Derby's primary threat came from Rooney, as you'd expect from a player with such rich pedigree. He could open tin cans with his right foot so if anyone was going to prise open this parsimonious Watford defence, stiffened by the inclusion of Nigeria captain William Troost-Ekong, then it was going to be him. He teased over an assortment of balls from dead-ball situations on the left which caused Hornets' hearts to flutter. Matthew Clarke was a whisker away from getting on the end of one; Curtis Davies got in the way of one that was bound for George Evans and then Duane Holmes fired over when well placed and relatively free from a perceptive Rooney cut back.
Any threat the Hornets did pose came down the left, with Ben Wilmot, Kiko Femenía and Ken Sema making in roads down that side. Indeed, Femenía had the first effort on goal of the half and Tom Cleverley had the last, both ending up high and wide, summing up how things went from an attacking point of view.
The creative juices didn't exactly flow in the second half either. There was a big shout for a handball by Evans and then Christian Kabasele had a goal-bound header blocked. It looked for all the world that a dreadful game was going to meander aimlessly towards a goalless draw, especially when you consider Tom Lawrence, on as a sub, mustered the first shot on target after 73 minutes. But then João Pedro did what only few players can do: settle games of terrifying small margins with a piece of magic.
It was a rabbit out of a hat and brought about the first away win since January. A lot has changed since that 3-0 win at Bournemouth, but one thing for certain is that João Pedro has come of age.