At last a win!
Attendance: 10, 091
Paul Jewell finally has a victory as Derby County manager and no matter how scrappy it was at times and how nervous everyone was with ten minutes to go the monkey is finally off his back. Quite how pivotal Nathan Ellingtons 83rd minute strike will prove to be remains to be seen but if he hadn`t managed to poke home a scrappy equaliser and Lincoln Citys` lead had held the pressure would have begun to build on Jewell only two games into the season. As it was their was only going to be one winner from then on in and Ellington went on to complete his hat-trick, the first by a Rams player since Arturo Lupoli, and Derby ran out comfortable winners.
Lincoln started the match quickly and were soon on the attack and forced a corner early on when the ball was headed behind from a whipped free-kick, the corner being cleared from in front of goal by Davis. Wright then had a chance in the box but couldn`t get his effort on target whilst under pressure. Derby then broke with Ellington forcing a save from Burch in the Lincoln goal and Commons whipping over a cross that was just flicked away from Hulse leading to a period of pressure from the Rams and a number of corners although nothing came from them.
Commons, starting on the right, was again looking lively and putting over some dangerous crosses and free-kicks without anyone quite getting on the end. Davies then threatened with Burch pushing away his effort after cutting in from the left. Well timed interceptions from Mears at one end and Beevers at the other prevented chances as the game opened up before Savage was put through on goal by a poor Beevers back pass only for his touch to let him down and he didn`t get an effort in on goal. Oakes then put a free-kick straight into the wall before a long range effort from Commons forced Burch into another save.
Lincoln were out well before the start of the second half for extra fitness work and it certainly seemed to pay off as they started the second half the strongest and took the lead in the 48th minute when Paul Green whipped in a cross for the virtually unmarked Ben Wright to flick home past the helpless Carroll. Derby attempted to step up the pace after falling behind and Mears went down under a Beevers challenge only for the referee to book the Derby man for diving. Ellington was then denied by an excellent challenge by Green and Jewell made the first change of the match bringing on Pereplotkins for Davies.
The crowd began to grow restless as Derby worked hard but failed to produce any clear cut chances and more changes followed with Hulse making way for Villa and a cheer as Kazmierczak replaced the ineffective Savage. It almost got worse for the home side with a sweeping move ending with Gall forcing a fine full length save from Carroll as Lincoln threatened to wrap the game up. With the game entering the last ten minutes and the Rams looking increasingly frustrated they finally struck when Pereplotkins made some room for himself before getting the ball across and Ellington slid in at the back post to level the match amidst protests for offside from the visiting players. With the tension almost visibly lifted Derby took control and Ellington was again denied by the Lincoln keeper when through on goal and a last ditch tackle denying Paul Green when well placed but the break through wouldn`t quite come.
As the game went into extra time Derby again stepped up the pressure with Commons and Ellington looking threatening and Villa being denied again by a Beevers challenge. Kazmierczak hit a shot into the ground only for Burch to save the bouncing effort and Paul Green then struck the post as Derby strived for the breakthrough. Derby finally took the lead as Ellington broke at the Lincoln defence, wrong footing Green, and finishing with a firm drive that stuck the bar on it`s way in. The one way traffic continued as Commons was denied by Burch only for Ellington to put the game out of reach minutes later turning and firing home from a partially cleared cross to complete his hat trick. The second half of extra time continued the Rams domination as Ellington nearly grabbed his fourth from another Commons cross. As the final whistle went Paul Jewell finally had his much awaited first victory as Derby manager, could this be the turning point for the season?
The old cliché says goals change games and Elllington certainly changed this one and maybe even the course of the season. It all looked bleak with ten minutes to go but after he poked home the result never seemed in doubt even if it took extra time for Derby to run out winners.
Roy Carroll 6
Tyrone Mears 7
Jay McEveley 6
Claude Davis 6
Martin Albrechtsen 7
Paul Green 6
Robbie Savage 6
Kris Commons 8
Steve Davies 6
Rob Hulse 6
Nathan Ellington 8
Andrejs Pereplotkins 7
Emmanuel Villa 6
Przemyslaw Kazmierczak 6
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