Date:Saturday September 26 2009
Pride Park, Derby
26 September 2009, 15:00
Gary Teale gave Derby County a deserved first win in five games, ending their four defeats on the spin at Pride Park.
In truth, Derby could have notched a cricket score today and it was only dreadful finishing from the home side that kept the score respectable.
City were inexplicably unchanged from the XI that started against Scunthorpe. The only change in the squad was Louis Carey taking his place on the bench for Cole Skuse, who was suffering with a cold.
Alvaro Saborio nearly gave the Robins a shock second minute lead but could only head straight at Rams keeper Steven Bywater from Bradley Orr's measured right-wing cross. Bywater gobbled up the ensuing goalmouth scramble.
The early stages were being played at a frenetic pace with Elliott and Saborio trying their luck from distance but it was another predicable gaffe from Jamie McCombe, remarkably given the skippers armband for the day, that nearly opened the scoring on 23.
His slip allowed Welsh tart Robbie Savage a clear run on goal but following his cut-back, home debutant James Vaughan missed the target from the penalty spot with the goal gaping. It was a huge let off for the City.
Orr and Evander Sno both fired bending efforts from distance wide of Bywater's upright with Derby dangerman Rob Hulse shooting just over the angle of post and bar at the other end.
The game was wide open and Saborio was guilty of spurning another glaring opportunity to give City the lead following great work from the impressive Sno.
Sno slipped the Costa Rican in one-on-one with Bywater only for Saborio to hesitate for too long and allow one time City target Shaun Barker to recover as the sides went in level at half-time.
Nigel Clough clearly gave his side the hairdrier treatment at the interval as Derby flew out the traps after the break before the stupidy of Donkey McCombe put City firmly on the back foot after 53 minutes.
In the space of two minutes, Hulse skinned McCombe on the touch line only to be cynically hacked down by the clumsy defender.
Both players lurched towards each other before McCombe embarrasingly threw himself to the floor, presumably trying to get Hulse sent-off for an imaginary headbutt. Ref Mick Russell correctly reached for his book and duly took the City defender's name.
Seconds after the fracas, the same two players came together again. Hulse knocked the ball past him again (how often have I said about McCombe's susceptibility on the floor this season?) on the right before having his path obstructed. Russell had no hesitation in awarding the free-kick Derby's way, issuing a second booking and McCombe was off.
Then came the first baffling sub of the day. Former Derby defender Lewin Nyatanga was brought on for Saborio, our main threat, with Maynard, who was being marked out of the game, asked to toil alone up front! Make of that what you will.
Danny Haynes joined him 8 minutes later in place of the unusually good Lee Johnson. It was another surprise given Marvin Elliott had clearly chucked his passing radar out the window of the M42.
Derby continued to forge ahead with the direct Lee Croft sending a 25-yard shot wide of an open goal after Basso's horrendous miskick let Hulse in.
Substitute Paul Dickov shot wide, Croft fired straight at Basso and Hulse saw his agile effort drop wide of the the post.
Former Villa man Lee Hendrie entered the fray on 78 for his Rams debut and continued the trend of woeful finishing from the home side, missing the target when well placed inside the box.
But we could all feel the goal was coming as shapeless City offered nothing on the counter attack and were cut open with consumate ease by the home side after our best player Evander Sno was subbed on 82.
So it was no surprise with five minutes left that winger Gary Teale drove inside from the left and onto his favoured right peg to arrow a dipping 20-yard effort inside Basso's near post.
Derby hearts were in their mouths when Paul Dickov nearly gave away a last-gasp penalty with a 'forwards challenge' right in front of the linesman and Paul Connolly saw his backward header flash inches wide of his own net but the home side held on for a thoroughly deserved win.
DERBY (4-4-2): Bywater, Connolly, Barker, Leacock, Moxey; Croft (Addison, 90), Savage, Livermore (Hendrie, 79), Teale; Vaughan (Dickov, 65), Hulse.
CITY (4-4-2 or anyone with a better guess?!): Basso, Orr, Fontaine, McCombe, McAllister, Elliott, Hartley, Johnson (Haynes 65), Sno (Sproule 82), Maynard, Saborio (Nyatanga 57).
REFEREE: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)
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Date:Saturday September 26 2009
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