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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Derby County 0 - Southampton 1

Pride Park

23/08/08 15.00

Attendance: 27, 032

Frustration

Whilst it`s still not time to panic, and certainly not time for the chants of "You`re not fit to wear the shirt", things are certainly not rosy at Pride Park in the early days of the new season. This was very similar to a number of performances from the Premiership relegation and, at times, it looked like the same old sorry team that surrendered that status so meekly last season. Southampton probably won`t play much better than this all season but still look an overly average side and despite the failings being there for all to see in the Derby team if a couple of bounces went their way it could`ve easily been three points rather than another home defeat, in fact if Kris Commons had managed to score when through on goal the move for the Saints winner would never have got started and things may be looking a whole lot better for Paul Jewells` men.

Tito Villa came in to start after his midweek hat trick and Steve Davies replaced Andrejs Pereplotkins after his ineffective performance at Ashton Gate last weekend. The game started with no real pattern but plenty of strong challenges being put in by the home side and Tyrone Mears nearly set up Paul Green to add to his tally from last weekend but his shot was blocked by Chris Perry and Southampton nearly opened the scoring at the other end moments later. McEveley slipped on the freshly watered pitch allowing former Ram Lee Holmes to run through the middle only for Carroll to get his hands to the wingers` effort and McEveley to get back and head out from under the bar as the ball spun goalwards from the keepers` save. Hulse then had a chance at the other end as the Southampton defence let a Carroll clearance bounce but the Derby forward took a wild swing at the ball when he perhaps had a little more time.

Roy Carroll was again called into action when McEveley gave the ball away cheaply on the halfway line and McGoldrick ran through unchallenged only for the Rams keeper to turn his effort behind with the Saints man perhaps having too much time to thing about what he was going to do. Albrechtsen then got a foot on McGoldricks effort from the edge of the box to turn the ball over and give the visitors another corner. The game then switched to the other end with Commons` perseverance paying off when it looked like he`d lost the ball in the corner before beating two defenders and cutting the ball back only for Savage to fire over from the penalty spot when it looked easier to score.

Hulse, working hard but with little end product, powered his way past two Southampton defenders with Derby breaking on the half way line and looked set to play Villa in through the middle before having his ankles clipped by Svennson for the first booking of the match. Commons swung in a dangerous free kick with Albrechtsen eventually having a shot deflected behind followed by another corner and Villa having a good header on goal being touched behind. The halftime whistle blew with the ball bouncing around in the area from the resulting corner.

Derby started the second half with Leacock coming on for Claude Davies and Nacer Barazite, on loan from Arsenal, making his debut replacing Simon Davis. Southampton started the second half strongly and Holmes had the first chance after some neat work by McGoldrick but his effort from a bouncing ball drifted wide of the far post with Carroll beaten. McGoldrick himself had an effort minutes later that Leacock managed to deflect behind and Lallana then curled an effort narrowly wide as the Saints began to get on top of the game.

A clearance down the middle was misjudged by the Southampton defence leaving Commons clean through only for Davis in the visitors goal to come out and make a good stop at his feet as he got his effort on goal. As the ball broke from the save it was swung out to the right to White in yards of space and his run and cross into the box was met by Lallana who was denied by a fine Carroll save only for the ball to rebound to the striker with a second effort striking the underside of the bar and being adjudged to be over the line before McGoldrick followed up to make sure. It was little more than the Saints deserved after a strong opening to the second period.

Paul Jewell made his final change of the match bringing on Nathan Ellington in place of Rob Hulse in a suddenly quiet Pride Park and the striker got his head to a cross moments later but it lacked the power to trouble Davis. Ellington was certainly making a difference and his powerful run down the left ended with him squaring the ball to Green who fired disappointingly over from the edge of the box. Gillett jinked his way down the right and turned McEveley inside out for the umpteenth time before crossing for McGoldrick who struck the top of the bar with a header, the Southampton striker again came close minutes later only for Carroll to pull off another decent save as he battled to keep his team in it.

Lee Holmes came off to warm reception from both sets of fans in the last ten minutes although his replacement, former Rams loanee Stern John, had a much livelier reception! The visitors played out the final few minutes fairly unhindered and, although they must be pleased with the result and the performance, they surely won`t be troubling the top end of the table this season and this has to go down as another disappointing result or the Rams.

Star Player

Roy Carroll
No real competition other than Albrechtsen but without his intervention it could`ve been at least 3 or 4 and very nearly kept out the winner after a fine initial save from Lallana`s effort.

Player Ratings


Roy Carroll 8

Carried on where he left off at Ashton Gate last week and without him it could`ve been much, much worse. May be wishing Alan Stubbs hadn`t retired at this rate!

Tyrone Mears 7

Sure and steady as ever, didn`t get chance to get forward as much as usual and had a good battle with former Ram Lee Holmes.

Jay McEveley 4

Extremely poor, caught out of position countless times and turned inside out by White numerous times and gave the ball away at will. His slip let in Holmes early and another poor square ball but McGoldrick clean through in the first half.

Martin Albrechtsen 8

Another strong performance from the Dane and looked outstanding at the back although this was partly due to the ineptitude of others at the back and unfortunately can`t do it all by himself.

Claude Davies 5

Back to the bad old days of last season with this performance, looked uncomfortable on the ball, hesitant in the tackle and his distribution was poor, rightly subbed at halftime.

Steve Davis 6

Worked hard and his physical presence caused a few problems but he was on the edge of the game to much and was replaced at halftime by Barazite.

Robbie Savage 4

Another performance well below that expected by a Derby player. Off the pace of the game, missed tackles and distribution was sub-standard. Looked lost on the pitch and was eased out of a tussle for the ball by Lee Holmes more than once.

Paul Green 7

Produced some good spells of play and is gradually settling into the team, his passing was more adventurous than in previous games and got forward well when needed, could have had a goal with a more composed finish in the second half.

Kris Commons 7

His least effective game so far but tackled back well and his quality delivery from set pieces was not taken advantage of by his team-mates, a decent performance but not as much impact on the ball as in previous weeks.

Tito Villa 7

The effort was there but the service to him was lacking, won more than his share in the air and adds a different dimension to the forward line but it didn`t quite happen for him tonight.

Rob Hulse 6

Looks low on confidence and a goal will do him the world of good. Work rate never lacking but his fresh air shot when he probably had more time in the first half summed up his season so far. May need taking out of the team to give him a break but it`ll come good for the former Sheff Utd hitman.

Dean Leacock 7

Everything that Claude Davies wasn`t, calm and comfortable on the ball and kept his man at arms length for majority of the second half, looks good for a start soon.

Nacer Barazite 6

Looked to have a turn of pace and some neat touches but didn`t really got involved in the game. Looks like he can have a part to play and has a look of quality to his play that you`d expect from an Arsenal youngster.

Nathan Ellington 7

Looked lively and made a couple of decent runs but with no real end product, will be disappointed to have been left out and Jewell will be looking for a reaction from The Duke.

Manager Rating

Again seemed to make changes for change sake although Claude Davies had to come off at half-time and some of the new boys, Jordan Stewart in particular, will have to be disappointed if they don`t get a start on Tuesday night after todays` performance. Jewell didn`t come out for the post match interview with Radio Derby although Hutchings claimed this was to freshen things up and try something new to change their luck! How much of the performance was down to Jewell not motivating his team and how much down to players simply underachieving is open to debate and the booing and chants of you`re not fit to wear the shirt seem a little over the top even if this is just the frustration of last season finally boiling over. Will be disappointed with the performance and the pressure is starting to build with each game the Rams don`t win.




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The Journalist

Writer: MikeC Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 23 2008

Time: 8:23PM

Your Comments

Are you deluded? "Southampton probably won`t play much better than this all season". Have you seen us play? We played against both Cardiff and Birmingham and completely dominated proceedings in the 1st half. Although we were hustled out of both games in the 2nd half we showed complete domination, far beyond the standard you saw today. What we have at st marys is young talent, not journey men. Even that night in May when we came to Pride Park we deserved to go through on the night. It was blatant that Derby weren't fit for the Premier League. Agreed I think you can be a fairly good standard team in the Championship but never should you see yourselves to be a team that belong in the Premiership. Quit the patronisation, don't blame others and look at your team's own performance. Self-reflection is the only way your team can improve. Spare us the embarrassment of tarring us with the same brush, what we showed today is just a glimpse of what will be the finished article. Good luck this year.
mg2104
Can't confess to having seen it, only heard updates and read about it. Also never thought i'd agree with a Saints fan. But, from what I heard you were woeful, and without passion. When are you going to realise Paul Jewel is only taking you one way, and it ain't up. He must have stopped blaming Billy Davies by now, surely!!!
pentonpompey
Losing at home to the scummers! Pathetic!!!!
storagematt
good to see the bitterness of your play-off defeat hasn't yet disappeared then! no doubt we weren't good enough for the prem but not quite sure what that has to do with yesterdays game, so much for looking at your own teams performace eh? good work with bringing up the play-offs as well, if you were better you'd have beaten us, end of. you thoroughly deserved your win yesterday but trust me you won't be near the play-offs this season and that's all that's been pointed out here, feel free to come back once you've secured a top six place and prove us wrong...
diddyram
 

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