Derby 5-0 Wolves (8/11/14)
This was the Derby we know. The Derby of the back end of last season that devastated oppositions. The side we have, in spite of good results, longed to see again. It arrived. In style.
Yet, still, the 4-1 play-off semi-final win over Brighton is still narrowly my favourite win under McClaren.
Firstly, the pre-match poppy display in the East Stand was a good idea in front of the cameras. It was a rare occasion that a sea of red was acceptable!
It also transpired that it wasn’t just raining horrifically, it was raining goals. Weather like that quickly comes bearable when you’re treated to this Derby side.
Actually, I thought the conditions would hinder the Rams and I wasn’t too confident about winning either. How stupid was I to think that?
From the off, it was clear that the hosts were up for this; they got in Wolves’ faces, passed confidently and, pleasingly, looked stylish. When this side clicks, it really does click perfectly.
Pleasing about the goals was the team nature of them. Everyone chipped in, as well as some delightful individual finishes.
The first goal came from an Omar Mascarell free-kick. All of a sudden, the Rams have looked dangerous from set pieces. I have had a gripe over set pieces with the team for a while! Omar’s lovely delivery was met wonderfully by the head of Ryan Shotton.
The next came from a throw-in but not quite direct as Simon Dawkins flicked on Cyrus Christie’s throw into the path of Jeff Hendrick, who, picked his spot into the bottom corner. It was an unstoppable drive.
Soon it was 3-0. Mascarell hit his corner too far for Richard Keogh to head direct in goal so, intelligently, the skipper headed back ito the mix. The ball found its way to the on-fire Johnny Russell. That wasn’t all though, he chested it into his path and away from the ball-watching defence and, unchallenged, hit it home. Magnificent.
3 up at the break, the Rams were cruising it. How would Wolves respond? Well, not very well. Their defence just couldn’t cope with the in-form home side.
The fourth went in courtesy of Hendrick. This was probably my favourite. Omar, Dawkins and, most significantly, Hughes, Martin and Jeff himself played some neat football to make this goal. It was quick passing and moving. Simple but joyful to watch. Hendrick finished with ease. Home and dry. Not quite dry, though the points were safe.
Next up was Russell. Again. In the build-up, a real treat came from the incredible Mascarell, who showed off his Spanish flair in some style.
Craig Forsyth, from a good distance out, hit an inviting ball across the Wolves box. Russell pounced on it and got the fifth. It looked easy from the stands, yet, on closer examination, it can’t have been easy to keep down with the ball zipping so quickly across the wet surface.
At that point, I was thinking it could be as many as 8, the amount the surprise package of the season so far Bournemouth hit at struggling Birmingham last month. The defending was abysmal.
The game fizzled out after that. It must be said that possession was pretty even with it being just 52% in Derby’s favour. Also, the visitors did have chances in front of goal. It was 6 on target and 5 goals for the ruthless Rams.
Picking a man of the match for me is a toss-up between Russell and Mascarell, while Hughes and Hendrick also had great games.
It will be hard to break up this eleven. It really ticked. The midfield, often a position incline to get a few questions raised over, had everything. Hendrick’s power and finishing means it will be hard to make a case for the injured Craig Bryson, still searching for real form, to return to the side.
A word on Mascarell. The loanee stopped the away side from playing and was at the heart of everything good about the Rams’ performance. He can pass very well too. Quietly, he is beginning to grow into the all important ‘Thorne’ role.
Last season Derby scored 5 in 4 separate matches. So far this season, they’ve managed it 3 times.
It’s a shame the international break is upon us. It does, however, mean we can drool over that performance for a little longer!