BLACKBURN Rovers’ relegation battle is far from over after a second-half collapse at Watford this afternoon.

Rovers looked on course for a point after a goalless opening period at Vicarage Road but Troy Deeney struck twice at the start of the second half before Almen Abdi and Matthew Briggs sealed victory for the promotion-chasing hosts.

Leon Best was then sent off for an off-the-ball incident in injury time.

Defeat left Rovers 20th in the Championship table, two points above the relegation zone ahead of Tuesday’s game in hand at Millwall.

David Dunn fired an effort wide early on in the game, before Greg Sandomierski saved from Fernando Forestieri at the other end.

Scott Dann lashed an indirect free kick over the bar after Watford had been penalised for a backpass, but Sandomierski was required to make a fine stop to keep out a header from Troy Deeney.

Forestieri then curled narrowly wide as the home side had the better of the closing stages of the half.

But Watford were ahead in the 52nd minute as Forestieri found Deeney on the edge of the box and the striker created a yard of space from Gael Givet before firing into the bottom corner.

Nine minutes later, after Jordan Rhodes had put a header over for Rovers, the same combination did the damage once more.

Deeney latched on to Forestieri’s pass and moved clear of Dann before poking past Sandomierski.

A third goal followed in the 67th minute when another Forestieri pass found Abdi, who turned David Jones and lashed his shot into the roof of the net.

Sandomierski then had to tip over Ikechi Anya’s volley before it was 4-0 with 15 minutes left, as substitute Matthew Briggs turned in from eight yards after Rovers had failed to clear a corner.

And things were to get worse in injury time when Best was given his marching orders after an off-the-ball incident with Marco Cassetti, who was booked.

Watford: Manuel Almunia, Lloyd Doyley, Joel Ekstrand (Matthew Briggs 70), Marco Cassetti, Daniel Pudil, Ikechi Anya (Sean Murray 83), Almen Abdi, Nathaniel Chalobah, Jonathan Hogg; Troy Deeney, Fernando Forestieri (Matej Vydra 76). Subs not used: Jonathan Bond, Mark Yeates, Alex Geijo, Cristian Battocchio.

Rovers: Greg Sandomierski; Todd Kane, Scott Dann, Gael Givet (Karim Rekik 61), Markus Olsson; Lee Williamson, David Jones; Leon Best, David Dunn, Josh King (Nuno Gomes 71); Jordan Rhodes (Josh Morris 82). Subs not used: Seb Usai, Bradley Orr, Morten Gamst Pedersen, David Goodwillie.

Referee: Nigel Miller.

Attendance: 13,775 (Rovers 733).