Derby 4-1 Bolton
The Rams began the match with just one change from last week’s win at Cardiff, in came Tom Ince for Simon Dawkins.
The scoreline doesn’t reflect the match for a large part of the first-half, Bolton were in the match and not totally on the back foot. Derby’s first goal arrived just over five minutes before the break, after that the hosts beamed confidence and could open up the away side a little more.
Tom Ince looked more than capable from the off. His movement off the ball and neat touches were helpful for Derby. And that free-kick, wow! His second goal polished off a lovely move, which epitimised the performance. Jordon Ibe, who’s that? Well, Ibe started for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby.
Another gem in the win was, of course, Will Hughes. In fact, the midfield three had a superb outing. Hughes is clearly a class above. It was always a worry that other sides would try and give him a rough time and that Hughes would struggle as a result, but, clearly, he can match that now and is a very clever player. I think it is most noticeable when he is not in the team – look at the second-half against Forest. He is the calming, intelligent figure in the team.
Omar Mascarell put in a good shift. Since the new year, the loanee has grown more into his role. Meanwhile, Jeff Hendrick certainly had one of his best games in a while. His two goals will have done him a lot of good.
A remarkable crowd of over 30,300 was at Pride Park for a game that certainly, on the face of it, wouldn’t be considered as a blockbuster. Winning and good performing teams draw the crowds in.
After the two loan signings on Tuesday, Steve McClaren’s squad looks even stronger. Jesse Lingard didn’t emerge from the bench yesterday. Here are the subs in full: Roos, Christie, Warnock, Dawkins, Bryson, Bent and Lingard. Just look at the quality there and that’s not even in the starting eleven! And there’s still a certain George Thorne to come back, as well as Johnny Russell. This squad has the quality, strength and depth to go up.
Elsewhere, Bounemouth won 3-1 at Wigan, setting up a real top of the table clash on Tuesday night. Both sides are level on points, can we nick a win? Would you take a draw?
The match won’t quite make or break the season for either of the clubs but a three point advantage at the top would be great to build on.
Come on you Rams!