Another season and another defeat in the fifth round of the FA Cup for Derby as they were knocked out of the competition by Premier League side Birmingham City.
The Rams performed admirably against their higher placed opponents and after 55 minutes a cup shock looked to be on. It was Jay McEveley who opened the scoring, his second consecutive goal in the cup, the left back was given time and space on the edge of the Birmingham penalty area and fired a left foot shot goal wards. His effort bounced infront of Joe Hart in the Birmingham goal and took an uneven bounce over his dive and into the back of the net.
Unfortunately Derby were not able to hold onto their lead, defender Scott Dann grabbed an equaliser in the 73rd minute later from a James McFadden corner. Dann rose above Shaun Barker to head home and give the Blues a way back into the game. They continued to press and in the last minute of the match they struck the killer blow. Kevin Phillips broke free from the defence, his shot beat Bywater but struck the post and rolled along the goal line. At the far post Liam Ridgewell poked the ball home to seal Birmingham’s place in the quarter finals.
Robbie Savage, who was booed throughout by his former club’s fans, nearly earnt Derby a replay with a wonderful strike in the final minute of injury time. The Welshman rolled back the years with a 25-yard strike that looked destined for the top corner until Hart managed to get his fingertips to it and deny Derby’s captain.
So it’s time to focus on the league, Derby have 16 games to go in the season and boss Nigel Clough has set his players a target of six wins from those 16 matches. They will be looking to continue their good league form on Tuesday night when they meet Preston North End at Pride Park.