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Fun in the Sun

Derby County
2 - 2
FC Utrecht

Pride Park, Derby

02/08/08 3.00pm

Attendance: 9, 645


The last friendly before the season starts for real brought Derby up against the team who finished 10th in the Dutch Eredivisie, FC Utrecht, in an entertaining game that finished with honours even on a hot afternoon at Pride Park. A new inclusion for the match was Andrey Pereplotkin, a 23 year old Latvian international on trial from Skonto FC, who showed some nice touches and on this outing seems worth another look. FC Utrecht wore what appeared to be their training kit, without numbers or names on their backs, presumably due to a clash with their diagonally halved red and white kit.

The game started at a quick tempo with both sides showing some neat touches. Commons, looking lively down the left put in a nice cross for Hulse who just headed over from the angle before Utrecht took the lead through Leroy George after 15 minutes. A swift counter attack seemed to have been thwarted when McEveley got back to make a challenge but a neat cut back found George in space in the box who scored with a neat finish with Carroll stranded. The lead was short lived however with McEveleys' storming run down the left three minutes later producing a whipped cross into the box and a quality header from Commons that levelled the match. The early signs for Commons look positive and he showed some neat touches and the spark that was sadly lacking going forward last season.

Commons and Pereplotkin switched flanks and Commons again threatened cutting in from the right and hitting a firm drive that de Ruiter in the Utrecht goal did well to hold. Pereplotkin then pressured the full back, Schaken, and won the ball from him in the box before being hauled down winning Derby a penalty in the 37th minute. After protests from the Utrecht players Nathan Ellington placed the ball on the spot and calmly sent the keeper the wrong way to give Derby the lead. Albrechtsen then came close with a header from a Pereplotkin corner as Derby upped the pressure but were unable to breach the Utrecht defence again before half time.

Utrecht had played the ball around well and showed some neat touches without really threatening in the first half but that almost changed shortly after the break with Carroll called into action to save a van Dijk free kick. George then blazed over on the volley from eight yards from a looping cross and Utrecht earned themselves a penalty in the 60th minute when McEveley was harshly adjudged to have clipped George when tackling from behind in the box although there was no great protest from the Rams players. Van Dijk stepped up and hit a tame penalty that Carroll will probably be disappointed he didn`t do better with to again level the score.

The substitutions came thick and fast with Leacock, Davies and Villa coming on for Derby, Leacock again being deployed in a defensive midfield role. Utrecht themselves made six substitutions and the overall flow of the game became disjointed with neither side able to carve out any real chances. Connolly, Stewart and Addison soon followed as Paul Jewell changed things around at the back but the Rams still looked fairly comfortable. A late period of pressure nearly brought a winner as Commons beat his man and hung up a cross but Villa couldn`t get enough behind it and game finished all square.

Star Player

Kris Commons - Looked lively on his Pride Park debut putting some dangerous crosses in and with a neat header for the Rams first goal. If he can keep this up we've got a ourselves a player whatever the Forest fans say.

Player Ratings

Roy Carroll 6

Not much to do and probably could have done better with the penalty but looked much better behind a solid defence.

Tyrone Mears 7

Pace down the right and some neat linkups with Pereplotkin in the first half. Got back well when needed and looked very comfortable.

Jay MeEveley 6

A couple of good runs forward and looks much more of a player than last season now he has some confidence, looks to be first choice left back ahead of Stewart at the moment.

Paul Green 6

Looked good early on with some neat interceptions and some good passing, faded slightly in 2nd half but his game is not suited to the warm conditions.

Martin Albrechtsen 7

Assured at the back, two headers from corners that troubled Utrecht and one tackle, run and pass to Ellington in the second half that showed his quality on the ball.

Alan Stubbs 7

You know what you get from Stubbs, old fashioned no-nonsense defending and organisation across the back. Captain for the match and the sensible choice to replace Savage with the captains armband.

Andrey Pereplotkin 7

Nice touches, bit of trickery and can find a pass, will grow with more time with his teammates if taken up after his trial.

Przemyslaw Kazmierczak 6

Looked good in patches but didn't dominate the match in the manner his physical stature suggests he can, it'll come once he is settled in and is match sharp.

Nathan Ellington 7

Did everything asked of him, led the line alongside Hulse and worked the defenders well and took his penalty with confidence, could be a good pick-up.

Rob Hulse 6

Held the ball up and showed some neat touches but on the edge of the game and hopefuly there's more to come as suggested in other pre-season games.

Kris Commons 8

See above, lively, skilfull and a hand full for the defence, looks good so far.

Substitutions 6

Davies (for Pereplotkin 64 mins)
Villa (for Hulse 65 mins)
Leacock (for Kazmierczak 65 mins)
Connolly (for Mears 71 mins)
Stewart (for McEvely 71 mins)
Addison (for Albrechtsen 76 mins)

Manager Rating

Paul Jewell seems to have totally changed not only the personnel but the outlook of the team and no heads went down when goals were conceded even if this was just a friendly. Some good signings over the summer and lots to look forward to this season, Jewell could be the man to change the club round.

Date:Saturday August 2 2008
Time: 7:51PM

Best of Vital Network


Will it may be while before you play foreign opposition in a major tournament.
02/08/2008 21:30:00
Really good match report Mike, delighted to have you onboard as part of the team and reading the other reports throughout the season (and of course other articles you write as well.)
03/08/2008 13:45:00
Who do you support then storagematt?
03/08/2008 13:46:00
great match report and very good crowd as well...............
04/08/2008 14:11:00
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