Breaking News

Battling Rams hold off Boro

Paul Clement’s side earned a valuable point at home to Middlesbrough in their third league fixture of the 2015/2016 campaign. The Rams last started the season with three league draws in 1998/1999, their best season in the Premier League since moving to the iPro Stadium from the Baseball Ground only a couple of campaigns before.

Article by Fred Gough

Derby County [1] Middlesbrough [1] Attendance: 30,055

The game was billed as a clash of those many would say are going to be at the top end of the table come May in their ambitions to get promoted to the top flight and both have suffered the heartbreak of attending Wembley Stadium and coming home empty handed in the last two seasons.

It was Paul Clement who was appointed in replacement of Middlesbrough’s head coach Karanka when the Englishman followed his mentor Ancelotti to the Santiago Bernabeau stadium at Real Madrid.

The Derby County head coach decided on making two changes in the starting eleven from Saturday’s result against Charlton. Stephen Warnock unseated Craig Forsyth at left back and Andreas Weimann got his first home start replacing Johnny Russell.

The home side started with the better energy pushing Boro into their half and having to exploit long balls to find Spanish striker Kike. This was welcomed by loud roars from the crowd as Derby pushed for their first goal in the opening 45 minutes of a match this season and nearly found it, after a neat one-two between Jeff Hendrick and Tom Ince, the Irishman saw his shot pushed away by the Middlesbrough goalkeeper.

However, despite the promising opening spell for the East Midlands outfit, it was the away side who found the net after sixteen minutes when Chris Baird was out-turned by George Friend whose deflected attempt found the feet of his team mate Kike who delicately chipped the ball over Carson from close range.

Moments later the ascendancy was growing for Middlesbrough as Grant Leadbitter’s free kick whizzed across the face of goal before Chris Martin failed to direct a Warnock cross anywhere near Konstantopoulous or the goal.

Derby have been unfortunate with injuries in the central midfield region and are attempting to bring in reinforcements after knowing that Will Hughes will not figure for several months. They were dealt a further two blows when reckless challenges on Hanson and Hendrick in a matter of minutes saw the pair limp off, replaced by Ryan Shotton who reverted to right back allowing Baird to move back into the midfield and Johnny Russell as Derby matched their opposition in formation.

The four minutes of stoppage time saw the Rams earn a free kick outside the box, which was brilliantly saved by the Greek goalkeeper.

Half Time: Derby County 0 Middlesbrough 1

Derby continued to show encouraged play as they tried hard to get beyond the lines of defence that had served Middlesbrough well in their 2014/2015 campaign and kept 19 clean sheets with Konstantopolous between the posts.

The 2003/2004 League Cup winners were always quick to counter attack using Albert Adomah’s pace to stretch the tiring legs of Derby’s defenders but could not double their lead.

After Clement’s final throw of the dice, bringing on Darren Bent for his former Aston Villa team mate Andreas Weimann, Derby surged forward more and if it hadn’t been for heroics of the Boro goalkeeper, Chris Martin would have celebrated his 100th start in Derby colours with a goal.

The Rams’ persevering pressure paid off with two minutes to go after Ryan Shotton’s diagonal ball into the box found his fellow substitute Johnny Russell who fired low and hard past the former Coventry and Hartlepool United goalkeeper to earn Derby a fair share of the result.

Full Time: Derby County 1 Middlesbrough 1

Paul Clement may not have tasted victory as Derby County Head Coach yet and some fans may be concerned by that, however there are positives to what he has done since replacing Steve McClaren.

He has made the defence a lot harder to beat, especially after high scoring draws against
Huddersfield Town and Millwall and a grim defeat at home to Reading towards the back end of the last season proved costly. He has encouraged his players to continue to fight even when they have been behind and kept them running till the referee blows the final whistle.

The injuries to Hughes, Bryson et al has not helped Derby make a rampant start to this SkyBet Championship campaign and has made them seem a bit slow and sluggish when trying to break through their opposition but if the right replacements are found then Derby will get their reward sooner rather than later. Keep the faith in Paul Clement as he is showing that he is doing things his own way and I believe they will work out just fine.


DCFC [4-3-3] –Carson, Baird (capt), Keogh, Shackell, Warnock, Thorne (y/c – 36), Hanson (Shotton - 39) , Hendrick (Russell – 43), Ince, Martin & Weimann (Bent - 72); Substitutes – Grant, Pearce, Shotton, Forsyth, Dawkins, Russell & Bent.

Middlesbrough [4-2-3-1] – Konstantopoulos, Kalas, Ayala, Gibson, Friend (y/c – 22), Leadbitter (capt), Clayton, Adomah, Fabbrini (y/c 44) (Reach – 74). Downing (Forshaw -89) & Kike (Stuani – 77) ; Substitutes – Mejias, Stephens, Stunai, Reach, Nsue, Forshaw & Nugent.

Images - DCFC Media

© e-Media Group 2015 All rights reserved no part of this document or this website may be reproduced without consent of @e_media_group

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.