Round-up: Dobbie at the double to prick Watford's bubble

 

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The Independent Online

Stephen Dobbie scored both goals in a 2-0 victory that cemented Blackpool's place in the Championship play-off spots and halted Watford's recent surge up the table. The Scottish striker has scored four goals in two starts since rejoining Blackpool on loan from Swansea City.

There seemed little danger when Dobbie picked up the ball midway through the first half at Vicarage Road, but he opened the scoring with a superb jinking run into the penalty area and a neat finish. After the interval Watford winger Mark Yeates attempted to replicate Dobbie's brilliant effort when he side-stepped a couple of challenges in the Seasiders' penalty area but his run was blocked by Ian Evatt. Thomas Ince had a chance to double the advantage for Ian Holloway's side but was off-target with his volley.

Dobbie, who also scored twice in last week's 3-0 win over Southampton, sealed Blackpool's victory from the spot after Ince was brought down by the Watford keeper Tomasz Kuszczak. The defeat brought an end Watford's seven-match unbeaten run, which had raised hopes of gatecrashing the play-offs.

Charlie Austin's 16th goal of the season gave Burnley a first home win since Valentine's Day and dealt a blow to Brighton's play-off hopes.

Eddie Howe's side displayed the kind of form that marked them out as top-six contenders at the turn of the year as they had the better of an entertainingly open first half. The decisive moment came after 27 minutes when Austin converted Josh McQuoid's cross at the second attempt.

The Seagulls were reduced to nine men in a bad-tempered defeat by the Clarets in December and tensions again came close to spilling over in the closing stages yesterday as Howe's men secured a victory that moves them up to 13th place in the table.

Gus Poyet's Brighton team have taken only two points from their last three outings, a slump that will see them replaced in the play-off spots by either Middlesbrough or Cardiff, who meet at the Riverside Stadium today.

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