Derby County fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Watford in dubious circumstances on Friday evening, with referee Tim Robinson drawing large amounts of criticism online.

The Rams were matching their hosts until two goals in quick succession left them flat on their feet.

Watford took the lead after 19 minutes. Lucky perhaps an understatement on this occasion as Andre Wisdom’s attempted clearance made it no further than a yard before ricocheting off the trailing foot of João Pedro and past David Marshall into the Derby net.

A familiar face then added salt to the wounds just two minutes later as ex-Ram Will Hughes’ low curled attempt found the bottom left hand corner, leaving Marshall rooted to the spot.

Watford v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship
WATFORD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 19: Will Hughes of Watford scores their 2nd goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Watford and Derby County at Vicarage Road on February 19, 2021 in Watford, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

In controversial circumstances, the Rams then had a goal disallowed just before half-time. A well-worked corner routine saw Colin Kazim-Richards head home, but Robinson was quick to blow his whistle and rule the goal out as he adjudged Wisdom to have ‘impeded’ Hornets’ goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann.

Derby stepped their game up in the second half, halving the deficit with little over ten minutes to go courtesy of a William Troost-Ekong own goal. 

 

Nathan Byrne then went close to scoring directly from a corner delivery in the dying embers of the game, but Bachmann managed to get a touch to the ball, ultimately sealing all three points for the home side.

Watford v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship
WATFORD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 19: Nathan Byrne of Derby County holds Philip Zinckernagel of Watford during the Sky Bet Championship match between Watford and Derby County at Vicarage Road on February 19, 2021 in Watford, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Despite the three goals, poor refereeing decisions were once again the main talking point after the conclusion of a Sky Bet Championship match. 

Wayne Rooney had no doubt that the goal should have stood, he spoke to Sky Sports after the game.

“He did score a legitimate goal. It’s a poor decision, I’m sure the referee when he looks back at that he’ll see that himself,” said Rooney.

The Rams boss added: “It happens in football. It’s a tough job out there for the referees. Hopefully next time we’ll get the rub of the green.”

Rooney wasn’t too harsh on Robinson despite acknowledging the ref had made a costly mistake. Derby supporters on Twitter were a little less courteous so to speak.

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