Attendance: 16, 389
A half-time rocket from Paul Jewell did the trick as Derby turned round a torrid first half to earn a deserved point at Ashton Gate in this televised encounter. After Bristol City took a deserved lead in at halftime the Rams were first out of the blocks in the second half and equalised in the middle of twenty minutes of nearly total domination but they couldn`t snatch a winner and the game finished all square. Paul Green scored Derbys' first league goal of the season with a left foot effort after a poor attempt at a clearance fell at his feet and overall it was a deserved point and another step in the right direction. For the Rams it was another demonstration of the improving spirit in the squad to come from behind for the second time in a week.
Bristol City started the strongest and Michael McIndoe nearly gave them the lead three minutes in after exchanging passes with Dele Adebola and hitting a left foot effort that was well saved by Carroll down low. Adebola himself was then free in the area minutes later only for McEveley to get back with a magnificent tackle just as he was about to shoot and the ball rolled across the six yard box before being cleared to safety. Derby were struggling to get a foothold in the match but there was a chance to catch their breath after fifteen minutes when Jamie McCombe was stretchered from the field after a clash of heads with Claude Davis with a suspected fractured cheekbone to be replaced by Brian Wilson.
Derbys` first worthwhile effort on goal came in the twentieth minute when Hulse and Ellington combined to feed Kris Commons on the left, the former Forest man cut inside and hit a drive with his right foot that was headed behind for a corner from just in front of Weale in the Bristol goal. From the resulting corner Ellington just failed to make firm contact with Commons cross with the ball spinning across to the far side of the pitch. Bristol City then took the lead in the 22nd minute when they broke down the right, Williams slipped the ball behind McEveley for the substitute Wilson who hit a cross shot that Carroll got a hand to but could only palm the ball into the path of Nicky Maynard who rolled into the empty net from six yards out.
Commons struck a free kick from 25 yards into the arms of Weale although in truth it was straight forward save for the Bristol custodian, Ellington then turned sharply on the edge of the box but his left foot effort went well wide of the goal. Gavin Williams hit a dipping volley that was just off target before a double save from Carroll kept Derby in the match. The ball fell to the unmarked Bradley Orr from a corner and his firmly struck right foot effort was beaten away by the Northern Ireland international before the ball then struck McEveley, running back in to cover, and Carroll again had to react sharply to gather the ball.
Commons hit another free kick from outside the box that Weale got down to well to turn behind for a corner and Derby were starting to get more possession as the half closed without making many inroads into the Bristol defence. In truth, as the half-time whistle went, Derby were a touch fortunate not to be more than one goal behind as City dominated the first and carved out more chances.
Paul Jewell brought on Davies for Pereplotkins at the start of the second half and Derby started strongly with a dangerous ball into the box from a Commons free-kick being hacked to safety and Hulse then looked to break from an Ellington touch only for Wilson to cut across his run and narrowly beat the Rams striker to the ball. Paul Green then struck the equaliser for Jewells` men in the 51st minute after a series of missed opportunities to clear in the Bristol City defence. Ellington touched the ball wide for Commons who cut back onto his right foot and hit a low cross into the box, the ball was initially flicked away from Greens run before Lee Johnson toed the ball back into his path. Green took a touch before turning and firing with the shot just having enough on it to cross the line after Weale got his left hand to the midfielders effort.
Derby`s domination continued as Ellington then fired into the side netting after wrong footing Carey and Bristol Citys' first real effort on goal didn`t come until midway through the second half with Skuses' effort from a McIndoe corner being deflected behind and Orr having a header blocked in front of Carroll from the resulting corner. Whilst City weren`t threatening often the two virtually unmarked efforts on goal will give Jewell some cause for concern as the Rams looked vulnerable from set pieces. Orr then won the ball again from another corner only for his header to flash just over the bar.
Steve Davies, looking lively as a half time substitute, had a chance to go through on goal but his first touch sent him slightly wide and he couldn`t get enough behind his effort to trouble Weale. Tito Villa then came off the bench to good effect and his cross from the right was deflected only for Weale to claw the ball away with Commons unable to get his follow up effort on target. Albrechtsen then headed the ball back across goal from a Mears free kick for Villa who got his head to the ball but the effort didn`t trouble the Bristol keeper. Both sides pushed in the closing stages but neither were able to produce the winner and draw was probably a fair result in the end after the almost total domination of the first half by the home side.
Jewell has now gone two games without tasting defeat and the signs of improvement are there in the team even if they are progressing slowly at the moment. Another result coming from behind, something that would never have happened last season, shows the growing spirit in the camp but how many times can the Rams drag themselves back into matches? The impression of the side is still one of slightly brittle confidence in patches and the need to score first cannot be over emphasised at the moment. The makings of a decent side look to be there if the second half performance can be produced over a longer period and maybe even take the lead in a game.
Has come under criticism for his kicking in the opening fixtures but his saves in the first half when Bristol City were dominating kept Derby in the match and allowed the comeback in the second half.
Roy Carroll 8
Tyrone Mears 7
Jay McEveley 7
Martin Albrechtsen 7
Claude Davis 6
Andrejs Pereplotkins 6
Paul Green 7
Robbie Savage 6
Kris Commons 8
Nathan Ellington 7
Rob Hulse 7
Steve Davies 7
Emmanuel Villa 7
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