Derby County opened their pre-season friendly account with a 2-1 defeat to Blue Square Premier side Mansfield Town tonight.
Theo Robinson scored from the penalty spot in the first half to put The Rams ahead but The Stags fought back with two second half goals to taste victory over Derby.
Derby County First Half XI: Deeney, Naylor, Gjokaj, Keogh, Roberts, Doyle, Hendrick, B. Davies, Jacobs, Robinson, Ward.
The Rams opened the game brightly, having a chance in the opening minute. Mansfield got themselves more in the game for a spell, striker Matt Green missed a key chance in front of the Derby goal. After that The Rams dominated the half, stringing together plenty of passes. Theo Robinson’s movement was good up front beating The Stags’ offside trap, he got him self into some good positions but failed to make a couple of chances count. Shortly after Robinson missed a chance new signing Michael Jacobs was tripped after a mazy run, resulting in a Rams penalty. Striker Robinson stepped up and neatly rolled the ball into the corner, with Mansfield goalkeeper Alan Marriott having no chance after diving the wrong way. After Theo’s 34th minute penalty Derby continued to dominate the half until the Nottinghamshire side had a few chances towards the end of the half, including one effort cleared off the line by desperate Derby players. A impressive save from injury returning goalkeeper Saul Deeney also helped keep the score at 1-0. At the break The Rams went in with a 1-0 lead.
Derby County Second Half XI: Morch, Brayford, Galinski, Buxton, Jones, Coutts, Hughes, Bryson, Caton, Tyson, Bennett. Subs Not Used: Richards.
It didn’t take the home side long to draw level, after just 6 minutes into the half as Matthew Green scored hit the ball home from close range following a little scramble in the penalty area. Shortly afterwards Mansfield threw a headed chance away before Nathan Tyson missed for The Rams, hitting the ball over the woodwork. Mansfield got themselves ahead to complete the turn around not long afterwards. A neat pass was played to Meikle, who fired the ball from 12 yards into the Derby County goal. The Rams struggled in getting back in the game. Trialist James Caton went on a mazy run to feed the ball into Will Hughes, who couldn’t put the ball home. Derby couldn’t get back into the game after missing opportunities towards the end of the game to get shots on goal. The second half Derby side didn’t perform as well as the first half team, who passed the ball and created more goal opportunities.
Trialists: Valentin Gjokaj is a Swiss defender who was recently with Lucerne and has previously been trialled at Newcastle United. He looked quite comfortable when he was on the ball. The other trialist, James Caton is a former Bolton winger. Caton looked good when he got hold of the ball, making a couple of mazy runs down the left hand side. Chris Jones has not yet found a club since The Rams released him earlier this summer, he was the left back in the second half. He is training with The Rams to stay fit and was called upon as Derby haven’t got any other players who can play in that position!
New Signings: New skipper Richard Keogh seemed a bit of a ‘no-nonscience’ defender, clearing the ball well when needed. Keogh’s name was chanted a few times already in his first game! Will he make us fans forget Shackell? I think he will. Winger Michael Jacobs looked fantastic, he had a good touch and went on a few tricky dribbles. Paul Coutts didn’t have a massive impact in the second half, he linked up a couple of times with the strikers. Manager Nigel Clough said he was happy with how the three new signings did.
Mansfield Town Team: Marriott (GK); Beevers (Thompson 55), Pilkington, Jones, Owens (Sutton 77), Tolley, Clements (Roberts 76), Stevenson (Howell 45), Dyer, Green (Rhead 77), Meikle (Briscoe 74).
Subs Not Used: Redmond (GK), Dempster, Wright, Hand, Poku, Todd, Hutchinson.
Attendance: 2,596 (1,030 Derby County supporters).