Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Birmingham felt like a defeat.
For the entire game, Derby dominated. The midfield were comfortable, the defence rarely troubled and, typically, Johnny Russell was working his socks off but in the more unusual position as the central striker as the attack’s focal point.
I just couldn’t envisage a situation where Birmingham could get back in it, they rarely threatened.
Before I start on the absolute madness I just want to talk about Raul Albentosa, who made his league debut for the Rams. Although he didn’t have too much to do, he had a decent outing and will obviously be no pushover for any striker. I think McClaren will stick with him and Keogh this week at Carrow Road.
Onto the injury time and how on earth can a viable promotion contender draw from 2-0 up? It’s now 8 conceded in the last 4 matches and since the beginning of February, 15 goals have been conceded.
Tom Ince will know what he should have done with the ball that led to the penalty. As for the last goal, defenders were on the floor watching it and there was complete all round chaos with an away side so much more driven to win the first, second and third balls in the box. I have to say it was a a great ball across goal by Wes Thomas to assist the equalising goal.
And what about the ref? Throughout the game he was poor. Iain Williamson is his name and alarm bells will ring in my head when I next hear his name, just like with the infamous Stuart Attwell who needs no introduction. What was he thinking? Did he just want to make a name for himself? If so, he has succeeded with flying colours.
A minimum of 3 minutes of added time were given. OK, fair enough. The penalty, which was undeserved as it wasn’t a foul, was in the time. I give the ref 30 seconds or maybe generously just shy of minute with all the arguing about the penalty to add onto the added time. But, no, he plays another three minutes. Utter madness. Even the most hardened Blue must admit that the ref lost the plot but credit to their team for that comeback.
Fortunately, no other side seem capable of putting a run together. Losing three in a row and remaining in the top two is quite something.
The run of games now are good or bad, depending on which way you look at it. Opportunities to beat our rivals but, slip up, and things look a lot tougher to catch up. Here’s the run: Norwich away, Boro at home, Wolves away, followed by an international break and then Watford at home. A brief break of matches against promotion contenders after the Watford game is followed by Brentford at home.
I remain confident that the Rams will achieve promotion but it really is anyone’s for the taking. C’mon Derby!