Both South Yorkshire sides, Barnsley and Doncaster Rovers, failed to get anything from their long away trips. Lewis McGugan struck twice as Doncaster put in a good performance in their 2-1 defeat against last year’s Play Off finalists Watford who scored an 87th minute penalty. However, Rovers will be very disillusioned and frustrated with the award of the late penalty which looked dubious. Barnsley lost 1-0 away to Bournemouth which was fully deserved after a good performance from the home side. The Tykes started brightly but unfortunately their bright spell didn’t last and Eddie Howe’s men took full control of the game in the second half. Doncaster Rovers were outdone by a late penalty from Lewis McGugan after young left back James Husband’s rash challenge which looked to be marginally outside of the box in a closely fought game. New signing, Manchester United loanee Federico Macheda started on the bench for Doncaster at a misty Vicarage Road.
Doncaster Rovers started the game brightly with some great link up play between midfield and attack against the Championship’s top goal scorers. Theo Robinson went close early on for Rovers with a smart shot but against the run of play Watford took the lead on the 13th minute as Ex Nottingham Forest Midfielder Lewis McGugan scored with a deflected chip which was just out of the grasp of Doncaster’s goalkeeper Ross Turnbull. The side from South Yorkshire quickly restored the deficit as Chris Brown scored his second league goal of the season. Brown followed up from a goalkeeping error, as Hornets’ goalkeeper Manuel Alumina spilt a long range Theo Robinson shot, allowing Brown to score with an easy finish.
Doncaster had an impressive first half with James Husband and James Coppinger creating two great chances for Rovers, which unfortunately Chris Brown was unable to get something on. The counter attacking threat and high pressure from Doncaster really stopped Watford playing in a lively opening 45 minutes.
After the break, Doncaster started brightly once again with Coppinger firing just over the bar from a fizzing shot from 20 yards out. Macheda replaced David Cotterill early on in the second half; the latter looked uncomfortable on the right, far from his first half display on Saturday against Huddersfield. Watford dominated the majority of the second half with Ross Turnbull pulling off a string of fine saves to keep Rovers in the game. In the 80th minute Rovers had a great chance as Coppinger nicked the ball from Doyley and Macheda pulled his shot wide.
James Husband conceded a controversial penalty late in the game with a rash challenge which looked outside the box. McGugan dispatched the penalty from the spot for his second of the game. Watford slightly edged the game and ran out deserved winners. Doncaster fans can take encouragement from a solid performance against promotion chasing Watford but will be feeling disappointed with the dubious penalty decision costing them at the death.
300 Barnsley fans made the close to 500 mile round to trip to newly promoted Bournemouth. The Cherries started the brighter of the two sides, with Lewis Grabban with the opening effort with Tykes goalkeeper Luke Steele saving his shot comfortably. Barnsley sprung into life in the 23rd minute with two consecutive shots hitting the post, with Chris O’Grady’s strike hitting the post from a tight angle and somehow Stephen Dawson smashed the rebound against the same post. After Tomasz Cywka’s impressive free kick against Nottingham Forest on Saturday he attempted a long range drive that was narrowly tipped over the bar by Bournemouth keeper Ryan Allsop.
The home side finished the first half stronger with Lewis Grabban offering a lot of good movement but lacking in any penetration. Grabban should have scored straight after the break but he failed to find the net when he was one-one against Steele. Bournemouth were applying the majority of the pressure during the second half with debutante Tokelo Rantie coming close after being on the pitch for a matter of seconds. All their pressure paid off when they got what they deserved when Marc Pugh scored a great goal to put Barnsley to the sword and take all three points.
It was a disappointing trip for Barnsley, who would have hoped to achieve at least a point from the game but the Cherries put in a solid second half performance after an even first half to rightly take maximum points.