Will Hughes scored against his old club when Watford defeated Derby to finish third in the championship with second-placed Brentford

In the midfielder’s first game against the Rams since joining Watford in 2017, he took a low shot into the far corner to double the home side’s lead less than three minutes after Joao Pedro’s happy opener

Brazilian striker Pedro didn’t know much about his eighth goal of the season when derby defender Andre Wisdom shot the ball at him and passed David Marshall after a major twist and cut by Ismaila Sarr

Colin Kazim-Richards saw a header in the first half that was controversially rejected by Derby team-mate Wisdom for a foul on the goalkeeper, and Wayne Rooney’s visitors stayed behind despite William Troost-Ekong’s own goal giving them hope late

For a third straight win, Watford will skip Swansea and are within four points of leaders Norwich, who will host Rotherham on Saturday, while Derby’s six-point buffer over the bottom three could be reduced to three points after Saturday’s games

Rooney first handed over to Patrick Roberts and George Edmundson, but after a cautious start to the game, Watford took advantage of a bit of luck and then gave himself a pillow

Hughes’ goal – his eighth in 104 games since his £ 8m move from Pride Park – came after Derby failed to clear a corner and Nathaniel Chalobah rolled the ball back into his path for him to make a touch and could finish calmly

The 25-year-old’s celebrations were muted after going through Rams Academy, but his passing range stood out – his inch-perfect ball over the top in the second half shot into the hands of Pedro’s Marshall

Wisdom blocked Hornets keeper Daniel Bachmann when Kazim-Richards headed a corner home That decision looked soft, but Derby struggled to create openings until Nathan Byrne’s fine cross to Troost-Ekong and his own goal with 13 minutes left

Reruns showed that Kazim-Richards was slightly offside when the cross hit, but the result didn’t change Watford recorded a twelfth home win in the league despite struggling with many corners in added time

“We conceded two very sloppy goals and I think our reaction to the goal must be better – we lost our focus and our concentration and that cost us in the end

“We showed a great reaction in the second half I thought we dominated the second half and we could have got something out of the game on another day”

On the disallowed goal: “It is clear to everyone that it was a perfect goal and I still don’t know why it was not allowed Maybe the goalkeeper got a little too much protection, but these things happen””

Attempt missed Max Bird (Derby County) tried with his left foot to the left of the 6-yard box, but missed the right goal after a corner

Attempt saved Philip Zinckernagel (Watford) tries a left footed shot from distance, saved by the goalkeeper in the middle of the goal. Assisted by Ismaila Sarr

Attempt missed Lee Gregory (Derby County’s) header from the center of the box is close but missed to the left. Assisted by Nathan Byrne with a cross

Attempt missed Joño Pedro (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Philip Zinckernagel

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Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/56035702