Attendance: 27, 032
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.
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.
Roy Carroll 8
Tyrone Mears 7
Jay McEveley 4
Martin Albrechtsen 8
Claude Davies 5
Steve Davis 6
Robbie Savage 4
Paul Green 7
Kris Commons 7
Tito Villa 7
Rob Hulse 6
Dean Leacock 7
Nacer Barazite 6
Nathan Ellington 7
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