Derby County v Scunthorpe United

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Football League Championship

Derby County3(2)Scunthorpe United2(1)

Cywka 3, Commons 37 (pen), Moore 59

Forte 27, O'Connor 75 (pen)

Derby County :
Fielding, Brayford, Roberts, Leacock, Green, Savage, Pearson, Cywka, Commons (Moxey 76), Bueno (Pringle 63), Moore (Kuqi 87).
Subs not used:
Bywater, Anderson, Doyle.

Scunthorpe United :
Murphy, McNulty, Jones, Byrne, Raynes (McClenahan 45+3), O'Connor, J.Wright, McDonald, Sears, Forte (Thompson 84), N'Guessan (Woolford 55).
Subs not used:
Warner, Palmer, Dagnall, Godden.


by Derby Telegraph at Pride Park

THE margin of victory was not as convincing as those against Crystal Palace and Watford, nor was the display as free-flowing as the ones which beat Middlesbrough, Preston North End and Portsmouth.

Derby County had to dig deep at times to beat Scunthorpe United 3-2 in their latest home win but the outcome was equally as satisfying as the previous five.

It is now six consecutive League victories at Pride Park Stadium, the longest run of home wins since Jim Smith's team recorded eight on the spin at the Baseball Ground in 1995-6 on their way to promotion.

That was a good time to be watching Derby and so is this.

Derby sit fourth with 30 points from 18 games and a healthy goal difference of 11, which is handy in a division as congested as the Championship.

Scunthorpe find themselves down in 20th place but their record on the road and the way they set up in away games makes them dangerous opponents.

They have pace across the front line which allows them to counter with menace, which they did at times against a Derby defence disrupted by changes.

Shaun Barker served a one-match ban and a sickness bug in the camp kept Dean Moxey and James Bailey out of the line-up. Bailey has been an ever-present shield for the back four.

Midfielder Paul Green filled in at right back and had some difficult moments defensively.

Centre-back Dean Leacock had a few wobbles early on and Gareth Roberts had a below-par afternoon at left-back in his first start since mid-September.

Roberts was caught out for both of Scunthorpe's goals and a second yellow card 15 minutes from time saw him sent off to leave the Rams with 10 men against a Scunthorpe side sensing the chance to grab a point.

Given all the circumstances, this was a far, far better win than the scoreline might suggest.

Scunthorpe inflicted plenty of pain on Derby last season and their 4-1 victory at Pride Park in January was the lowest point of Nigel Clough's 22 months as manager.

Derby wanted to erase the memories and ease the pain of that afternoon and they started in determined fashion.

Tomasz Cywka had already driven a shot straight at Joe Murphy before he gave the Rams a second-minute lead.

Alberto Bueno was back in the side after injury and he found Cywka in acres of space on the corner of the area. Cywka this time drilled an unstoppable low shot across Murphy and into the bottom corner.

Murphy denied Kris Commons as Derby looked for a second but Scunthorpe responded in a confident manner.

Rob Jones' header from a corner was blocked on the line and John Brayford twice had to be alert to mop up at the back as the visitors threatened.

Brayford was excellent again.

He switched seamlessly from his right-back role to centre-back and his terrific attitude means he would probably deliver a top-notch performance wherever he is asked to play.

Some of his defending and surges from the back had supporters drooling with appreciation. Watching him, it is remarkable to think he had never played at this level before he signed from Crewe in the summer.

But Scunthorpe continued to threaten and they equalised after 27 minutes.

They broke from a Derby corner and Roberts was in trouble once Michael O'Connor played the ball in behind him. Roberts was shrugged off and then outpaced by Jonathan Forte, who coolly curled the ball beyond Frank Fielding.

The finish was from the top drawer but a team should not concede from their own corner.

Derby regained the lead eight minutes before half-time when Commons smashed home a penalty for is 10th goal of the season after Bueno was upended by O'Connor.

Bueno put O'Connor in trouble when he ran at him in the area and there was contact. Whether Bueno would have caught the ball before it went out of play is another matter and the Scunthorpe players thought the Spaniard went down too easily.

The decision went Derby's way, others haven't this season.

Scunthorpe manager Ian Baraclough was not happy.

He felt some of the decisions made by referee James Linington were baffling, which they were, but Baraclough's team could easily have been reduced in numbers before the break.

O'Connor was fortunate to escape a second yellow card and skipper Cliff Byrne was on thin ice for constantly barging Commons over.

Derby might have extended their lead three minutes into the second half when Bueno released Stephen Pearson but Murphy was out quickly to block the shot.

Leacock's defending became more assured as the game unfolded.

He made a superb tackle on Kevin McDonald in the first half and a last-ditch tackle to deny Freddie Sears as the striker was about to pull the trigger with the score at 2-1.

Leacock's intervention doubled in importance when the Rams grabbed a third goal just before the hour.

Scunthorpe failed to clear their lines and Pearson found Cywka in the box.

He squared for Luke Moore who, with his back to goal, took a touch before he fired a left-foot shot on the turn from 12 yards into the top corner with Murphy rooted to the spot.

Again, the finish was wonderful but Baraclough will feel his defenders should have got tighter to Moore who, other than scoring a fine goal, had a quiet game on his first start at Pride Park.

Derby had responded well to the defeat at Leicester but then three minutes the experienced Roberts will want to forget made life unnecessarily tricky in the closing stages.

Roberts was yellow-carded for a foul on Sears and then he got himself into a tangle as he tried to defend a long diagonal pass.

He appeared to have the situation under control but lost the ball and brought down substitute Martyn Woolford in the area.

Out came a second yellow followed by a red. Roberts walked and O'Connor hammered his penalty high past Fielding to reduce the deficit to one goal and set up a nervy finale.

The announcement that there would be five minutes of added time increased the tension but chants of "come on Derby" encouraged the players.

Skipper Robbie Savage was recalled after being left out in the previous game and his know-how and use of the ball was important throughout the contest.

Derby stood firm and Scunthorpe could not make the extra man count as Trent McClenahan, Garry Thompson and Josh Wright were all off target with efforts.

Derby's positive start to each half, the football they played in patches and the determination they showed at other times earned them a deserved victory.

They failed to win any of their first three home matches of the season.

Now they cannot stop winning at Pride Park.