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A point in the right direction

Leicester City 0-0 Derby County

Derby fought hard in this East Midlands derby and their solid defence saw their first clean sheet away from home and only their second point on their travels this season.

Nigel Clough made two changes to the team that beat Sheffield Wednesday before the international break. Dean Leacock and Kris Commons came into the side for Jay McEveley and Paul Dickov who was ineligible to play against his parent club. Shaun Barker started at centre-back alongside Leacock despite a scan showing he has a tear in his thigh muscle. Leicester lined up with ex-Rams Steve Howard and Matt Oakley in their starting eleven.

Leicester dominated for large parts, but could not find a way past a resolute Derby defence and Stephen Bywater was not really forced to make a save. The first chance of the game fell to Leicester’s Howard who wasn’t able keep his header down. Derby started to come into the game and it was the recalled Commons who tested Leicester keeper Chris Weale for the first time. Commons advanced with the ball and as the gap opened up hit fired a long range effort goalwards but the Foxes keeper made an easy save. The home side continued to press with Wayne Brown and Richie Wellens going close, but the Rams survived and went into the break level.

 The second half was much more even as Derby really came back into the match. Dyer had a good chance to put Leicester in front when a right-wing cross reached him at the far post but Fredrik Stoor recovered to deflect the shot wide. The Rams produced their best piece of football on the hour; talisman Rob Hulse created a great chance of Commons with a precise pass to release his strike partner down the right side. Commons attacked the penalty area but saw his curling shot clip the top of the bar. There then came a period in the game where the Derby players and travelling supporters felt that they should have been awarded two penalties. The first incident came when Jack Hobbs appeared to clip Hulse’s heels inside the box, but referee Mike Dean waved away the appeals. The second penalty appeal involved Hulse again, this time Morrison appeared to interfere with the striker as the two players jostled for position inside the box but again referee Dean was not convinced.

Kris Commons twice went close to sealing the 3 points for the Rams

Kris Commons twice went close to sealing the 3 points for the Rams

Leicester thought they had made the breakthrough on 87 minutes but luckily for the Rams Howard was adjudged to be offside. In the dying stages Commons had a great chance to snatch the three points as he raced towards goal he was denied by a last ditch tackle from Hobbs.

Talking to the BBC after the game manager Nigel Clough said:
“I’m satisfied with a point, certainly after the first half. They dominated and we didn’t cope particularly well with what they were throwing at us and when we did get the ball we seemed to give it away, so it was a relief to get in at 0-0 at half time. Leicester have an extremely good home record and we expected them to come out of the blocks, but we were a bit nervy and it took our defence a while to get to grips with Steve Howard.  But the second half was much better and just the type of performance we are looking for away from home. We were solid and withstood some pressure but I don’t think Stephen Bywater has had a shot to save.”

Derby will look to use the momentum from this game going in the match against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night as they go in search of their first away victory of the season.

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