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Rams celebrate win against Lilywhites

Since the defeat against Leeds United on Bank Holiday weekend, changes had been made at the iPro Stadium, two new midfielders arrived in the form of Jacob Butterfield and Bradley Johnson from Huddersfield Town and Norwich City respectively and the latter becoming Derby County’s record signing only weeks after Tom Ince had broken ended Robert Earnshaw’s claim in Derby County history.

Article by Fred Gough

Preston North End [1] Derby County [2] - Attendance: 14,552

Also Mel Morris bought out the rest of the 78% of his local club from the North American Derby Partners LP, an investors consortium with names like Jeff Mallett and W. Brett Wilson being involved to become owner at the East Midlands club, only three months after confirming his place as chairman as well.

Paul Clement took his side to Preston; the Lilywhites had been promoted via the League One Play-offs last season and were looking to keep up the momentum that had earned the Lancashire side a place back in the Championship whilst Derby were still looking for their first win of the new season and first away win since Easter Monday in the previous campaign. The Rams’ head coach made five changes to his starting eleven for this game.
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Wearing their new sky blue third strip, the Rams set the tone they wanted to produce in the early moments when debutant Johnson had a long range effort deflected away and the resulting corner caused confusion for the home side’s defence as they scrambled away a Chris Martin header.

Scottish winger / forward Johnny Russell looked ever probing had teed up his fellow Scotland international striker Martin but the attempt failed to find the target, however the two players combined as Derby counter attacked, as Russell’s sweeping cross found the Rams’ number nine who calmly stroked the ball past on loan goalkeeper Jordan Pickford sending the travelling 3,234 supporters into delight.

Derby hadn’t scored first in a match since their 4-4 against Huddersfield in April during the 2014/2015 campaign and had not found the target in the first half all season so far. The Rams certainly weren’t happy with just a one goal lead as Bradley Johnson had an effort that squirmed wide straight after.
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Again on the counter attack, Russell made a bold and individual run through the middle of the Lancashire side’s half, drawing a foul from former Newcastle United trainee Paul Huntington and a yellow card for his attempts to stop the lively forward at the edge of the penalty area. With many players standing over the ball, it was Chris Martin who struck it and beat the wall and the goalkeeper with a rasping drive to double his tally for the day and put Derby 2-0 ahead.

Half Time: Preston North End 0 Derby County 2

The early second half saw the Rams’ other deadline day signing Butterfield have an attempt which failed to make it a more memorable occasion for the Bradford born creative midfielder. Johnson also tested Pickford once more but Preston after making a double change bringing on their end of the transfer window debutants started to take their hold of the game and were determined to claw something from the match.

Efforts from strikers Stevie May and Joe Garner piled up shots upon the Derby goal, but must have felt their luck was missing. Garner went within a whisker of halving the score-line as his shot hit the inside of the post but rebounded gratefully into Lee Grant’s arms.
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It would be the former Nottingham Forest striker whose fearless attempt to get his side back in the game that he accidentally clashed heads with Northern Irish international and Derby’s captain Chris Baird.

Baird stayed unconscious upon the field for ten minutes and with the Rams already made their three allowed substitutes, they would have to play the lengthy stoppage time with ten men. It was later confirmed that Baird was discharged from Royal Preston Hospital.

One of those substitutes, Andreas Weimann looked to make it three for the away side, but his shot was beaten away the young goalkeeper Pickford and that spurred the Lilywhites to go on and find a deserved goal, Jamaican midfielder Daniel Johnson hit a tame shot which took a slight deflection to beat Lee Grant and prevent Derby keeping an away day clean sheet.

Full Time: Preston North End 1 Derby County 2

Paul Clement remarked in his post match interview that he felt the result was most important aspect to take from this game, the character displayed in the first half was exactly what he had hoped for but the second half performance continued further worry the Head Coach as Derby did start to look a bit poorer as the game wore on. Chris Baird’s injury was unfortunate, and hopefully he will be back before the end of the month, his leadership shall be certainly missed in the next game for the Rams against Reading on Tuesday evening.
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Johnny Russell’s energy and Chris Martin starting to find the form which has meant he has ended both his full seasons so far at the iPro Stadium as top scorer epitomised why Derby won their first game under the new management, however there are still forty league matches to go this season and plenty to work upon to keep the faithful believing they will return to the Premier League.

The game in Berkshire on Tuesday will be a tough test to see whether the Rams can class themselves back in the top half of the table and find that ascendancy which will propel them. Reading scored five good goals and looked worthy of doing so against Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich on Friday and hopefully the more assured looking centre half paring of Richard Keogh and Jason Shackell can hold their nerve. Last season saw Derby’s first win at the Madjeski Stadium since 2005, I anticipate it will be a great achievement if Paul Clement makes it two wins in two.


Preston North End [3-5-2] –Pickford, Clarke (capt), Wright, Huntington (y/c – 35), Vermijl (May – 55), Kilkenny, Welsh (Humphrey – 70), Johnson, Cunningham, Keane (Doyle – 55) & Garner (y/c – 90+5); Substitutes – Humphrey, Doyle, Woods, Browne, Brownhill, May & Kirkland.

DCFC [4-3-3] – Grant, Christie, Keogh, Shackell, Warnock (Forsyth – 79), Baird (capt (y/c – 55)), Butterfield (Hendrick – 61), Johnson, Ince (Weimann -74), Martin & Russell (y/c – 75); Substitutes – Forsyth, Hendrick, Bent, Carson, Weimann, Hanson & Shotton.

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