Rams Lose On The Road
Attendance: 12, 917
A ten minute period cost Derby County dearly at Vicarage Road with in-form Watford scoring three times to ease to victory after a fairly even opening period. The home side had won six in a row before this encounter but had failed to test Stephen Bywater on a regular basis despite enjoying the better of the game in the opening period. But they struck three times in the final ten minutes of the half with Will Buckley stroking home after a mix-up in the Derby defence, Danny Graham volleying home from close range and Marvin Sordell running clear on goal and slotting home after an error from John Brayford. The Rams made more of a fight of things after the break but their final ball let them down on a number of occasions with Scott Loach not having a save to make allowing The Hornets to claim a comfortable victory.
Nigel Clough made one change to the side that was embarrassed at Crawley on Monday night with Alberto Bueno coming in for Ben Pringle and there was a place on the bench for Conor Doyle after returning from international duty. Bueno had the first effort of the match on three minutes when his snap-shot on the turn was wide of the mark and John Brayford had to bravely throw himself in front of Stephen McGinn`s volley at the other end as Watford looked to get in front early on. Don Cowie was next to threaten with a near post effort that was turned away by Stephen Bywater and the game then went through a scrappy period with neither side making headway going forward.
The Rams were looking far more stable at the back after the defeat on Monday but they fell behind on thirty-six minutes when Cowie`s ball from the left somehow found Will Buckley who slid a calm finish past Bywater. Derby looked to get back into the match and Bueno had a shot deflected into the hands of Scott Loach but they found themselves further behind with two minutes to go in the half when Buckley`s cross from the right reached Danny Graham and the former Rams loanee volleyed home from close range. Things got worse for Derby right on the stroke of halftime when John Brayford allowed a long ball to bounce over him and Marvin Sordell ran through on goal to beat the advancing Bywater and virtually assure all three points.
Nigel Clough made a double change at the break with Kris Commons and James Bailey being replaced by Dean Leacock and Stephen Pearson with John Brayford moving to rightback, Paul Green returning to his more familiar midfield role and The Rams reverting to a 4-4-2 formation. After a disastrous end to the first half Clough`s side need to start quickly to get themselves back into the match a some neat build-up play lead to an opening for Green but he curled over from the edge of the box.
Derby were enjoying more possession in the second period with Watford happy to sit back with their three goal lead but despite knocking the ball around more effectively The Rams` were unable to carve out any chances with the final pass letting them down far to often. Watford`s first effort of the half came with twenty minutes to go when McGinn lashed an effort at goal from just outside of the area but his shot was wide of the mark. The closing stages didn`t get any better with neither side able to create any chances of note until Brayford made progress down the right but his cut-back was behind Chris Porter and with it went the final opening of the match and Watford claimed a comfortable three points.
Watford: Loach, Taylor, Mariappa, Cowie (Deeney 46), Graham, Buckley (Whichelow 61) , Doyley, Jenkins, McGinn, Bennett, Sordell (Mingoia 81)
Subs: Gilmartin, Hodson, Walker, Massey
Derby County: Bywater, Green, Roberts, Barker, Brayford, Addison, Savage, Bailey (Leacock 46), Commons (Pearson 46), Bueno (Davies 84), Porter
Subs: Deeney, Buxton, Pringle, Doyle