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Run Continues

Derby County
0 - 2
Queens Park Rangers

Pride Park

17/01/09 15.00

Attendance: 28, 390


A bright start gave way to another disappointing day at Pride Park as Nigel Clough`s tenure as Derby manager got off to a poor start. After a promising opening 20 minutes Queens Park Rangers took the lead against the run of play and Wayne Routledge began to show his quality down the right before setting up a second and despite looking shaky at the back the visitor`s held on fairly comfortably to take three points back to London and leave The Ram`s only two points clear of the drop zone. The brittle confidence of Clough`s men was clearly demonstrated as two fortunate breaks handed Rangers the lead and suddenly the initial brightness was forgotten and they looked nervy and unable to string together many moves of real quality.

Clough made three changes to the team who beat Manchester United last time out with Albrechtsen coming in for the suspended Connolly, Luke Varney replacing Steve Davies and playing up front alongside Rob Hulse and a surprise recall for Giles Barnes on the right in place of Mile Sterjovski. Miles Addison dominated midfield in the opening period of the match and his ball to Barnes led to the youngster`s cross being cleared from just in front of Varney and another ball into the area from the right saw Cerny save well from a right foot volley by Commons as the home side looked to get their noses in front.

Rangers were forced into the games first change on 11 minutes as Rowlands went down after a tussle with Addison and was eventually stretchered off although the exact nature of his injury was unclear. Cerny claimed a free kick by Commons and Barnes then broke clear down the right and, with yards of space, took way to much time with his cross allowing Delaney to come back and block.

The visitor`s took the lead totally against the run of play on 21 minutes in virtually their first attack, Ephraim played the ball into the area but Albrechtsen got back well to rob Helguson only for his half-clearance across the area to fall to Wayne Routledge beyond the far post and the Rangers winger smashed it into the net to give his side the lead. Derby struggled to make any impact on the game as their confidence had clearly taken a knock and it got worse on 35 minutes as Routledge was again involved. His run down the right looked to have been foiled as Camara slid in with a challenge but the ball broke again for the Rangers man and he cut back for Mikele Leigertwood to take and touch and fire past Carroll.

Lee Cook made space for himself on the edge of the area but fired his effort straight at Carroll who grabbed the ball again just in front of Helguson as he looked to pounce on any rebound. Derby were sloppy in possession and made no further chances as the game petered out to halftime with the visitors two goals ahead.

Derby strung together a superb move at the start of the second half with Albrechtsen clipping over a superb cross that was met at full speed by Miles Addison who flung himself at the cross only to see his diving header turned around the post by Cerny. Paul Green had another effort from 25 yards that didn`t trouble the Rangers keeper and Derby were still struggling to make an impact on the game as Rangers defended in numbers and looked to hit The Rams on the break.

Steve Davies came on for Luke Varney after 58 minutes and although Derby were looking to get into dangerous areas they weren`t creating any real chances although Rob Hulse had a header cleared off the line from a Barnes corner before Barazite came on for the midfielder after 69 minutes. Ephraim then broke away at the other end but Carroll reacted superbly to parry his shot into the air and catch the rebound.

Davies hit a dipping effort from outside the area to the right of goal that flashed past the far post without ever looking like it was on target and he had another effort moments later after a run from a Commons pass but Cerny, although at full stretch, gathered comfortably and despite some late possession The Ram`s couldn`t create any further chances and fell to a two goal defeat.

Star Player

Andy Todd

nother solid performance at the back and read the game, distributed the ball well with a booking the only mark against his performance.

Player Ratings

Roy Carroll 6

Some wayward kicking and seemed stuck to this lines at times when crosses cam over.

Martin Albrechtsen 6

Poor clearance led to the first goal but generally solid after that although not as effective going forward as Connolly.

Mo Camara 5

Given a torrid time by Routledge that showed up his defensive shortcomings.

Andy Todd 7

Read the game well and didn`t give the ball away when in possession.

Lewin Nyatanga 6

Caught out of position a couple of times and tended to drop deep.

Kris Commons 6

Not given much of the ball and when in possession tended to be doubled up on.

Miles Addison 6

Started well but looked tired and wasn`t as effective on the ball as usual.

Paul Green 6

Hard work but lack of quality in possession, closed down in midfield but on his own at times.

Giles Barnes 6

Looked a way off match fitness and sharpness, disappointing.

Luke Varney 6

Looked out of sorts and on his heels when sharpness was needed to take advantage of some promising positions.

Rob Hulse 6

Didn`t hold the ball up and his link play wasn`t as good as usual.

Steve Davies 6

Looked lively and had a couple of efforts but didn`t really trouble the score line.

Nacer Barazite 6

Didn`t have much on an impact on proceedings and final pass let him down at times.

Manager Rating

Nigel Clough commented afterwards that the basics were not done right, the defence played too deep, the wide men did not go wide in possession and the frontline didn`t hold the ball up. His gamble on Barnes didn`t pay off as the youngster looked well short of match fitness and his sharpness was not there and moving Commons back to the left of midfield saw the winger less effective than his central role against United. He`ll need to find his feet at this level quickly if Derby are to avoid a relegation battle for the remainder of the season.

Date:Saturday January 17 2009
Time: 9:13PM

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I think you may be underestimating how good we were today. Yes neither side were at their best but I felt we worked harder for the ball and showed the class and composure infront of goal that mattered.
18/01/2009 11:19:00
Not the ideal start, but maybe a wakeup call that has been needed. Getting the balance right is something that Cloughie needs to find , and fast.
20/01/2009 14:03:00
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