registered on target by either side on Saturday, both factions can take some heart from keeping rare clean sheets.

In the hosts' case, the shut-out was only a second in their league campaign thus far.

Dean Saunders' tenure at the Keepmoat Stadium has generated headlines for its unique recruitment policy as opposed to its on-field results.

Rovers have recruited Herita Ilunga, Herold Goulon, Marc-Antoine Fortune, Habib Beye and Carl Ikeme on loan deals, and former Liverpool striker El-Hadji Diouf and ex-Tottenham full-back Pascal Chimbonda on short-term contracts, in their bid to escape the relegation zone.

Watford, having failed to score on eight occasions this season, might have hoped to reignite their scoring form at the side with the worst goal difference in the division.

All the new faces bar Chimbonda were named in the home line-up as Saunders searched for only a second win in eight league games.

But despite the host of new faces on display, it was Rovers stalwart and top scorer Billy Sharp who went closest to drawing first blood.

Diouf screamed into space behind Nyron Nosworthy and lofted the ball onto Sharp's head, but the former Scunthorpe frontman could only nod wide.

The Hornets responded as Marvin Sordell blasted left-footed at Ikeme, who smothered the strike.

A period of attrition followed before Mark Yeates, a summer signing from Sheffield United, threatened an identical strike but Ikeme got across to cover.

Ilunga might have done better in the 25th minute when he arrived in space to clip the ball towards the bottom corner of the net.

Scott Loach in the visiting goal had his palms stung but defused the danger.

Michael Kightly, on loan at Vicarage Road from Wolves, produced a dipping drive that brushed the right-hand upright and went wide.

With 37 minutes played, Watford suffered a blow to their dominance as Sordell was forced out of action through injury, Craig Beattie his replacement.

But the visitors would have the best opportunity to end the first half in the ascendancy, as Chris Iwelumo skied an easy effort over Ikeme's crossbar.

Sharp came out fighting after the break, arriving the penalty area to screw wide of the target.

Giles Barnes entered the fray as Diouf became the second casualty of the afternoon on the hour mark.

Kightly's long-range shooting ability came to the fore again when he conjured up a near replica of his first-half effort, this time the ball sailing over the crossbar.

Saunders then introduced pacy winger Kyle Bennett, signed from Bury in the summer, to add width to his ailing side.

His impact was almost immediate as he went agonisingly close with a fearsome drive in the 75th minute.

Both sides threw bodies forward as full-time approached but a stalemate was the final compromise.

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