ZOLA PRE­DICTS ‘CRAZY’ FIN­ISH

WATFORD ........4 BLACK­BURN ....0

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Adam Free­man

IT MAY end up be­ing too lit­tle, too late but Watford were back to their flam­boy­ant and em­phatic best against des­per­ate Black­burn.

Just five points from a pos­si­ble 21 in the seven matches prior to yes­ter­day’s game, meant the Hor­nets’ au­to­matic pro­mo­tion hopes now largely lay in the hands of Hull City, who are four points ahead of Gian­franco Zola’s side with two games re­main­ing.

Watford’s pro­mo­tion chal­lenge has been built on their fire­power go­ing for­ward; they have scored 82 goals al­ready this sea­son – 13 more than any other team in the di­vi­sion.

But it looked like an­other frus­trat­ing af­ter­noon for Watford at half-time against Rovers, with the score goal­less. But the multi-na­tional Hor­nets, led by English pow­er­house Troy Deeney and Ar­gen­tine for­ward Fer­nando Forestieri, ripped apart a Black­burn side whose sur­vival hopes had been boosted by back-to-back vic­to­ries in the pre­vi­ous week.

And Zola said: “No doubt about it, we are go­ing for it (au­to­matic pro­mo­tion). I am really hop­ing for some help from this crazy Cham­pi­onship – I think I will sleep for 15 days af­ter this sea­son.

“It really is a crazy Cham­pi­onship and it looks like it will go down to the end; I am ex­pect­ing plenty of change.”

Black­burn have not won on the road this cal­en­dar year and you could see why in the first half as they mus­tered just two way­ward strikes from David Dunn and Scott Dann.

A sec­ond-half Jor­don Rhodes header was their only clear-cut op­por­tu­nity dur­ing the whole 90 min­utes.

Forestieri was lively from the first minute to the last and while he may not have scored, he ar­guably had the great­est im­pact on the match, cre­at­ing hree goals.

The opener came seven min­utes af­ter the restart as Deeney’s low drive nes­tled in the bot­tom cor­ner from 20 yards and it was also Forestieri’s ex­quis­ite through­ball which cre­ated the sec­ond, as the same player fin­ished.

An­other in­ci­sive pass from the Ar­gen­tine found Al­men Abdi in the area and he cre­ated room be­fore fir­ing past Grze­gorz San­domier­ski and the win was rounded off by Matthew Briggs fol­low­ing a goal-mouth scram­ble.

Zola added “This re­sult has been coming. The per­for­mances re­cently have been bet­ter than re­sults sug­gest.

“I am de­lighted this per­for­mance came in the right moment with us play­ing the right way. What can I say, ev­ery­thing went per­fect.” Black­burn’s mis­er­able af­ter­noon was rounded off in in­jury-time when Leon Best was sent off for an al­leged head-butt on Marco Cas­setti, who Rovers care­taker boss Gary Bowyer be­lieves kicked out at the striker be­fore­hand.

Rovers are two points above the rel­e­ga­tion zone with a game in hand on their ri­vals.

And Bowyer said: “I think we did well in the first half and the first goal is al­ways im­por­tant.To be fair, their lad has taken his goal very well and then the game changes.

“We need to re­group quickly and re­main pos­i­tive. It is of course frus­trat­ing. No one likes to lose let alone los­ing by four goals.

“The pos­i­tives are that the play­ers are now in the dress­ing room ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed and they want to make up for it on Tues­day night against Mill­wall.

“We want to stay strong and stay pos­i­tive. We have known for a while that we would have a game in hand, so we want a win on Tues­day.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

EYES WIDE SHUT: Black­burn’s Lee Wil­liamson and Watford’s Daniel Pudil chal­lenge in the air

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