Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Sunday April 20 2008
Rams edged out at Upton Park
The Rams showed a great deal more quality than last week`s 0-6 thrashing at home to Aston Villa but they are still without a win under Paul Jewell as West Ham luckily found victory at Upton Park.
The opener came after Dean Leacock lost Hammers striker Bobby Zamora in the box and he nodded home on 25 minutes but Derby hit back when Tyrone Mears fired home the equaliser past Robert Green on 65 minutes and the Rams were looking the likely side to go on and win their first away victory of the season.
But substitute Carlton Cole spoilt that by scoring from a close-range volley 10 minutes later to leave the visitors desolate.
Paul Jewell brought back Mile Sterjovski and Dean Leacock to the starting line-up in East London - Leacock for Darren Moore and Sterjovski for Tito Villa, meaning the Australian was playing through the middle with Kenny Miller. Otherwise the Rams were unchanged with Moore and Villa dropping to the bench.
It was scrappy opening the game with the Rams giving as good as they got, and they were backed by another fantastic following behind the goal.
But the Hammers slowly worked their way into it, with Freddie Sears a lively focal point in attack, and they were rewarded with the opening goal.
It was a disappointing goal from a defence point of view for the Rams, George McCartney floated over a free-kick for Zamora to head home with very little resistance from challenging defender Leacock.
But the Rams didn`t let the goal get to them and they did hit back. A flash of excellent link-up play from David Jones and Mile Sterjovski let Mears in down the right, he found Jones again whose shot was deflected wide. From the resulting corner Kenny Miller hooked just over the bar as the Rams looked to get back into the game.
Moments later Captain Robbie Savage then went close with a flying header which Robert Green did well to tip over the bar.
The Rams came quickly out of the blocks after the brea, and Jones flashed a low cross across the six-yard box which Sterjovski and Miller just failed to connect with.
Derby continued to look creative in possession with Miller impressive and Savage, roundly booed throughout, in the thick of the action.
With West Ham on the back foot, Sterjovski played Mears in on 65 minutes and Green had to be alert to smother at the Derby man's feet as he charged in on goal.
But Derby made the breakthrough they deserved minutes later, catching West Ham on the counter attack. Former Spurs midfielder Hossam Ghaly sent Mears through again and this time the former West Ham defender finished powerfully past Green from 18 yards, much to the delight of the Rams fans behind the goal.
It was game on as the Rams searched for the vital three points, which would be their first on the road this season, and they looked the most likely to get another goal.
But Curbishley brought Sears off for Cole, who converted Freddie Ljungberg's cross from six yards out after the Swede's slick exchange of passes with Mark Noble had carved Derby open down the left.
It was a bitter blow for the Rams, and skipper Savage headed over in stoppage time and Derby now need five points from their remaining three matches to ensure their season is not the most unsuccessful Premier League campaign ever.
West Ham: Green, Pantsil, Tomkins, Neill, McCartney, Faubert (Solano 78), Noble, Parker, Ljungberg (Boa Morte 90), Sears (Cole 74), Zamora.
Subs Not Used: Walker, Mullins.
Booked: Noble, Parker.
Goals: Zamora 20, Cole 77.
Derby County: Carroll, Todd (McEveley 83), Leacock, Stubbs, Lewis, Mears, Ghaly, Savage, Jones (Villa 75), Sterjovski, Miller.
Subs Not Used: Price, Feilhaber, Moore.
Goals: Mears 65.
Referee: Steve Tanner (Somerset).
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Date:Sunday April 20 2008
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