Classic away day
Attendance: 14, 311
A fine away performance from Derby County gave them their first away league victory in nearly eighteen months with a deserved 2-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road and extended their unbeaten run to four matches. After controlling the majority of the first half without creating to many clear cut chances The Rams snatched two goals in the last fifteen minutes to come away from the capital with three points. Martin Albrechtsen, the hero last week, again scored with a neat touch and finish from a corner before Tito Villa grabbed his first goal of the season with a strong header from another set piece. It was no more than Derby deserved after weathering a strong opening to the second half from the home side without coming under a period of extended pressure.
With Kris Commons still out with hamstring problems there was only one change to the team from last weekend with Nathan Ellington returning to the side in place of Tito Villa with the Argentenian dropping to the bench. The game looked scrappy early on as both teams seemed to lack the ability the keep hold of the ball in the bright sunshine on the final Saturday in September. Martin Albrechtsen got his head to a Barazite corner as The Rams looked to take the lead but his effort lacked the power to trouble Radek Cerny in the home goal. Paul Connolly, with strong running down the right, put over a low cross that nearly led to the opener with the ball taking a couple of deflections before passing narrowly wide of the goal.
Rangers then threatened through Parejo and the Spaniards low cross looked certain to hand Blackstock his fifth league goal of the season but a superb block from Connolly denied the former Pride Park loanee. Cerny at the other end then dropped a seemingly straight forward catch after losing the ball in the sun but no Derby player could take advantage. The Czech keeper was then forced into action after a flowing move from Derby led to Pearson getting in on the left only for his effort to be pushed out by Cerny and the ball cleared behind as Hulse looked set to pounce on the rebound.
Parejo was the first player into the book for a poor challenge on Stewart and Ledesma tried his luck from range with a volley that never looked like troubling Roy Carroll as the first half drew to a close. Derby could be pleased with their performance having dominated large periods of the game without necessarily carving out many chances and they would be looking to change that after the break.
Queens Park Rangers came out of the gates strongly in the second half with Emmanuele Ledesma the danger man. His effort was deflected against the post when well placed inside the area and from the resulting corner he again came close but his half-volley was narrowly over the top. Leacock was the first Derby player in the book after a foul that allowed a free kick in a dangerous looking position but Addison cleared well from Ledesma`s ball into the box.
Ellington won the ball in the air to set Hulse racing into the box but the striker took to long to get his effort in and Stewart got back well to challenge and concede the corner. Rangers then broke away with Cook finding room to put over a dangerous ball that found Blackstock in the six yard box only for his effort to bounce back off the post and the ball was eventually scrambled behind. As the game then swung back the other way Nacer Barazite fired narrowly over with arguably Derby`s best chance of the game before Miles Addison struck a fierce half volley that clipped the top of the bar before going over.
Villa came on for Ellington as The Rams looked to change things up front with fifteen minutes to go and four minutes later Derby took the lead with a similar goal to the opener last weekend. Barazite`s right wing corner bounced in the box and Martin Albrechtsen took a touch before smashing the ball past Cerny to give Derby something to defend. The expected onslaught did not appear from the home side and The Rams looked solid at the back as they looked to see the game out. Things got even better two minutes from time when Davies, on as sub, crossed for Tito Villa to head firmly into the bottom corner to register his first goal of the season and clinch the result.
The rock at the back for The Rams and turning into a goal machine in the last week, long may it continue!
Roy Carroll 7
Paul Connolly 8
Jordan Stewart 7
Dean Leacock 7
Martin Albrechtsen 8
Nacer Barazite 7
Miles Addison 7
Paul Green 7
Stephen Pearson 7
Nathan Ellington 7
Rob Hulse 6
Tito Villa 7
Steve Davies 7
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