Rotherham United

0

Watford

1

Yáser Asprilla produced a second special strike in the space of five days to help Watford return to winning ways with a 1-0 victory away at Rotherham United.

The Colombian's first-time effort from outside the box provided the bit of quality lacking for large parts of the game, and proved enough for Watford to record a first win in eight matches.

A resolute Hornets defence deserved their clean sheet, only the second in 20 games, with the win moving the side up to 11th, seven points off the play-offs.

Valérien Ismaël opted for four changes from the defeat at Norwich, with Edo Kayembe fit enough to make his first start since New Year’s Day, whilst Ismaël Koné made his 50th appearance for the Hornets.

The first chances of the afternoon after a scrappy opening fell to the hosts, with Hakeem Odoffin only able to place Peter Kioso’s pull-back over the bar, before Andy Rinomhota’s volley sailed wide.

The Hornets grew into the game, with a smart ball from Kayembe releasing Ken Sema down the left, only for a crunching tackle preventing the shot. Watford then registered their first effort of the afternoon when Francisco Sierralta floated a header wide.

Asprilla looked to take matters into his own hands, almost catching Viktor Johansson off his line directly from a corner, before producing a dazzling run from deep within his own half that was eventually cut out by some strong Millers defending.

This seemed to be the theme of the half, with both sides failing to capitalise on their ventures forward. Ben Hamer easily claimed Peter Kioso’s header from a free-kick, whilst Mileta Rajović couldn’t get on the end of Wesley Hoedt’s low ball into the box.

The Golden Boys ended the first half on top, with a lovely ball from Koné finding Rajović through the middle, but the chance went begging when Asprilla failed to complete a one-two with the Dane, whilst Tom Dele-Bashiru fired over from the edge of the box on the stroke of the interval.

The second half continued in a similar vein to the first, with the game crying out for a little bit of magic to get things going. Asprilla almost provided it with an excellent through ball towards Tom Ince, only for a last-ditch clearance preventing the subsitute taking aim at goal.

However, it wouldn't take long for the Colombian to provide some wizardry once again to fire the Hornets ahead. The resulting corner saw Giorgi Chakvetadze's volley following a corner deflected into the path of Asprilla, who fired a powerful effort through a wave of bodies in the 18-yard box into the top-left corner, leaving Johansson with no chance.

The Millers looked to bounce back after going behind, but Sebastian Revan could only fire wide from outside the area. The Hornets looked to break immediately, with Ince progressing forward, delivering a cross that deflected high to Rajović, but his header from the edge of the area sailed over.

Rotherham kept pushing, with Jordan Hugill firing an effort wide, before Sean Morrison failed to trouble Hamer with a free header. As full-time grew closer, some pinball in the box saw Rinomhota have an effort deflected behind, with Odoffin's header from the resulting corner ending on top of the net.

The defender then went close again from a Morrison long-throw, but his header ended up in the same place as before. The Millers were unable to create the chance they needed to draw things level, with Watford holding out for a much-needed win on the road.

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