Derby won their third match in a row by 2-0 last night with a win over Bournemouth. It is now unbeaten in nine for McClaren’s Rams, whose only defeat was a 3-2 loss at unbeaten Charlton back in August.
Bournemouth presented a different opposition than the usual away side that defends & tries to catch Derby out on the break at Pride Park. They were comfortable on the ball, quick in attack at times but they got numbers behind the ball very quickly to stifle the hosts.
I felt it was time for Omar Mascarell to start but McClaren kept Eustace in the side. It seemed like the ideal match for him.
Again, it was an excellent, professional performance from Derby.
The Cherries’ sharp Callum Wilson looked a handful. Derby coped.
At half-time things were level yet I was convinced that the home team would win. They ‘usually find a way’ I said. And the Rams sure did.
The away side managed to bring themselves more into the game and enjoyed longer spells of possession. However, an odd few minutes of restlessness as to what happened sparked the hosts to life.
I don’t know why the goal didn’t stand. The ball trickled in seconds after the foul. On seeing the replay, it was a clear handball from Lee Camp and was sent off. The referee appeared to point towards the halfway line indicating a goal and changed his mind! A free-kick was awarded, Martin whacked it against the frame of the goal (he likes free-kicks against this side!).
After that strange string of events, Derby were the only side likely to score. The first was terrific from Will Hughes, with the help of Chris Martin’s clever pass. The second was finished by Martin after a cracking Johnny Russell cross. Game, set and match.
The way Derby get themselves through these sort of situations is very admirable. It is rare for Derby not to get through them on hone soil. Yes, patience is tested (by the ref too last night) but as these games go on it is usually one side that looks like winning.
Will Hughes was, for me, the best of the pitch. Over the past few weeks he has been remarkable. Clearly Derby’s best player. Such clever touches, positioning & drive forward makes him so good to watch.
Also among the standouts was Chris Martin, effective in the goals and Cyrus Christie, bombing forward, as well as the non-stop Craig Bryson.
Derby are looking like the side that fans have grown used to over the past twelve months. One year ago today, cries of ‘sack the board’ echoed around the ground. Incredible turnaround.