On Saturday Nigel Clough’s Derby County faced a difficult away trip to Birmingham City. The Blues had only lost once at home in the league, that came last week against Nottingham Forest.
After an early Derby chance Birmingham dominated the first half. Chances from Mutch and Townsend were saved by Frank Fielding. On 18 minutes Birmingham broke the deadlock, Mutch played a short corner to Townsened and Townsened crossed a low ball into the packed penalty area where the ball pin-balled around before taking a deflection off Husselklepp into the Derby goal.The Blues had more opportunities to double their advantage and so did Derby but neither team could get any more goals before the half time whistle. In the end the Rams were lucky to go into the break just 1-0 down.
The second half was action packed and perfect for the Football League Show’s main feature game. Derby’s defence had to be at their best in the opening minutes of the second half, clearing the ball from the goal line. It took Birmingham just 9 minutes in the second half to double their lead. An unmarked Marlon King ,who had been booed throughout by Derby fans, fired the ball past Frank Fielding from around 10 yards. After the goal Derby manager Nigel Clough brought on winger Ben Davies for Nathan Tyson, who took a knock in the latter stages of the second half. That substitution proved to be the turning point for Derby County. Ben Davies made an immediate impact, crossing the ball from midway in the Blue’s half to Steve Davies in the Blue’s box. Steve Davies headed the ball into the goal from Ben Davies’ brilliant curling cross. Birmingham goalkeeper Boaz Myhill got a hand to the header but couldn’t prevent it from hitting the back of the goal. It was Ben Davies’ first game in a while as he had found himself out of favour with manager Nigel Clough. The Ram’s second and equalising goal came just five minutes after Steve Davies’ goal. Paul Green played a neat ball through to Theo Robinson, who fired the ball into the Birmingham goal. The Blues’ offside trap had failed with Caldwell stepping up to make Derby striker Theo Robinson onside. After Derby’s second goal Birmingham couldn’t find a winning goal through numerous shots with Frank Fielding making some good saves. In the closing minutes of the game Blues’ sub Nikola Zigic was tripped by Paul Green in the Derby penalty area but the Referee gave Derby a free kick, booked Zigic and ignored the Birmingham supporters shouts for a penalty. It was a penalty but the referee hadn’t given the Rams much during the course of the game ! So the thrilling Npower Championship encounter ended 2-2, Derby showed great team spirit to come from two goals down to draw at a difficult away ground.
Derby County team: Fielding (GK); Green, Barker, Shackell, Roberts; Hendrick, Bryson, Carroll (Buxton 85); Tyson (B.Davies 59), Robinson, S. Davies (Ball 80).Subs not used: Legzdins (GK), Naylor.
Birmingham City team: Myhill (GK); Spector, Caldwell, C. Davies, Ramage; Burke (Redmond 85), N’Daw, Mutch, Townsend; Huseklepp (Zigic 71), King.Subs not used: Ibanez, Gomis, Elliott.
My Player Ratings-
Fielding- 7, Green – 6, Barker- 7, Shackell-7, Roberts- 7, Hendrick- 5, Bryson -6, Carroll – 5, Tyson – 6, Robinson – 6, S.Davies – 7. Subs- B.Davies- 7, Ball- 5, Buxton- 6.
My Man of the Match-
Shaun Barker. He was an instrumental figure in the closing stages as Birmingham piled on the pressure. he has to be one of Derby’s most consistent performers and he is forming a good partnership with fellow centre half Jason Shackell.
The attendance was 17,996 at St.Andrews stadium.
1415 Derby County supporters went to cheer on the Rams.
Next Fixture – V Blackpool (home).
Hopefully Ben Davies will get a chance from the off after making an instant impact at Birmingham.
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