Derby County 1-0 Bristol City
Gary Teale was Derby’s match winner as he fired home his fourth goal of the season to secure Derby’s first win in September.
The Rams started shakily with Stephen Bywater having to make a point blank save from Alvaro Siborio in the very first minute. Derby paired Dean Leacock and Shaun Barker together at centre half for the first time and they took time to settle in what was a very even first half. Clear cut chances were few and far between, the best falling to home debutant James Vaughan. Some typically energetic work from Robbie Savage caused a slip in the Bristol defence but Vaughan placed his shot wide after a square ball from his captain. Siborio had a second opportunity for the visitors as he raced clear of the Derby defence but he was denied by an excellent recovery tackle from Barker.
Derby came out for the second half fired up and took control of the game. They were helped with the sending off of Jamie McCombe in the 56th minute. The Bristol City captain received his first yellow card for a poor tackle on Hulse near the corner flag, and two minutes later as Hulse latched onto a James Vaughan flick-on only he was cynically fouled by McCombe who rightly received his marching orders.
Derby used their man advantage to create numerous chances in the remaining 34 minutes; some poor finishes meant the majority were spurned. Lee Croft missed an open goal from a poor Basso clearance, Paul Dickov shot wide, Lee Hendrie put his placed shot over and Jake Livermore had two chances which both lacked power.
Frustration began to build around Pride Park as the team searched for the winning goal, and with 6 minutes to go Teale was the unlikely hero. The Scot had been on the receiving end of some criticism from the home fans for persistently over hitting his crosses, but in the 84th minute he redeemed himself with a wonderful finish. He took the ball down the left wing, drifted inside Paul Hartley and fired the ball into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Rams boss Nigel Clough praised his teams’ attitude; “We kept going and we kept playing and trying to do the right things. If you’ve created chances for 85 minutes you’ll keep creating them if you keep going. I thought the performance was very good and it’s nice to get what we feel we deserve.”
The return of Leacock will particularly please Clough, after 10 months out with a pelvic injury the centre half really shored things up at the back with dominance in the air and calmness in possession for which he rightly received the man of the match award.
The win leaves Derby 16th in the table with 10 points, but more importantly ends their four game losing streak and with a game at Cardiff on Tuesday they have a chance to get back to back victories.
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