Hendrick Fires Rams To Third
Attendance: 25, 922
Derby County secured third place in the table with a 4-2 victory over Watford at the iPro Stadium. Troy Deeney fired Watford ahead inside five minutes but The Rams took control of the half from there on in with Jeff Hendrick equalising on twenty-eight minutes before Jamie Ward had a shot saved by Jonathan Bond and hit the outside of the post. After the break Craig Forsyth thumped a shot into the roof of the net against his former club before Marco Cassetti was sent-off for a second booking as the game appeared to be out of their reach. However, the visitors levelled the score when Mathias Ranegie headed home from close range with twenty minutes to go before Derby made their advantage count inside the last ten minutes. Hendrick ripped a shot past Bond from twenty-five yards before Chris Martin's low shot completed the scoring and secured the points.
Steve McClaren went with an unchanged side for the final home league match of the season but his side quickly found themselves behind when a through ball from Cristian Battocchio released Troy Deeney and Watford's top scorer fired into the roof of the net on five minutes. Johnny Russell and Jamie Ward both had shots blocked from a corner as The Rams looked to get back into the match immediately and Ward was involved again as he beat Joel Ekstrand down the right before firing a low cross that Russell was inches away from at the back post.
Ward came close when he got a touch to a ball across the area but his effort flew wide of the post and Craig Bryson had an effort deflected behind for a corner after being teed up by George Thorne as the pressure increased from Derby. With twenty-eight minutes on the clock the scores were level after Daniel Pudil didn't get enough on a headed clearance and Jeff Hendrick took a touch on his chest before firing past Jonathan Bond on the visitor's goal. It was one way traffic after the early opener and Ward shot straight at Bond again after being played through on goal by Thorne before he was involved in one final chance before the break beating three defenders before curling an effort onto the outside of the post from the edge of the area.
The second half started at a much slower pace than the first and it was with almost their first meaningful attack that The Rams took the lead when Russell found Bryson inside the area and he took a touch before setting up Craig Forsyth who ripped a shot into the roof of the net giving Bond no chance on the hour mark. Chris Martin stole the ball off a Watford defender on the edge of the area but Bond was out quickly to block his shot at close range and the striker took aim from the edge of the area again only to see his shot fly wide of the target.
Marco Cassetti received his second yellow card for a foul on Bryson in an incident that looked to have ended Watford's chances in the match but they got themselves level when Forsyth's wayward pass from the back gifted them back possession and they worked the ball wide to Ikechi Anya who crossed for Mathias Ranegie to head home from close range. Ward's powerfully struck effort from the edge of the box was beaten away by Bond and Simon Dawkins, on from the bench, fired harmlessly wide.
With the game entering the final ten minutes The Rams finally made their numerical advantage count when Hendrick fired in an unstoppable shot from twenty-five yards out and Martin secured the points after a fine move ended with him out-muscling a defender before firing low into the far corner with his left foot. Bryson nearly added the fifth in stoppage time but his low effort was kept out at full stretch by Bond as The Rams secured a fifth win on the bounce.
Derby County: Grant; Wisdom, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth; Thorne, Bryson, Hendrick; Ward (Dawkins 74), Russell (Bamford 75), Martin (Hughes 87).
Subs not used: Legzdins, Naylor, Eustace, Whitbread.
Watford: Bond; Doyley, Cassetti, Ekstrand (Hoban 53), Riera, McGugan (Anya 57), Tozser, Battocchio, Pudil; Deeney, Ranegie (Faraoni 75).
Subs not used: Woods, Merkel, Murray, Jakubiak.
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