Play It Again
Attendance: 32, 035
A classic game of two halves at Pride Park saw the game end with honours even in front of the Setanta camera`s and both sides must do it all again in a replay in twelve day`s time. Billy Davies missed out on a controversial return to his former club after a family illness prevented him from leading out his new side leaving David Kelly in charge for this fourth round clash. Derby dominated the possession in the first half without turning their territorial edge into chances and led 1-0 at the break only for Forest to turn the tables in the second period and Rob Earnshaw grabbed the equaliser against his former club but again the advantage was not turned into efforts on goal and a late flurry by The Rams nearly snatched the match.
Nigel Clough made changes to the starting line-up with Miles Addison dropping to the back to replace the injured Andy Todd and Robbie Savage coming into the centre of midfield. Kris Commons was only fit enough to take a place on the bench and Gary Teale lined up on the left wing with Nacer Barazite reclaiming his starting spot down the right. Giles Barnes started after his brace at Old Trafford playing just off Rob Hulse up front.
Derby started brightly and had the possession without creating any meaningful chances and Rob Earnshaw had an opportunity but he was forced wide before being denied by a well-timed challenge by Jordan Stewart. The former Derby man then had the game`s first effort but his effort from just outside the area was straight at Bywater who claimed with ease.
Gary Teale went on a run down the left and broke between two Forest players but, as the space opened up for him, the winger could only scuff his shot straight into the arms of Paul Smith. Nacer Barazite was heavily involved in Derby`s possession and his cross from the right was sliced skywards by Breckin but Smith managed to claw the ball away as it fell. Connolly and Barnes then fed Barazite down the right and he cut infield holding off the Forest challenges before spinning and hitting a shot that Smith turned behind for a corner as it arced towards his top right corner although in truth it was never going to beat the keeper.
Derby were well in top in terms of possession and they deservedly took the lead when Barazite slipped in Connolly down the flank. The Ram`s captain cut the ball back from just before the touchline and Paul Green cleverly stepped over the cross allowing Rob Hulse to smash home from eight yards.
Earnshaw had a half chance when a long punt forward was completely missed by Tyson but the striker couldn`t do anything with the opportunity and Jordan Stewart hit an effort from range but he couldn`t get his shot on target as halftime approached and Derby went in with a one goal advantage having dominated possession.
Nathan Tyson had the first shot of the second period as Forest opened brightly and his shot was parried by Bywater after finding room in the box and Earnshaw dragged one wide after Tyson won a challenge with Albrechtsen after another long ball forward. Indeed the second half was a reversal of the first with the visitor`s dominating territorially without looking too dangerous coming forward.
McCleary fed McGugan who managed to turn in the area but he couldn`t get enough on his shot to trouble Bywater and Nigel Clough called on Luke Varney from the bench to replace Giles Barnes as he looked for his side to re-assert themselves on the match. But it was Forest who had the next meaningful opportunity and it led to them levelling the game up on 63 minutes. McCleary was allowed to get his cross in from the right by-line and, after Tyson stepped over the cross, Earnshaw took a touch before swivelling and firing past Bywater with a goal remarkably similar to Hulse`s in the first half.
McGugan had another effort straight at Bywater and Gary Teale was replaced by Kris Commons who immediately had an opportunity but, as the ball came to him at the far post, he took a touch and his left foot effort was fired over when perhaps a right footed shot was called for. Forest`s momentum was beginning to wane and the game was held up after an injury to Anderson who fell awkwardly after a challenge with Connolly and the winger was clearly in pain before being stretchered off with an oxygen mask attached.
The injury seemed to temporarily halt the flow of the game and Commons had a right foot effort from the edge of the box well saved by Smith as Derby looked to regain the advantage and the former Forest man had another strike moments later but he couldn`t keep his effort down.
Derby were back on top and Hulse was then denied with a superb save by Smith as his firm header from a Connolly cross was goal bound, and the keeper then reacted sharply to deny Varney as the substitute met Commons` cross from six yards only to be denied by the reaction save. Tito Villa replaced Barazite with two minutes to go and despite six minutes of added time neither side had another serious effort on goal and the fourth round tie finished all square with the replay a week on Wednesday.
Held the ball up, took his goal well and was only denied a winner late on by a smart save by Smith. Showed what he can do when he gets the service.
Stephen Bywater 7
Paul Connolly 7
Jordan Stewart 7
Miles Addison 7
Martin Albrechtsen 7
Gary Teale 6
Robbie Savage 6
Paul Green 7
Nacer Barazite 7
Giles Barnes 6
Rob Hulse 8
Luke Varney 6
Kris Commons 7
Tito Villa 6