Rovers drew for a third successive Championship match in an entertaining game against Watford.

Bradley Dack’s first half goal, his 50th in the league for Rovers, was cancelled out by Wesley Hoedt 16 minutes from time.

Rovers had to battle hard in the second half when they came under real pressure, but were good value for a point in a game where they weren’t without chances.

Hayden Carter was excellent in defence, while captain Lewis Travis was back to his best, in a game full of incident and talking points.

Rovers made two changes to their side from the 0-0 draw with Wigan Athletic as Tyler Morton and Tyrhys Dolan were recalled in place of John Buckley and Jack Vale, the latter losing his place in the matchday squad as Callum Brittain returned.

Dolan led the line, with Sorba Thomas continuing on the right flank on his second start.

Thomas was first to fire goalwards, his third minute strike always rising as Watford ‘keeper Daniel Bachmann watched it over the bar.

On the opposite flank, Ben Brereton dropped deep out of possession, playing almost as a left wing-back.

He was caught out by a flighted ball down the channel that allowed Mario Gaspar to advance forward from right back, but his shot was never troubling Aynsley Pears.

It was developing into an even start as both sides also traded efforts from set plays.

In the 16th minute, Scott Wharton looked to be impeded when trying to clear a right wing corner, but as no whistle came, Henrique Araujo wasted what became a decent opening as he headed wide.

Then at the midway point of the half, Wharton was in the action at the other end as he got his head to a Morton delivery, but placed it too close to Bachmann who saved comfortably.

Rovers then found themselves ahead in the 24th minute, with Bradley Dack providing the finishing touch, turning in from close range. What came before was a neat move involving Thomas and Joe Rankin-Costello, forward from right back, who worked a shooting chance on his left foot, with Bachmann getting down low to his left to save.

Dack showed his predatory instincts though, on hand to turn in the rebound with the composure expected of a player who moved to a half century of league goals for the club.

Frustration was starting to grow in the home stands, both towards their side and referee Jeremy Simpson.

Thomas was shown a yellow card for a challenge on Hassane Kamara, soon followed into the book by Hamza Choudhury as he stopped the right back in his tracks with a cynical foul.

Rankin-Costello almost played his side into trouble just after the half hour mark, robbed of the ball close to his own box, allowing Joao Pedro the chance to get a strike away, but fortunately for Rovers he dragged it wide of the target.

That was a real let-off, while Pears was equally grateful that Ismaila Sarr was off balance as his shot from Araujo’s pull-back proved easy to save.

Rovers had played some neat stuff, but often let down with their final pass, but plenty of encouraging signs that they could get at the Watford backline.

Watford made a change at the break, sending on striker Keinan Davis, a player who caused Rovers no end of problems when at Nottingham Forest last season.

It was a fast start to the second half from the hosts, and Sarr in particular. He raced beyond challenges of Morton and Hayden Carter to show his threat, while a well-hit strike from the winger in the 50th minute required two attempts from Pears to save.

The home fans were then left stunned as to how they hadn’t equalised 10 minutes after the restart. It was a first mistake from Pears who didn’t get anything on a left wing cross that made it all the way to the unmarked Ismael Kone. Yet from just two yards out,  he couldn’t provide the finish.

Pears showed better handling from a Kamara long-ranger as Rovers made it to the hour mark with their lead still intact.

Rankin-Costello was booked for taking too long over a throw before Tomasson turned to his bench for the first time.

Sam Gallagher replaced Thomas, with Dolan moving to the right wing, while it was a straight swap in central midfield as John Buckley came on for Morton.

There was a period of respite for Rovers at the midway point of the half, with Travis winning a free kick from which they thought they had a second goal. Buckley’s delivery was nodded across goal by Wharton for Dack to turn in, but the flag had been raised as the defender moved too soon.

Rovers held out until 16 minutes from time when their resistance was broken. Ken Sema’s free kick was cleared only as far as Wesley Hoedt, the defender’s volley taking a slight deflection on the way through Pears.

Tomasson wanted to respond with a double change, but before he could that, Watford almost snatched the lead. Substitute Sema got a shot away which Pears saved, with Sarr putting the rebound over the bar.

Rovers did eventually make that switch as Ryan Hedges and Sam Szmodics replaced Dack and Brereton.

There had been precious little offered by Rovers, though eight minutes from time they did test Bachmann. Gallagher teed up Travis, whose deflected shot was held low down by the Watford ‘keeper.

Five minutes were indicated, and stoppage time started with a decent opening for Rovers as Szmodics got into the box courtesy of a nutmeg, but tried to square for Gallagher than go alone, and his square ball was cut out.

Watford: Bachmann, Gaspar, Choudhury (Cleverley, 71), Joao Pedro (Louza, 79), Kone (Assombalonga 79), Kamara, Porteous, Araujo (Davis, 46), Sarr, Martins (Sema, 60), Hoedt

Subs: Hamer, Kabasele

Rovers: Pears, Rankin-Costello (Brittain, 85), Carter, S Wharton, Pickering, Travis, Morton (Buckley, 60), Thomas (Gallagher, 60), Dack (Szmodics, 76), Brereton (Hedges, 76), Dolan

Subs: Hilton, Phillips