Derby took the lead three times at Watford as they recorded their second successive Championship victory under new manager Steve McClaren.

Jamie Ward's header put the Rams ahead early in the first half, but Fernando Forestieri equalised within minutes.

Ward's tap-in meant Derby led again at half-time, before Lewis McGugan's superb curled shot levelled the scores.

The hosts dominated much of the second half, but could not stop substitute Connor Sammon slotting home late on.

The match started at pace as Watford's Essaid Belkalem headed wide after being unmarked at a corner, before Ward outjumped Daniel Pudil to head home Craig Bryson's cross.

But the visitors had the lead for only four minutes, as neat interplay between Josh McEachran and McGugan put Forestieri through on goal to delicately chip keeper Lee Grant.

McClaren spent much of the match in the upper reaches of Vicarage Road's semi-demolished East Stand, but descended in time to see his side go ahead by the break.

Bryson robbed Iriney and exchanged passes with Chris Martin before sliding the ball across to Ward for an easy second.

Derby almost extended their lead early in the second half with Ward and Bryson going close, but soon found themselves on the back foot as Watford poured forward.

Former Nottingham Forest man McGugan was the recipient of Derby supporters' catcalls as he twice struck free-kicks over the bar.

But the midfielder silenced them with a fantastic strike, curling the ball in from outside the box after trading passes with Pudil.

The introduction of muscular substitute Sammon helped Derby retain the ball in the opposition half, and he clinched all three points for the Rams when Will Hughes sent him through to slot home.

Watford head coach Gianfranco Zola:

"It is tough to take but we have to blame ourselves. It is not enough to play good football and score two great goals.

"We need to get better in defending.

"To win championships, you have to be able to attack well - as we did - but we need to defend better."

Derby manager Steve McClaren:

"We talked about the changes and it was a decision to make, do we put a defender on and try to stop the flow and try to hang on, or change the system and try to go forward?

"[Assistant manager] Paul Simpson was saying, 'go for it, let's try and get the winner'.

"We decided to do that and he did a great job, Connor - it worked."

Lineup, Bookings (6) & Substitutions (5)

Watford

  • 01 Almunia
  • 27 Cassetti
  • 18 Pudil
  • 06 Ekstrand Booked
  • 05 Belkalem Booked
  • 04 Angella
  • 23 Iriney Booked (Murray - 55' )
  • 10 McGugan
  • 11 Forestieri
  • 20 Fabbrini (Acuña - 76' )
  • 08 McEachran

Substitutes

  • 02 Brown
  • 07 Battocchio
  • 12 Doyley
  • 15 Acuña
  • 16 Murray
  • 28 Smith
  • 30 Bond

Derby County

  • 01 Grant
  • 02 Smith Booked
  • 03 Forsyth Booked
  • 14 Eustace
  • 06 Keogh
  • 27 Whitbread (Buxton - 33' )
  • 04 Bryson
  • 19 Hughes
  • 09 Martin
  • 20 Bennett (Dawkins - 45' )
  • 10 Ward (Sammon - 75' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Jacobs
  • 17 Freeman
  • 18 Sammon
  • 24 Morch
  • 25 Buxton
  • 29 Lowe
  • 32 Dawkins
Ref: James Linington
Att: 16,180

Match Stats

Shots

15 10

On target

3 5

Corners

4 4

Fouls

18 11

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Watford 2, Derby County 3.

90:00 +5:06 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Watford 2, Derby County 3.

90:00 +4:26

Joshua McEachran (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +4:26

Foul by Craig Bryson (Derby County).

90:00 +3:37

Foul by Gabriele Angella (Watford).

90:00 +3:37

Jake Buxton (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +2:24

Foul by Marco Cassetti (Watford).

90:00 +2:24

Chris Martin (Derby County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

90:00 +2:01

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Essaïd Belkalem.

90:00 +1:25

Foul by Essaïd Belkalem (Watford).

90:00 +1:25

Chris Martin (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +0:16

Essaïd Belkalem (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:16

Foul by Conor Sammon (Derby County).

89:23

Foul by Essaïd Belkalem (Watford).

89:23

Craig Bryson (Derby County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

87:04 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Watford 2, Derby County 3. Conor Sammon (Derby County) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Will Hughes.

83:36

Offside, Watford. Gabriele Angella tries a through ball, but Marco Cassetti is caught offside.

82:59

Attempt saved. Conor Sammon (Derby County) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by John Eustace.

81:22

Attempt missed. Gabriele Angella (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right.

80:48

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Richard Keogh.

80:37

Attempt blocked. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis McGugan.

78:45 Booking

Booking Joel Ekstrand (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

78:28

Foul by Joel Ekstrand (Watford).

78:28

Will Hughes (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

77:58 Booking

Booking Adam Smith (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

77:38

Daniel Pudil (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

77:38

Foul by Adam Smith (Derby County).

77:26

Attempt missed. Chris Martin (Derby County) header from the left side of the six yard box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Craig Bryson with a cross following a corner.

76:34

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Essaïd Belkalem.

76:05

Foul by Fernando Forestieri (Watford).

76:05

Chris Martin (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

75:14 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Javier Acuña replaces Diego Fabbrini.

74:48 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Derby County. Conor Sammon replaces Jamie Ward.

72:37

Attempt missed. Lewis McGugan (Watford) right footed shot from long range on the left is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

72:00

Diego Fabbrini (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

72:00

Foul by Will Hughes (Derby County).

67:40 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Watford 2, Derby County 2. Lewis McGugan (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Daniel Pudil.

66:24

Gabriele Angella (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

66:24

Foul by Chris Martin (Derby County).

65:14

Attempt saved. Sean Murray (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

63:49

Attempt missed. Lewis McGugan (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

63:02 Booking

Booking Craig Forsyth (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

62:56

Sean Murray (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

62:56

Foul by Craig Forsyth (Derby County).

62:11

Attempt missed. Lewis McGugan (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Joshua McEachran.

61:28

Attempt missed. Lewis McGugan (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

61:09 Booking

Booking John Eustace (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

60:29

Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

60:29

Foul by Adam Smith (Derby County).

59:40

Marco Cassetti (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

59:40

Foul by Simon Dawkins (Derby County).

58:42 Booking

Booking Essaïd Belkalem (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

58:26

Foul by Essaïd Belkalem (Watford).

58:26

Chris Martin (Derby County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

57:41

Offside, Watford. Lewis McGugan tries a through ball, but Fernando Forestieri is caught offside.

54:43 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Sean Murray replaces Iriney.

52:41

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Joshua McEachran.

51:57

Attempt saved. Jamie Ward (Derby County) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Chris Martin.

51:11

Attempt missed. Simon Dawkins (Derby County) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Jamie Ward.

50:17

Foul by Iriney (Watford).

50:17

Simon Dawkins (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

48:29

Attempt blocked. Lewis McGugan (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Diego Fabbrini.

46:47

Foul by Essaïd Belkalem (Watford).

46:47

Chris Martin (Derby County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

46:00

Attempt missed. Craig Bryson (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Simon Dawkins.

45:00

Second Half begins Watford 1, Derby County 2.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Derby County. Simon Dawkins replaces Mason Bennett.

45:00 +3:24 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Watford 1, Derby County 2.

45:00 +2:51

Offside, Derby County. Adam Smith tries a through ball, but Will Hughes is caught offside.

45:00 +1:04 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Watford 1, Derby County 2. Jamie Ward (Derby County) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Craig Bryson.

43:34

Foul by Gabriele Angella (Watford).

43:34

Chris Martin (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

39:56

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Adam Smith.

38:37

Attempt missed. Diego Fabbrini (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Fernando Forestieri.

37:33

Foul by Lewis McGugan (Watford).

37:33

Will Hughes (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:45

Attempt missed. Daniel Pudil (Watford) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Marco Cassetti with a cross.

32:49 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Derby County. Jake Buxton replaces Zak Whitbread because of an injury.

32:22

Attempt blocked. Jamie Ward (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

32:04

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

31:13

Delay in match Zak Whitbread (Derby County) because of an injury.

30:02

Craig Bryson (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

30:02

Foul by Essaïd Belkalem (Watford).

29:29

Will Hughes (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

29:29

Foul by Iriney (Watford).

29:00

Foul by Mason Bennett (Derby County).

29:00

Joshua McEachran (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

23:57

Craig Bryson (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

23:57

Foul by Essaïd Belkalem (Watford).

23:21

Attempt missed. Lewis McGugan (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Diego Fabbrini.

21:38 Booking

Booking Iriney (Watford) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

21:23

Hand ball by Iriney (Watford).

18:40

Will Hughes (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

18:40

Foul by Daniel Pudil (Watford).

15:09

Attempt missed. Joel Ekstrand (Watford) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Diego Fabbrini.

14:44

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Zak Whitbread.

11:01 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Watford 1, Derby County 1. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lewis McGugan.

10:22

Foul by John Eustace (Derby County).

10:22

Iriney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

9:43

Attempt missed. Zak Whitbread (Derby County) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jamie Ward with a cross following a set piece situation.

9:03

Will Hughes (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

9:03

Foul by Joel Ekstrand (Watford).

7:59 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Watford 0, Derby County 1. Jamie Ward (Derby County) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Craig Bryson with a cross.

7:41

John Eustace (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

7:41

Foul by Essaïd Belkalem (Watford).

6:42

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Iriney.

4:52

Attempt missed. Essaïd Belkalem (Watford) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Lewis McGugan with a cross following a corner.

4:29

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Richard Keogh.

3:38

Offside, Watford. Manuel Almunia tries a through ball, but Fernando Forestieri is caught offside.

0:39

Joel Ekstrand (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:39

Foul by Craig Bryson (Derby County).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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