Date:Saturday March 10 2012
Attendance: 23, 130
Another slow start cost Derby County dearly as they went down 2-1 to Watford at Pride Park on a disappointing afternoon. Fulham loanee Alex Kacaniklic escaped down the left before pulling back for Sean Murray to open the scoring and then Troy Deeney`s deflected effort beat Frank Fielding to put the visitors two goals ahead inside the opening fifteen minutes. Ben Davies` freekick appeared to go straight in despite Steve Davies claiming a touch to put The Rams back in the match and Tomasz Kuszczak produced two fine saves in the closing stages of the match to deny Craig Bryson and substitute James Bailey as Nigel Clough`s side couldn`t quite find enough to come from behind for a third match in a row.
Gareth Roberts missed out and was replaced by Jake Buxton with Jason Shackell moving to leftback in the only change from Tuesday`s victory over Blackpool. Derby again started slowly and found themselves a goal behind eight minutes into the match, Alex Kacaniklic escaped down the left before cutting in and his pullback found Sean Murray who had the simplest of chances to slot home from close range. It didn`t get any better for The Rams and they fell two behind on fifteen minutes when Shaun Barker misjudged a high ball and Kacaniklic escaped before eventually teeing up Troy Deeney whose shot from just outside the area took a massive deflection before beating Frank Fielding and finding the top corner.
Derby fought their way back into the match and pulled a goal back just after the half-hour mark when Ben Davies swung in a freekick from the left which appeared to avoid everyone and find the far corner of the net although Steve Davies looked to be claiming a touch. The former Tranmere striker had a freekick well held by Tomasz Kuszczak in the closing minutes of the half in the only other chance of note before the break but Derby had given themselves a chance with the goal going into the second period.
Nathan Tyson replaced Tom Carroll at the break with Craig Bryson moving into the middle of the park and Tyson lining up down the left as Nigel Clough looked to change things around for his side. Shaun Barker had a header held by Kuszczak in the early exchanges and Tyson made room down the left before his low cross was deflected over the top as Theo Robinson closed on the ball.
Despite dominating possession the chances weren`t coming for Derby and Callum Ball was also introduced from the bench in place of Ben Davies with just under fifteen minutes to go. The young striker did well to win the ball on the edge of the area but he blazed over the top and Bryson had two opportunities to level the scores shortly afterwards. Firstly he hit a firm volley from the edge of the area that was well saved by Kuszczak after a corner was only half cleared and the midfielder then fired over the top when well placed inside the area after some neat build-up play between Davies and Robinson. Substitute James Bailey brought another fine save out of the Watford keeper when he struck a half volley that Kuszczak saved down low and The Rams couldn`t find the equaliser despite four minutes of added time.
Derby County: Fielding; Green, Barker, Shackell, Buxton; Hendrick (Bailey 89), Carroll (Tyson 45), Bryson, B. Davies (Ball 76); Robinson, S. Davies.
Subs: Legzdins, Naylor.
Watford: Kuszczak; Doyley, Mariappa, Nosworthy, Dickinson; Murray (Buaban 81), Eustace, Hogg, Kacaniklic; Garner (Iwelumo 63), Deeney (Taylor 90).
Subs: Loach, Trotta.
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Date:Saturday March 10 2012
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