Tough test ends in draw


Derby 2-2 Brighton​
A good game between two clear top of the table sides. Fair result? I think so, both sides had their chances and moments during a competitive match. Either side could have won. 

Brighton were very impressive and were able to frustrate the Rams at times, as well as not allowing their opponents to have many errors without going punished. They have an excellent hardworking and well organised side. Effective and quick in possession, they were a constant threat on the break and were backed up by a largely solid defence with a well oiled midfield machine in front of them. Dunk (what a challenge when Ince was about to put it in the net at 1-2) and Greer seem a good pairing at the back. The on loan Man Utd youngster Wilson looked like a neat player, leaving me thinking if only Derby could’ve picked him up on loan instead.

As for the home side, Derby had the most possession but that didn’t result in total dominance due to the effectiveness of the visitors. You have to be pleased with the character to get back level after going 1-0 then 2-1 behind, having said that does it take going behind for the Rams to up the tempo? It certainly can feel that way, maybe some of it is down to the control the away side had at certain points of the game. 

The first-half felt a bit stop-start at times with a lot of tackles flying around. The second-half had its share of action but did go flat at a point, which suited Brighton. 

Clement went with an unchanged team. Ince put in a lively display and would have got a goal on another day against a different side. Martin wasn’t in the game at all times, although he created chances and ended his dry spell in front of goal with that calm penalty. Johnson is still a beast of a midfielder and Butterfield is a clever player, however both were caught out at times in the midfield area. At the back the two centres halves Keogh and Shackell both put in a good shift. Warnock still looks solid. Grant in goal didn’t have a lot to do in all.

Zamora came on for Albion late on to a lot of expected boos. That name still gives me nightmares. He nearly had a chance on goal late on with a neat touch down in the box, only for Shacks to intervene. Phew. 

Goals

The opener was a burst of energy and great cross, the Rams could do little apart from be slightly better prepared for the Brighton counter attack with Christie caught out slightly further up the pitch. Looking back on the replay it was a brilliant touch from Wilson over Grant. 

Derby’s first equaliser was a good header from Johnson from a decent Butterfield corner. I don’t think anyone would fancy marking Johnson in the box!

The third goal of the game was the most disappointing from a Rams perspective. Sloppy play in the middle of the park made Derby vulnerable to a quick paced attack. Good finish in the end. 

Dubiously, the last goal came from the penalty spot. Was it handball? It seems harsh and wouldn’t have been given by every referee. Credit to Martin for scoring the spot kick. 

Overall

As a home game it can feel like two points lost but yesterday I feel it was one gained. Brighton did a good job and very nearly pulled it off. Derby had to be patient on the ball and got back in the game for twice behind. It was a good test and demonstrated how close it could end up being in April and May. 

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