Rovers found Ben Foster in fine form in the Watford goal, and were made to pay for defensive lapses, as they fell to a second successive Championship defeat.

What Tony Mowbray won’t want to become a habit is playing well and without reward, this the second away fixture this season, taking in the Carabao Cup defeat at Newcastle United, in which they have dominated but not come away with what they deserved.

The reason for this was owing to one moment of quality from the hosts, and two lapses at the back which proved costly, while going forward Foster was in fine form to keep them at bay.

Foster saved a second half Adam Armstrong spot-kick, and twice denied Darragh Lenihan who put through his own net early in the second half.

Joao Pedro and Tom Cleverley had earlier scored twice in four minutes which gave Rovers everything to do, their lifeline coming courtesy of a fine Ben Brereton strike.

There was plenty of eye-catching play, with Harvey Elliott impressing on his debut, but there was no reward on the road.

Lewis Holtby, back in the side as one of changes, was conducting these with his feet, and voice, urging patience in the opening stages as Rovers dominated the ball.

For the visitors they had dangerman Ismaila Sarr back in the side, and he looed a threat from the off.

He was at the heart of the hosts’ best moments, including two goals inside the opening quarter that Rovers had dominated.

Their threat, much like Rovers’, came down their right side and it was from there that Sarr linked up with Kiko Femenia whose cross was swept home first time by Joao Pedro in the 13th minute.

The second goal, four minutes later, was more avoidable from a Rovers point of view. A ball down their inside left channel had a combination of Amari’i Bell, Daniel Ayala and Thomas Kaminski caught out, with Sarr’s shot only palmed up in the air by the Belgian, with Tom Cleverley on hand to head into the empty net.

That undid all of Rovers’ good early work, with Ben Foster needing to show all of his concentration to keep out a swerving Adam Armstrong strike.

He would have had a clean run on goal were it not for a contentious moment at the midway point of the half. From a Brereton through-ball the striker had the beating for pace of Christian Kabasele who hauled him down some 30 yards from goal, that likely to be the one reason that referee Andy Woolmer pulled out a yellow card, rather than the red Rovers were baying for.

It would prove to be a big minute, with Foster making a stunning one-handed stop to keep out Darragh Lenihan’s header from the resulting free kick, though unmarked from 12 yards, the Rovers captain will have been disappointed to have given him any chance.

Foster then tipped over an Ayala header, but there was nothing he could do to deny Brereton in the 28th minute. Coming onto a loose ball he took it down on his chest before volleying first time, his effort dipping infront of Foster who couldn’t keep it out.

It was no less than they deserved from some neat approach play, particularly down their right where Ryan Nyambe was galloping ahead of Harvey Elliott who was putting in an assured debut.

That one-goal deficit almost proved to be shortlived however, with Sarr again bursting clear down the right after Rovers were caught static at the back. He rolled the ball along the six-yard box but on the stretch, Pedro couldn’t turn home.

That was a let off for Rovers, but they didn’t make Watford pay moments before the break, Armstrong blazing over when having a clear sight of goal from 10 yards after Corry Evans’ shot was blocked.

Rovers emerged for the second half three minutes early than the hosts, keen to get back on the front foot. But it was the hosts who restored their two-goal lead within the same frametime of the game getting back under way.

A loose ball in midfield allowed Ken Sema to come forward down the left and his dangerous delivery was turned into his own net by Lenihan.

The pattern of the game was certainly one where Watford were happy to play without the ball, with Rovers being the aggressors, but finding Foster an immovable object.

For the second time in the match he was at full stretch to deny Lenihan, the Rovers captain looking to make amends for h is own goal with a volley from a set play which the keeper palmed away.

Elliott then sent Armstrong away with a lovely reverse pass, and although Foster was caught off his line, his managed to get a fingertip to Armstrong’s attempted chip to send it over the bar.

The duo would face up again with 22 minutes to play, as the referee pointed to the spot after Holtby was pushed over in the box after collecting an Armstrong pass. The striker, with two penalties already converted this season, went to Foster’s left, but the ‘keeper got two good hands to it to palm it away.

Tom Trybull was Rovers’ second substitute, the first a result of an injury as Daniel Ayala limped off to be replaced by Scott Wharton.

Sarr continued to be Watford’s sole threat in an attacking sense, and should have had a goal for himself as James Garner broke forward before unselfishly squaring the ball for him, Lenihan getting back with a fine block to keep the score at three.

Watford were happy to sit in and defend what they had, the rising foul count a frustration for Rovers, who now have seven points from their opening six matches.