Attendance: 28, 007
A battling performance by The Rams came close to providing a second home win in a row but in the end a draw was probably a fair result as Cardiff City forced the game for the final half hour without creating any major chances. Derby took the lead somewhat against the run of play in the first half and would have hoped to hold on after a bright opening to the second half but have now gone three games undefeated and a run of results seems to be building.
Rob Hulse returned to the starting line-up after missing out through injury in the week with Kazmierczak the man to miss out but Kris Commons hamstring wasn`t up to a return to the side so Stephen Pearson kept his place in the eleven. On a sunny afternoon both sides had difficulty holding onto the ball early on and it wasn`t until ten minutes in that either side had an opportunity with Barazite dragging his effort across the face of goal with Villa just unable to get on the end of it although the linesman`s flag was up as the ball trickled well wide of the target.
As the two sides effectively cancelled each other out the chances were few and far between and the next chance came as Roy Carroll charged from his goal only to fluff his clearance with the ball bouncing to Ross McCormack who couldn`t quite get his effort on target from 40 yards. Cardiff were enjoying more of the possession without threatening Carroll in the home goal and Derby took the lead against the run of play after forcing the first corner of the game in the 29th minute. Barazites` corner was flicked on at the near post by Villa and Albrechtsen, stood by himself ten yards out, hammered the ball into the roof of the net for his first goal in a Derby shirt.
The visitors then forced a series of corners which came to nothing although Whittingham should have done better after drifting into the area and finding himself in yards of room only to curl his effort tamely into Carroll`s arms. The final action of the first half came when Johnson appeared to take Green`s legs out from under him the box but the ref was having none of it and there was no great appeal from The Rams.
Derby started the second half well and forced the pace with Villa and Hulse chasing the ball down well leading to a chance for Barazite but the young Dutchman couldn`t get his effort on target. Villa then carved out a chance for himself but didn`t get enough behind the ball to trouble Heaton in the visitors goal and the effort drifted narrowly wide. Whittingham, having a quiet afternoon on the right, made way for Bothroyd and the change of personnel gave Cardiff a foothold back in the game with Parry finding room for himself down the right.
As the visitors began to get on top Paul Jewell made his first change bringing on Davies for the clearly tiring Pearson to give The Rams more energy down the left as Parry had a couple of efforts blocked by the home defence. Cardiff then broke from a dangerous looking Derby position as they broke down the right, the ball was played across the area with Bothroyd eventually laying it square to Ledley who was caught by Addison rushing back into the area to make a challenge. The ref pointed to the spot and Ross McCormack stepped up to stroke home the penalty to level the match.
Nacer Barazite was trying to stamp his authority on the game and was drifting inside to gain more possession and another of his corners led to a chance for Davies but his looping header was gathered under pressure by Heaton and the ref`s whistle went for a foul on the visitors keeper. Jay Bothroyd then got in behind the The Rams defence down the left despite looking yards offside and his centre nearly gave Eddie Johnson a tap in only for Albrechtsen to get a last ditch tackle to concede a corner.
Ellington, on as a late sub, took down Albrechtsens pace and beat his man on the edge of the box before firing at goal from the angle but the shot was straight at Heaton and Green scuffed his effort from the edge of the box as the game petered out into a draw with both sides deserving of a point.
Commanding at the back winning everything in the air and blocking shots on the edge of the area and took his chance at the other end to give The Rams a chance of victory
Roy Carroll 7
Paul Connolly 7
Jordan Stewart 6
Dean Leacock 7
Martin Albrechtsen 8
Nacer Barazite 7
Miles Addison 7
Paul Green 7
Stephen Pearson 6
Tito Villa 7
Rob Hulse 6
Steve Davies 6
Nathan Ellington 6