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BBC Sport's Simon Mann
"Blackburn dominated the second half"
 real 14k

Tuesday, 20 February, 2001, 22:29 GMT
Watford 0-1 Blackburn
Marcus Bent
Marcus Bent on the right got Blackburn's winner
Blackburn gained three vital points in their promotion bid at the expense of rivals Watford with referee Rob Styles playing a major part in their success.

Styles sent off Watford's Robert Page after 39 minutes, controversially deeming that he had denied Marcus Bent a goalscoring opportunity.

But there could be no complaint from Watford when the referee reduced the home side to nine men after 39 minutes.

This time he sent off Heidar Helguson for a second bookable offence - a fierce, late tackle on John Curtis.

Blackburn made heavy weather of their advantage for, although Espen Baardsen pulled off two fine saves in the Watford goal to deny Matt Jansen, the visitors were well adrift in their shots at goal.

The solitary exception was in the 72nd minute when substitute Eyal Berkovic broke down the right and crossed low for Bent to clip into the net from eight yards.

Watford had few second-half opportunities but had looked to be getting on top before the sendings off.

Blackburn had opened the brighter of the two sides with Jansen heading wide in the second minute and then clipping the post with a shot.

Watford then came on strongly with leading scorer Tommy Mooney heading just wide and then having a shot brilliantly parried by Brad Friedel, who also made a great reaction save to deny Allen Nielsen.

Watford: Baardsen, Cox, Robinson, Page, Palmer, Nielsen, Vernazza, Helguson, Ward, Mooney, Smith. Subs: Chamberlain, Kennedy, Hyde, Wooter, Gibbs.

Blackburn: Friedel, Curtis, Short, Flitcroft, Dunn, Duff, Jansen, Bent, Gillespie, Berg, Mahon. Subs: Filan, Hughes, Hignett, Berkovic, Taylor.

Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville)

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