Derby 4-2 Watford
We were treated to a goals festival at Pride Park yesterday, it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, which confirmed a third place finish.
All in all, it was a tremendous performance by the Rams – neat passing, runs down the wing and some very good individual and team goals.
On the other hand, the pure domination from Derby was put in jeopardy by some occasional slack defensive moments that let the Hornets in.
In terms of stand-out performers, Hendrick, Ward, Martin and Forsyth put in especially good shifts.
Hendrick looks to be at his best, he really has improved hugely in the past couple of months and I would certainly select him over Hughes in the play-offs. Yesterday the Irishman hit two goals, the first seemed a tame effort on the volley but it was enough and good positioning to be there. His second hit was an absolute wonder drive from distance.
Ward was always involved in the attacks and Martin led the line well, once again, showing his value and getting the goal he deserved.
Forsyth was often in space on the left side and got forward at every chance. The ex-Watford man’s goal was a thunderbolt inside the box, he really does have a sweet left foot for crossing and shooting. I believe he is a great example of the improvement made under McClaren, he has enhanced his game massively.
Four goals were scored but the scoreline really could have, and probably should have, been much, much more. Derby must be more ruthless in the play-offs, having said that, when you create as many chances as this side you are in the fortunate position of being able to miss a few chances!
Now for a quick word on Watford, the away side offered very little and I did expect more after they narrowly lost at QPR and, prior to that, were on a good run of form. It seemd they require some more established Championship players (like Eustace) to push on.
Next week it’s a trip to Elland Road. Obviously there’s nothing to play for in terms of league positions, however it’s always great to get one over Leeds.
The team set out yesterday, unchanged from the Barnsley win, signaled McClaren’s intentions to go all out and win. I do think he’ll make some changes next week and give a few players a breather.
Personally I would, to start with, rest Martin, Bryson, Thorne and Hendrick and look at giving Eustace and Hughes, both recently benched by others’ good form, a run out, as well as the likes of Sammon and Bailey. I would also look at giving Bamford and Dawkins some game time.
Lastly, congratulations to Bryson on winning the fans’ player of the season for the second time in three years.