Wolves 2-0 Derby
What to say?
Let’s start with the different set-up. McClaren went for 4-2-3-1 with Hughes and Bryson as the two, Ince, Lingard and Russell as the three and Bent returning to the side. It was an interesting change and, going forward, for a large chunk of the game it worked. Derby played some good stuff in the first-half and when they went 1-0 down a way back looked very possible. Hughes and Bryson linked up well.
Compared to the Middlesbrough and Norwich fixtures, the Rams did manage to use their possession better and create things. A lot of the 19 Derby shots were from the edge of the box (with Ince hitting the bar) but some were also efforts created by some neat play. I can also recall times in the first-half when Bent went close from a Forsyth cross.
Too often recently the referee has been mentioned post-match. Last night it is difficult not to discuss him. Darren Bent was brought down on the edge of the area, there’s no question of that, but why no advantage? Ince put the ball in the net. OK, so it’s a foul, what about a red card or a yellow at the very least? You can’t deny that he prevented a goalscoring opportunity.
When the teams returned for the second 45 my confidence had grown a lot, the visitors were starting to have greater control but Wolves remained a threat.
Now onto the horrific, nightmare errors. The first one, what an awful pass by Forsyth. Is it confidence or concentration? It’s hard to say. The second one, which came at a horrible team as Derby were firmly on top then, you have to point to Forsyth and then Grant.
Despite all of that, this performance was an improvement. Chances were created, their dominance was a flash from the Derby we know so there are signs of improvement, perhaps down to the change in system. However, you have to capitalise when you’re on top.
Now it’s the international break, which should give a chance for Chris Martin, George Thorne, Jeff Hendrick and John Eustace to recover. Unfortunately, things don’t get easier. Watford visit Pride Park in the next fixture.
It does seem now that Derby have blown it. The play-offs look tough to make at this rate. The team isn’t good enough at the moment. You can blame the ref but it doesn’t hide from the fact that the side is simply not there.
Some have suggested that this side is not as good as the side that ended last season. That is exactly right. As well as Wisdom, Thorne at the top of his game and Bamford’s impact, that side played with so much confidence. The Forest game in March last season and the home leg of the play-off semi-final are easily my two favourite games under McClaren.
We’re about to see what this current team is made of. Can they come back?