Derby looking for their first win of the season did not only achieve it, they dominated proceedings from start to finish in this one sided encounter.
James O’Connor retained his place at centre half despite the availability of Jake Buxton and justified Nigel Clough’s decision to include him in an unchanged side from last week game at Wolves.
Right from the kick off it was Derby who controlled the game. From defence to the forward line, The Rams put on a masterful display and Watford were mere spectators much to the annoyance of Gianfranco Zola, who has been busy in the loan/transfer market during the window.
Sixteen minutes had passed on the clock when Derby first took advantage of their possession. A Ward cross found the head of captain Richard Keogh who made no mistake in directing the ball into the back of Almunia’s net.
Twenty minutes later, the excellent Paul Coutts saw his free kick find the head of Jeff Hendrick to double the advantage.
Conor Sammon added a third goal three minutes before the break. On his home debut, Sammon a recent £1.2m signing from Wigan was impressing with his speed and work rate. When Ward played a ball through into the box, Sammon forced his way through and buried it into the corner of the net.
The second half saw Derby continue to push forward and those witnessing the game rightly were suspecting a rout. Seven minutes after the break, a Ward free kick was parried by Almunia and Will Hughes knocked in the loose ball off the post. The first senior goal for Hughes, who is attracting the scouts of several Premier League sides.
The demolition job was completed in the 67th minute when a Coutts cross found an unmarked Jamie Ward who slotted the ball in from ten yards.
Watford scored a consolation goal from Vydra in the 74th minute, but the damage was already done.
The visitors are clearly going to need some time and will over the next few weeks introduce many of their deadline day signings. Derby must build on this and ensure that they realise their full potential as a young and promising side. Rams fans will be hoping that this is the start of better times at Pride park and not another False Dawn!
Derby – Fielding, Brayford, Keogh, O’Connor, Roberts (Buxton 67), Coutts, Bryson (Doyle 89), Hendrick, Hughes (Jacobs 84), Ward, Sammon. Subs not used – Legzdins, Gjorkaj, Tyson, Robinson.
Watford – Almunia, Doyley, Dickinson, Nosworthy, Pudil (Cassetti 65), Hogg, Abdi, Yeates (Batocchio 86), Murray (Anya 65), Iwelumo, Vydra. subs not used – Forsyth, Beleck, Bond, Hoban.
Man of the match – Paul Coutts, great work and a constant menace to Watford down the right wing.
Attendance - 20,608 (Away 894)