Frantic second-half sees Rams held

On the 10th anniversary of Brian Clough’s passing, Derby County and its supporters paid their tributes to Old Big ‘Ed. An applause was held on the 10th minute, just like at last weekend’s trip to the City Ground.

Prior to the match I read a fascinating article on the BBC Sport site and I do strongly recommend it. One of my favourite lines was “That Portuguese bloke at Chelsea, Jose what’s his name… He reminds me of me at the same age. But I were better-looking.” That was typical Clough with that strong charisma that, for me, helps set him above some of the other managerial greats.

Anyway, on with the match. Even though the Rams went 2-0 down it is a disappointment. The goal conceded and the command of possession meant I went home disappointed. Having said that, I can’t take anything away from the players, who, once again, showed mettle to come from behind. Here are some post-match points.

  • Derby should have capitalised on their complete domination in the first-half. Chances were missed it and the visitors were fortunate to go into the break at 0-0. In total, Derby had 18 shots, just 5 of which were on target in the whole match.
  • Craig Bryson has, it’s fair to say, not began the season well, but, today, like Tuesday, he has stepped up a gear. His wonderful goal will help bring back that confidence he oozed last season. Will Hughes, too, had an impressive game.
  • Failure to take one of the many chances in the first 45 left the Rams vulnerable to a Cardiff side clearly waiting for a chance to catch the hosts out. It came twice and they took their chances in such a clinical fashion that mean they were being very successful in spite of seeing so little of the ball. Smash and grab was written all over the match at 2-0. I was left thinking it wouldn’t be our day.
  • Is conceding becoming a problem? Two on Wednesday and another two today. Two lapses proved costly today.
  • Steve McClaren’s change in bringing on Jordan Ibe helped massively when the Rams were chasing the game. The loanee caused problems to the Cardiff defence and he clearly has a lot of pace and skill, which he used to be more direct. I think he must be close to getting a starting place, maybe on Tuesday night in the League Cup.
  • Taking set pieces is something Derby are just not effective at doing. At Forest last week, Craig Forsyth made a wonderful delivery that led to the Rams’ goal. This week, he didn’t, from my memory, take any.
  • An enormous 73% of the possession was from the home side. I’m sure it would have been much higher if you just counted the first-half alone. The midfield contributes hugely to Derby keeping the ball so much, Will Hughes has been great recently and I felt that John Eustace put in a good shift today, his passing range was good, but it was right that he was withdrawn as McClaren’s side looked to cancel out the Bluebirds’ (or Redbirds’) goals.
  • John Brayford returned to Pride Park. He was a player I hugely admired in his time as a Ram and I wish he was given more of a chance in the Premier League last season. Many of the home fans were frustrated at how long he took to take a couple of throw-ins as the match edged to its conclusion. Yes, it’s annoying when it is your team that is looking to go on and win and the opponents are doing everything to run down the clock, yet you can’t blame him; I’d expect a Rams player not to rush in the same position.
  • The result isn’t all that effective of the game. Derby were excellent in the first-half., Everything was there aside from the finishing.
  • Finally, the Rams are getting very close to their best and, I know it’s difficult to forget, but they’ve only lost one match so far this season.
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