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Hulse brace nets the spoils

Plymouth Argyle
0 - 3
Derby County

Home Park

07/02/09 15.00

Attendance: 10, 893


Three goals in a ten minute spell around halftime gave Derby County their best away victory in seven years as they picked up all three points with a 3-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle at Home Park. Gary Teale scored only his second goal in a Derby shirt with a thumping 25 yard effort that crashed in off the bar and two close range efforts from Rob Hulse wrapped the game up just after halftime. The weather and pitch didn`t help either side string together their passing game but Derby were the better side and comfortably saw out the remaining time and they could even have stretched their lead with Commons and Albrechtsen coming close.

Miles Addison was the only change to The Ram`s starting line-up returning in place of Lewin Nyatanga and Chris Porter was named amongst the substitutes for the first time since his transfer from Motherwell. Derby started brightly and Barazite chipped the ball into the area to Commons but he was crowded out on the edge of the six-yard box with two minutes on the clock and Plymouth should have been in front moments later. Gary Sawyer found room down the left and hit a deep ball to the far post where Alan Judge screwed his shot across the goal when it looked odds on he would score.

Back came Derby and a Barazite cross was headed wide by Hulse and Commons went closer on ten minutes after they were awarded a free kick 20 yards out, the winger curled it over the wall but the ball clipped the top of the bar and went over with Larrieu beaten. The weather and pitch weren`t helping either side play football and the game entered a scrappy period before Jamie Mackie carved out a chance for the home side. The striker stole the ball from Robbie Savage in the middle of the park before lashing a long range effort that had Bywater beaten but it cannoned off the underside of the bar and hit the keeper`s back before spinning to safety.

A Derby corner wasn`t properly cleared on 31 minutes and, when the ball was returned into the area, Rob Hulse took a touch and turned but could only hit the side netting with his shot. Two more corners swiftly followed but they came to nothing and the visitor`s took the lead two minutes before halftime in spectacular fashion. Plymouth were pegged back inside their own half and the ball eventually broke to Teale, his first effort was blocked but the ball came back to him and he unleashed a thunderbolt that beat Larrieu all ends up before finding the net off the underside of the bar to put The Rams 1-0 ahead at the interval.

It was even better for Derby 25 seconds after the break when Commons was released down the left and his low ball into the area found its way through to Hulse who rolled it home from a tight angle. Plymouth came back into the game and forced a string of corners without threatening the score sheet and The Rams went 3-0 ahead on 51 minutes. Gary Teale went on a run down the left beating his man with ease before crossing and Rob Hulse finished from no more than a yard out to wrap the game up.

Derby continued to press and Commons headed wide from a Barazite free kick before the Scottish international fired in a set piece himself from 30 yards that looked to be heading into the top corner before being tipped over by Larrieu. From the resulting corner Martin Albrechtsen had a powerful header cleared off the line by Gallagher as Derby threatened to run away with the game. Chris Porter came off the bench to replace Hulse with just over twenty minutes still to play and Sterjovski then replaced Barazite five minutes later as Nigel Clough gave some of his substitutes a run out with the game all but over.

Alan Judge had an effort from the edge of the box but his shot was straight at Bywater and the keeper was forced into a save just afterwards when Mackie turned in the area and fired in an effort but he was equal to it with a fine low save. Commons came off with ten minutes to go and the game petered out in the closing stages amidst a flurry of snow as Derby picked up all three points along with a clean sheet to ease their climb away from the bottom of the table.

Star Player

Kris Commons
Prompted The Rams going forward and, although he didn`t find the net, could have easily had a couple himself with his set pieces finding the range only to be denied by Larrieu and the woodwork.

Player Ratings

Stephen Bywater 8

Pulled out a couple of fine saves to keep the clean sheet and deny Argyle the chance to get a foothold in the match.

Paul Connolly 7

Will have enjoyed his visit to his former club as he captained his side to a comfortable win.

Jay McEveley 7

Positioning is much better and looks more solid with each minute he plays.

Miles Addison 7

Dominated at the back with his physical presence and showed what was missed in his time out.

Martin Albrechtsen 7

Slowly improving and getting back to his old self after a couple of shaky looking performances since his return from injury.

Gary Teale 8

Superb goal and looked a danger down the left whenever he had the ball at his feet, playing with a smile on his face.

Robbie Savage 7

Got involved in a few challenges first half but much improved when he concentrated on his football after the break.

Paul Green 7

Another solid performance and his running helped deny Plymouth any room in the middle.

Nacer Barazite 7

More involved from the right and saw plenty of the ball, some dangerous balls in could have resulted in more.

Kris Commons 8

Set up the second and could have had one himself with a couple of free kicks, looked dangerous all afternoon and his partnership with Hulse continues to grow.

Rob Hulse 8

Two close range efforts to up his goal tally to 13 for the season and everything he touches at the moment seems to turn to goals.

Chris Porter 6

The game was over by the time he came on although he looked to have a neat touch and used the ball well.

Mile Sterjovski 6

Gave more stability on the right of the field and will be looking for a longer run out to regain his sharpness.

Tito Villa 6

Not on for long enough to make an impression as the game petered out.

Manager Rating

Nigel Clough is still saying there is a long way to go and, whilst he has a point, the change in fortunes of the team and the club as a whole is remarkable since he took over a little over a month ago. The team seems to have a smile on its face and the change in fortunes for Robbie Savage and Gary Teale has been like two new signings with the quality they are producing on the pitch. Teale stuck a superb opener and his run and cross helped wrap things up. Kris Commons again revelled in his central role with Clough stating that this was his best performance yet as he prompted the Derby attacks from just off Rob Hulse who has hit a rich vein of form of late and claimed another two goals here. Whilst The Rams may be far from the finished article they certainly look to have rediscovered their ability to play football and have shown what they are capable of.

Date:Monday February 9 2009
Time: 8:45PM

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