Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Sunday March 23 2008
Rams let it slip in the snow
The Rams slipped closer to the Championship after losing 1-0 against Middlesbrough at the Riverside, the home team easing their relegation fears with the win thanks to Tuncay Sanli`s cool finish.
The Turkish international ran on to George Boateng's flick to shoot low past Roy Carroll into the corner and pile further misery on Paul Jewell`s side who have won just one league game this season.
Jewell described the Rams first half as 'rubbish`, and he was right about that, but Boro had several good chances to double their lead after the break but the excellent Carroll made fine saves to deny Jeremie Aliadiere and Boateng.
The Rams could have nicked a point with a late rally, the best chance fell to Rob Earnshaw but he headed wide from an empty goal. The Rams winless Premier League run now stands at 25 games and the lowest point`s margin looks along way away on this form.
The Rams lost Mark Edworthy to injury and he was replaced in the starting line up by Andy Todd, and for half an hour the Rams frustrated Gareth Southgate's side and up until Tuncay's strike, but the busiest people on the pitch was the respective physios.
Rams Mile Sterjovski was forced out of the action after failing to recover from a late challenge from Lee Cattermole, which went unpunished by referee Martin Atkinson.
Moments later, Sterjovski's replacement, Emanuel Villa, was lucky the referee did not see his lunge on Gary O'Neil just before the break. Then Robbie Savage, Andrew Taylor and O'Neil all required treatment in a stop-start opening period. Both sides looked void of any ideas, and although the commitment could not be questioned, the quality certainly could.
Stewart Downing was the danger made for Boro and his trickery down the left saw him tease and torment Andy Todd, before firing in low cross which deflected off Savage almost diverted into his own net.
Then new England centre half David Wheater, who was called up by England earlier in the week, came closest to giving Boro the lead but Carroll reacted quickly to save. But the pressure finally told when Boro went ahead on 32 minutes and it was no surprise that Downing was involved in the build-up.
The England winger found Boateng whose clever pass freed Tuncay, he raced clear of chasing Todd and cut in the from the left and fired home past Carroll for his sixth goal of the season
Derby's only chance in a disappointing first half came from Kenny Miller, the Scottish international blazed well wide after a neat move involving Eddie Lewis.
Boro began the second half with much greater purpose and should have put the game out of sight, but with the Riverside Stadium turf getting ever more treacherous as snow fell, the Rams were indebted to another fine save from Carroll, this time with his feet from Aliadiere's effort on 70 minutes, to keep the deficit down to one
But with conditions getting worse the football seemed to follow suit as both sides were guilty of giving the ball away cheaply. The Middlesbrough faithful were getting restless, and the tension was evident as they tried to hang on to three vital points.
In fact the last 25 minutes the Rams dominated, which coincided with the introduction of Egyptian international Hosum Ghaly. He was involved in the Rams best chance on 84 minutes. His pass picked out Eddie Lewis, who nodded the ball back across goal for Todd to whip it back for Earnshaw.
But the Welshman, who rose no more than six yards from goal, somehow headed wide. Another quick Rams break ought to have produced more late on, Ghaly again sending Miller through, but he shot straight at Mark Schwarzer, with Stephen Pearson and Earnshaw either side of him to play in. Another lack lustre display from the Rams as they leave the Riverside, still without an away victory this season.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Young (Shawky 65), Wheater, Pogatetz, Taylor, O'Neil, Cattermole, Boateng, Downing, Aliadiere (Alves 86), Sanli (Johnson 86).
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Grounds.
Booked: Cattermole, Sanli.
Goals: Sanli 32.
Derby County: Carroll, Todd, Moore, Leacock, McEveley, Sterjovski (Villa 39), Savage (Ghaly 62), Jones (Pearson 62), Lewis, Earnshaw, Miller.
Subs Not Used: Price, Robert.
Referre: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).
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Date:Sunday March 23 2008
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