The New Lawn
Attendance: 4, 836
A good old fashioned cup-tie in Gloucestershire saw non-league Forest Green Rovers push Derby all the way before finally succumbing to a late penalty to go down 4-3 to their Championship opponents. In a game riddled with as many mistakes as moments of quality The Rams looked dead and buried when they fell two goals behind twenty minutes in but they battled their way back into the match with two quick fire goals from Hulse and Albrechtsen to go in at halftime level. The non-leaguers went ahead again with just over quarter of an hour to go only to be pegged back almost immediately by Paul Green and the game finally swung in Derby`s favour when a Lawless foul on Commons saw the referee point to the spot and show a red card to the Rovers man before Steve Davies stepped up to put his side into the fourth round.
Chris Hutchings made five changes to the Derby side in his first game in charge bringing in Roy Carroll in goal and Luke Varney in for the injured Ellington up front. There were also changes at the back with Jason Beardsley and Mo Camara coming in for rare starts and Gary Teale replacing Nacer Barazite in midfield. Forest Green nearly had the perfect start to their first ever third round clash as Adrian Rigoglioso charged down Albrechtsen`s clearance less than ten seconds into the match but Carroll cams out well to block to his effort.
A Kris Commons long throw caused chaos in the Forest Green area before being scrambled away by Terry Burton in the Rover`s goal and Miles Addison`s follow-up effort was blocked before it reached the goal. The home side took the lead 13 minutes in when a long ball was headed down to Jonathan Smith who struck his effort from 25 yards past Carroll and they then doubled their lead after 20 minutes when Alex Lawless was released down the right and cut in to beat Carroll with plenty of time and space afforded to him.
Derby needed to find their feet and create something going forward and Luke Varney cut in from out wide but only managed to put his shot wide of the near post and Miles Addison couldn`t keep his effort under control minutes as The Rams looked for a way back into the match. Paul Green then had a firm effort gathered by Burton at the second attempt as Addison looked to pounce on the rebound.
Commons was seeing more of the ball and his free kick gave Derby a lifeline on 38 minutes when Hulse met the ball and, after his first effort was kept out by a combination of Burton and the bar, the striker was quickest to react and he nodded home from close range. Commons nearly engineered an equaliser from the kick-off but he couldn`t find the target from just inside the area after being teed up by Teale but he wasn`t to be denied and another superb delivery from a dead ball by the winger gave Martin Albrechtsen the simplest of tasks to head in from point blank range and send Derby in level at halftime.
Darren Powell replaced Albrechtsen at halftime and Derby started the second half at pace with Varney creating space only for Burton to block his effort and another Commons free kick found Hulse but the striker couldn`t keep his header down as Burton slipped on his way to meet the cross. The Scottish international was now playing just behind the front pairing of Hulse and Varney and the later fired over from a narrow angle as The Rams dominated the second half.
Commons released Hulse only for Burton to block as he attempted to get his shot away and the rebound was met by the winger only for his effort to be deflected narrowly wide of goal. Forest Green then took the lead totally against the run of play with Rigoglioso involved in the build-up and Paul Stonehouse beat Carroll from the edge of the box with firmly struck effort.
Derby were back level almost immediately when a free kick into the area was nodded on by Hulse and Green took a touch before firing a left foot effort low past Burton to even the score. Steve Davies took over from Varney with ten minutes to go and lined up through the middle as he had done against Ipswich six days earlier.
Commons was released through the middle with four minutes to go and, just as he was about to shoot, he was chopped down by Jones who received a red card from the referee for a professional foul. Steve Davies stepped up to send Burton the wrong way from the spot to put Derby ahead for the first time and they saw out the final moments without any real danger to put themselves into the fourth round of the cup.
ecame more influential as Derby came into the game after a dreadful start and his prompting from the left and, in the second half, through the middle put Derby back into the match and he had a hand in the majority of The Rams most dangerous moments.
Roy Carroll 6
Jason Beardsley 6
Mo Camara 6
Martin Albrechtsen 6
Lewin Nyatanga 6
Kris Commons 8
Miles Addison 7
Paul Green 7
Gary Teale 6
Rob Hulse 7
Luke Varney 7
Darren Powell 6
Nacer Barazite 6
Steve Davies 7