Watford 2-1 Derby County
Watford moved up to second in the Championship as striker Matej Vydra scored his 20th goal of the season.
The 20-year-old Czech, on loan from Udinese, beat Derby keeper Adam Legzdins with a drive from the edge of the area 10 minutes before half-time.
Joel Ekstrand doubled the Hornets' lead from 10 yards before Jamie Ward reduced the deficit from the penalty spot after he was pushed over by Lloyd Doyley.
The Rams pressed for an equaliser but Watford held on to move above Hull.
It might have been a nervy final period for Watford and, in particular, substitute goalkeeper Jonathan Bond, who came on towards the end of the first half when Manuel Almunia went off injured.
But Gianfranco Zola's side, who have now won four of their last five, were never really in trouble after a lively start.
Vydra was thwarted by Legzdins when through on goal and Alexandre Geijo volleyed the rebound over.
Derby had chances of their own, Ward shooting over the bar and Conor Sammon heading wide.
It was threatening to be a frustrating afternoon for both sides in front of goal but promotion-chasing Watford took the lead when Vydra continued his prolific form with a superb strike.
Almen Abdi went close for Watford but was denied by Legzdins at the keeper's near post before Abdi sent over an in-swinging corner for Ekstrand to finish calmly with just over 20 minutes remaining.
And despite Doyley's indiscretion and Ward's assured finish from the spot with 17 minutes left, the home side defended solidly to ensure a seventh win in nine league games.
Watford manager Gianfranco Zola: "Obviously if you ask my opinion about the penalty, I'm not very happy about it. I thought it was a soft one. If that was a penalty, how many penalties do you have to give in the box?
"We came out with three points that are very, very important, especially because we were playing against a good team and it was the third game in a week."
Derby manager Nigel Clough: "We're quite pleased with the performance generally. We had numerous situations today and it's been a failing of ours - we don't make the most of them in the final third.
"There was nothing in the game generally between the two teams. They were two passing sides. I didn't think there was a great deal in it, just that little bit of quality and us failing to defend the set play. Very simple things win or lose football matches most of the times - basics."
- 01 Almunia (Bond - 45' )
- 12 Doyley
- 27 Cassetti
- 33 Nosworthy
- 39 Chalobah
- 40 Ekstrand
- 21 Anya
- 22 Abdi
- 38 Battocchio
- 20 Vydra (Deeney - 87' )
- 36 Geijo (Hogg - 75' )
- 30 Bond
- 07 Yeates
- 08 Hogg
- 11 Forsyth
- 16 Murray
- 09 Deeney
- 41 Forestieri
- 13 Legzdins
- 02 Brayford
- 06 Keogh
- 22 Hoganson (Buxton - 46' )
- 04 Bryson
- 07 Coutts
- 08 Hendrick
- 12 Jacobs (Martin - 46' )
- 18 Davies Booked
- 10 Ward Booked
- 32 Sammon (Bennett - 72' )
- 01 Fielding
- 05 Buxton
- 21 Gjokaj
- 29 Hanson
- 14 Doyle
- 20 Bennett
- 25 Martin
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.90:00 +1:56
The ball is crossed by Ikechi Anya.90:00 +1:44
Troy Deeney delivers the ball.89:07
Troy Deeney handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Adam Legzdins.88:37
The ball is swung over by Almen Abdi.87:44
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Jamie Ward, clearance made by Troy Deeney.86:37
Free kick crossed right-footed by Jamie Ward from left channel, Nyron Nosworthy makes a clearance.86:37 Substitution
Substitution Troy Deeney replaces Matej Vydra.86:37
Matej Vydra challenges Chris Martin unfairly and gives away a free kick.86:17
A cross is delivered by Jonathan Hogg, Jeff Hendrick makes a clearance.85:45
Chris Martin takes a shot. Jonathan Bond makes a comfortable save.81:28
Jamie Ward takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.81:02
Paul Coutts sends in a cross.79:45
Mason Bennett takes a shot. Save by Jonathan Bond.78:47
The ball is sent over by Ikechi Anya, Jake Buxton makes a clearance. Long range shot by Cristian Battocchio goes wide right of the target.75:48
Corner taken by Jamie Ward from the right by-line, Nathaniel Chalobah makes a clearance. Corner taken right-footed by Jamie Ward, Marco Cassetti manages to make a clearance.74:37 Substitution
Substitution Jonathan Hogg joins the action as a substitute, replacing Alexandre Geijo.72:50 Goal scored
Goal! - Jamie Ward - Watford 2 - 1 Derby Placed penalty scored by Jamie Ward. Watford 2-1 Derby.70:56
Corner taken by Jamie Ward, Penalty awarded for a foul by Lloyd Doyley on Chris Martin.70:56 Substitution
Substitution Mason Bennett on for Conor Sammon.
The ball is crossed by John Brayford, Lloyd Doyley manages to make a clearance.69:44
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Almen Abdi from the left by-line, save by Adam Legzdins.67:25
Assist on the goal came from Almen Abdi.67:25 Goal scored
Goal! - Joel Ekstrand - Watford 2 - 0 Derby Joel Ekstrand scores a goal from deep inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Watford 2-0 Derby.66:45
Marco Cassetti takes a shot. Blocked by Ben Davies. Corner taken right-footed by Almen Abdi,63:13
Foul by Joel Ekstrand on Conor Sammon, free kick awarded. Jeff Hendrick restarts play with the free kick.57:43
Joel Ekstrand challenges Conor Sammon unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Jamie Ward from right channel.57:14
Free kick awarded for a foul by Marco Cassetti on Ben Davies. Ben Davies takes the free kick.56:15
Direct free kick taken by Nathaniel Chalobah.56:15 Booking
Booking Jamie Ward is cautioned.56:05
Unfair challenge on Cristian Battocchio by Jamie Ward results in a free kick.55:13
Almen Abdi takes a shot. Save made by Adam Legzdins.49:21
Ben Davies challenges Marco Cassetti unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Almen Abdi.46:49
Unfair challenge on Ben Davies by Almen Abdi results in a free kick. Ben Davies restarts play with the free kick.45:09
Conor Sammon has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.45:01
The referee starts the second half.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Chris Martin replaces Michael Jacobs.45:01 Substitution
Substitution (Derby) makes a substitution, with Jake Buxton coming on for Michael Hoganson.45:00 +5:06 Half time
Half Time It is the end of the first-half.45:00 +4:42
Almen Abdi takes a outswinging corner.45:00 +4:19
Nathaniel Chalobah takes a shot. Adam Legzdins makes a save.45:00 +2:52
Almen Abdi has an effort direct from the free kick, blocked by Jamie Ward.45:00 +2:52 Booking
Booking Ben Davies is shown a yellow card.45:00 +2:41
Ben Davies gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Matej Vydra.45:00 +2:23
Craig Bryson takes a shot. Jonathan Bond makes a save.44:12 Substitution
Substitution Manuel Almunia leaves the field to be replaced by Jonathan Bond.38:05
Corner from the right by-line taken by Almen Abdi, clearance by Richard Keogh.37:47
Almen Abdi takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Paul Coutts manages to make a clearance.37:34
Almen Abdi crosses the ball, John Brayford manages to make a clearance.34:49 Goal scored
Goal! - Matej Vydra - Watford 1 - 0 Derby A goal is scored by Matej Vydra from just outside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Watford 1-0 Derby.33:57
Joel Ekstrand fouled by Conor Sammon, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Joel Ekstrand.33:02
Alexandre Geijo is caught offside. Free kick taken by John Brayford.32:10
Ikechi Anya produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.29:42
Unfair challenge on Jamie Ward by Nathaniel Chalobah results in a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Paul Coutts, save by Manuel Almunia.28:07
Matej Vydra takes a shot. Clearance made by Richard Keogh. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Almen Abdi, Effort from deep inside the area by Joel Ekstrand clears the bar.27:47
Centre by Almen Abdi, save by Adam Legzdins.27:32
The ball is delivered by Ikechi Anya, John Brayford manages to make a clearance.26:03
A cross is delivered by Jamie Ward.25:39
Joel Ekstrand gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Michael Jacobs. Free kick taken by Paul Coutts.23:50
Jamie Ward challenges Lloyd Doyley unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.20:54
Unfair challenge on John Brayford by Nathaniel Chalobah results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Adam Legzdins.20:31
Ikechi Anya sends in a cross, clearance made by Craig Bryson.18:36
Jamie Ward crosses the ball.13:48
Cristian Battocchio challenges Jeff Hendrick unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jeff Hendrick.11:32
The ball is crossed by Cristian Battocchio, save made by Adam Legzdins.11:14
The ball is sent over by Paul Coutts.10:12
Jamie Ward sends in a cross, Header by Conor Sammon from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.9:24
Jamie Ward has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.6:59
Marco Cassetti takes a shot. Save made by Adam Legzdins.6:40
Ikechi Anya sends in a cross, clearance by John Brayford.5:12
Matej Vydra takes a shot. Save by Adam Legzdins. Shot from just outside the box by Alexandre Geijo misses to the right of the goal.0:00
The referee gets the game underway.
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