Another one slips away
Attendance: 14, 223
Derby Countys` brittle confidence took another knock at Oakwell this afternoon as Iain Hulmes` 71st minute strike changed what, up until that point, had been a much improved Rams performance into another defeat and condemned Paul Jewells` men to the bottom of the table going into the international break. After taking the lead there was only going t be one winner and despite some late pressure it never seemed likely that the deficit would be overturned and a Foster goal sealed all three points for previously winless Barnsley.
Derby started the match unchanged with Leacock, Stewart, Connolly, Kazmierczak and Addison all keeping their places from the midweek Carling Cup victory whilst Darren Moore, Rob Kozluk and Jon Macken lined up against their former team for the home side. Their was a physical outlook to the game early on with challenges flying in from both sides and it took a while for the game to settle down. Addison had the first real effort of the game, winning the ball in middle of the park and advancing with the home defence backing off but his effort from 25 yards flew over the bar without ever troubling Steele in the Barnsley goal. Macken had a chance at the other end after being found by Devaneys` cross only for Connolly to get a foot on his effort with a superb block to prevent a presentable goal scoring opportunity.
After the early skirmishes The Rams were starting to play the ball around much better than in previous outings with Kazmierczaks' cross finding Green who couldn`t force the ball home and the Pole then having an effort of his own when being fed by Addison but his effort from the edge of the box flew inches wide with the keeper beaten. The signs were certainly encouraging and Steele was called into action as Green found himself in space on the edge of the area and the keeper gathered his effort at the second attempt. Addison picked up the first booking of the match for a mistimed challenge and the game reached halftime goalless.
Brian Howard came close at the start of the second half when Carroll failed to claim a cross and the Barnsley skipper volleyed narrowly over and Diego Leon then came close from a free-kick as the home side started the second half brightly. Hulse found the angle to tight minutes later and his effort across the face of the goal but Steele was forced into a save after a move involving Kazmierczak and Commons ended with Hulse having another effort on goal. Commons himself then had a run and shot from 25 yards that the keeper couldn`t hold only for Steele to recover brilliantly to deny Kazmierczak from the rebound when it looked odds on he would open his Derby account.
Foster picked up a booking for a foul on Villa as the Argentine looked to break dangerously and the striker then had a decent effort from the edge of the box well saved after being set up by Leacock striding out of defence. Barnsley then took the lead with a wonder strike by Iain Hulme, the former Leicester City man lashing the ball into the corner after Leacock couldn`t clear his lines effectively under a robust change by Odejayi leaving Carroll with no chance.
Paul Jewell brought Nathan Ellington on for Villa with just under a quarter of an hour to go and his bustling style caused a few nervous moments for the home defence without ever really creating a chance. Indeed, the home side went further ahead when Foster rose virtually unchallenged from a Hulme corner to head home the second with ten minutes to go. Barazite and Davis came on to change things at the end with Commons appearing to have a knock after a tussle with Moore. Barazite swung over a dangerous free kick that wouldn`t quite sit down for Addison and Davis coming close with a header a few minutes later. Howard then nearly hit a third only to be denied by a top draw save by Roy Carroll.
The final whistle went with scores elsewhere sending Derby to the bottom of the table and the pressure continuing to build on Jewell. Whilst there are signs of improvement they aren`t enough at the moment and a victory will be needed before Derby are playing catch-up all season.
Growing in stature (if that`s possible for the giant midfielder) and looks as though he can dominate midfield with his physical stature. Used the ball tidily although caught dwelling a couple of times and is looking to be one for the future in midfield rather than the defensive position he occupied previously.
Roy Carroll 7
Paul Connolly 7
Jordan Stewart 6
Dean Leacock 6
Martin Albrechtsen 7
Paul Green 7
Miles Addison 7
Przemyslaw Kazmierczak 7
Kris Commons 6
Tito Villa 7
Rob Hulse 6
Nathan Ellington 6
Steve Davis 6
Nacer Barazite 6