Six on the bounce
Attendance: 24, 771
A superb backs-to-the-wall performance in the second half from Derby County after going down to ten men and conceding an equaliser gave The Rams a second away victory on the bounce and helped the unbeaten run to reach six games. After a first half when there only looked to be one winner Derby came out for the second half a goal up and looking confident only for Roy Carroll to be dismissed for hauling back Leroy Lita and Sammy Clingan then converting the ensuing penalty to make it a tricky looking afternoon but after a brief flurry of Norwich pressure the visitors settled down well and looked to hit on the break. A blunder by the home keeper presented sub Nathan Ellington with the chance of a winner when charging out of his goal unnecessarily and the striker calmly rolled into the net from the angle to give Derby three points.
Steven Davies came in for the injured Stephen Pearson and Lewin Nyatanga kept his place at the Heart of The Rams defence whilst Leroy Lita went straight into the side for Norwich City with Lupoli dropping to the bench.
Darel Russell picked up an early booking for the home side with a challenge on Addison before Steve Davies long throw created havoc in the Norwich area, the ball eventually finding its way back out to the former Tranmere man who got a firm strike on the ball only to be denied by Marshall. In a lively opening Paul Connolly again showed his worth at the back with a block on Omar Koroma as he looked to get a sight of goal in The Rams area. Davies again looked to get in at the other end when running onto a Hulse flick but the ball wouldn`t quite sit down to allow a clean strike.
Dean Leacock picked up a booking after 21 minutes after a late challenge on Russell meaning he reached the five booking mark and will now miss the home clash with Plymouth in two weeks. Derby were dominating the match again without creating many clear cut chances but they took the lead after 25 minutes with the most straight forward of goals, Steve Davies swinging in the corner and Hulse rising highest at the far post to head firmly down and into the net for his second goal of the season.
Hulse then found himself in the book for leaving a foot in on Otsemobor and Koroma came close at the other end with a dipping free kick that was comfortably helped over by Carroll a few minutes later. Jordan Stewart made a dart down the left and his cross was glanced narrowly wide by the dangerous looking Davies as he looked to add to his midweek strike. The winger then beat his man out wide and fired over a dangerous cross but Hulse couldn`t quite get his effort on target as Derby continued their domination and they reached half-time good value for the narrow lead.
The game was turned on its head four minutes into the second half when a long ball was allowed to bounce towards the Derby area, Carroll came off his line just as Leroy Lita got his head to the ball and flicked it past the keeper only to be caught by the Irishman as he looked to apply the finish and the referee was given no choice but to point to the spot and the inevitable red card followed. Tito Villa was sacrificed as Paul Jewell brought on Stephen Bywater as the replacement keeper and after a word with penalty taker Sammy Clingan his first duty was to pick the ball out of the net as the former Nottingham Forest defender levelled the game at 1-1.
Norwich City, clearly gaining confidence from the equaliser, looked to step up the pace against the ten men of Derby and were dominating the possession but apart from a few dangerous crosses fizzing across the backline The Rams were looking solid at the back despite the numerical disadvantage. Derby looked to change shape slightly with Barazite making way for Przemyslaw Kazmierczak in a change that looked to push Davies further forward with three in the middle of midfield. The Pole`s first action saw him booked for a mistimed challenge on Russell before Davies was nearly through on goal only to be denied by a fine last ditch challenge from Bertrand.
Stewart then picked up another booking as the referee seemed intent on cautioning anyone capable of making a challenge and Derby made their final change of the afternoon replacing the tiring Davies with Nathan Ellington in a positive move from Paul Jewell. The changes were still flowing and Norwich City brought on former Ram Arturo Lupoli with ten minutes to go as they looked to gain a result from this encounter. Derby were certainly back in the match in terms of possession as their hard work gradually turned the game in their favour but it took a huge error of judgement from David Marshall in The Canaries` goal to gift the winner to the visitors. The keeper came rushing out to meet a long ball that he always looked second favourite for and as the ball broke Nathan Ellington controlled and rolled into the empty net from the angle of the area and the ball just had enough on it to give Derby the lead again.
Leroy Lita had a chance moments later as the home side nearly hit back immediately but the on loan Reading man couldn`t get his foot around the ball enough to get his effort on target. Bywater then held a Sibierski header as Derby held out for five minutes of injury time to clinch a second away victory in a row going into the international break.
Dominated the middle of the park denying the home side any room and time to play and helped drag The Rams back into the game after the equaliser, looks to have established himself in the engine room of the Derby midfield.
Roy Carroll 6
Paul Connolly 8
Jordan Stewart 7
Dean Leacock 8
Lewin Nyatanga 8
Nacer Barazite 7
Miles Addison 8
Paul Green 8
Steven Davies 8
Tito Villa 7
Rob Hulse 8
Stephen Bywater 7
Przemyslaw Kazmierczak 7
Nathan Ellington 7