It's all over
Attendance: 16, 131
The scoreline didn`t quite reflect the match but a makeshift backline gave away some sloppy goals as The Rams fell to defeat in the final came of a roller coaster season. Former Derby striker Gregorz Rasiak grabbed two goals and the game was virtually over by halftime as Watford found themselves three goals to the good. An open second half saw chances at both ends but Derby could only found one goal through John Eustace against his parent club and the season ended with defeat but, with safety secured, Nigel Clough can now look to build for next season.
Rob Hulse was a surprise inclusion at the centre of The Rams` defence with Stephen Pearson lining up at left back and Luke Varney started alongside Kris Commons as Nigel Clough was forced into changes. Youngsters Mark Dudley, Mark O`Brien and Jason Beardsley were included on the bench but former Watford men Nathan Ellington and Jordan Stewart didn`t make the squad. An early corner for the visitors was won by Luke Varney`s persistence but the set piece was easily gathered by Scott Loach in the Watford goal. Barry Bannan then curled in a left foot effort but this was deflected wide in a bright start.
Gary Teale found Barry Bannan again with a cross field ball and the youngster created room to curl in a shot that clipped the top of the bar with Loach well beaten. Stephen Bywater made his first save of the match to deny Tomas Priskin`s low drive by the home side took the lead somewhat against the run of play with fourteen minutes on the clock. A long ball forward was headed on by Rasiak and a touch from Priskin saw the ball break to the unmarked Jobi McAnuff to power home from ten yards.
Luke Varney was helping prompt The Rams best moments going forward and he was involved again when he laid off to Gary Teale who cut inside but his side foot effort drifted the wrong side of the post. Despite their territorial advantage Derby found themselves two goals down with another scrappy effort from Gregorz Rasiak. Priskin headed a Danny Rose freekick against the bar and Jobi McAnuff`s acrobatic effort was blocked on the line but Rasiak was on hand to tap home and double the lead.
A header from Luke Varney was gathered by Loach but his side found themselves three behind with forty minutes on the clock as Tommy Smith ran down the right before cutting into the area and laying back to Rasiak who fired home for his second of the match against his former side. Luke Varney was inches away from a Commons cross and Danny Rose had shouts for a penalty in the last action of the first half but a promising looking display was undermined by sloppy goals in a familiar story for the visitors.
Luke Varney went down under a challenge in the area but the appeals were turned away and only a sharp save from Bywater denied Priskin from making it four. The action then swung back to the other end with Kris Commons forcing a save from Loach just after the hour mark as the game opened up after the break.
Tito Villa came on for Luke Varney and Mark O`Brien replaced Lewin Nyatanga with a little under half an hour to go and Jobi McAnuff fired in a freekick that Bywater grabbed at the second attempt. Paul Connolly and Tito Villa combined well down the right and the Argentinean`s cutback found Commons but Loach produced another good save to deny him.
The keeper then held a John Eustace header as Derby could not find a way back into the match and Commons was again denied when his low header was again gathered by Loach. Tommy Smith had a chance when the ball found him with space in the area but he blazed his effort over the top.
Commons was having a good spell and he had another effort from outside the box but his shot didn`t dip enough although if it had Loach was beaten. Bywater made another save from Rasiak and McAnuff nearly settled it when Derby were caught going forward but his shot was deflected against the post.
The Rams finally got the break through their efforts deserved with nine minutes to go when a corner was taken quickly to Gary Teale and his cross picked out John Eustace who powered a header past Loach. Mark Dudey came off the bench for Stephen Pearson with five to go for his full debut after a successful loan spell at Tamworth and his first action was to block well from a Cauna effort.
O`Brien cleared an effort off the line as Priskin latched onto a poor back pass and lifted the ball over Bywater and the Derby keeper denied Cauna with virtually the last kick of the match as Watford applied some late pressure but they had the game won in the first half as The Rams season ended in familiar fashion.