Forest Beaten Again
Attendance: 29, 140
Derby County came away from the City Ground with three vital league points and another three goals after winning on the home ground of their local rivals for the second time in a month. In contrast to the cup tie it was the visitor`s who started quickly this time when Lewin Nyatanga fired in the opener after four minutes but the game became scrappy after Nacer Barazite dislocated a shoulder and despite enjoying more possession Forest didn`t force Bywater into a save until deep into the second half. A strong start to the second half saw Rob Hulse glance in a second and The Rams were well on top by the time a push on Hulse gave Steve Davies the opportunity to tie the game up from the spot. Having waited 37 years for a win in Nottingham Nigel Clough has now masterminded two in a matter of weeks as his side climbed further away from the bottom of the table.
Miles Addison and Gary Teale didn`t recover in time and were replaced by Lewin Nyatanga and Steve Davies respectively and Chris Porter was also missing from the bench with a groin injury. Rob Earnshaw and Paul Anderson made surprise returns for Forest amidst the bright sunshine at the City Ground for another sell out for this East Midlands derby. And it was The Rams who got off to the perfect start going in front only four minutes in as Kris Commons, receiving his usual reception from the home fans, launched a free kick into the area from deep. Lewin Nyatanga went for the header and, as the ball dropped, he volleyed home past Paul Smith to out his side 1-0 ahead.
Derby`s run of injuries continued on fifteen minutes when Nacer Barazite fell awkwardly under a challenge in midfield and had to leave the pitch with his arm in a sling and the injury was later confirmed as a dislocated shoulder. Mile Sterjovski came on for the Arsenal youngster and the injury seemed to unsettle the visitor`s with Forest gaining the upper hand in a scrappy game and having more of the possession. A long ball from Heat was flicked on by Tyson into the path of Earnshaw but, as Bywater game out to meet him, the former Derby man could only lift the ball over the keeper and the bar.
Wes Morgan fouled Kris Commons out wide on the right and the former Forest man dummied the free kick leaving Steve Davies to curl in a shot that looked to be heading into the far corner until it was grabbed by Smith. Jay McEveley then won a challenge and stormed down the left before cutting the ball back to the penalty spot where it was met by Kris Commons but a fine challenge from Ian Breckin deflected the ball behind for a corner.
Rob Earnshaw was played in by Lewis McGugan but he couldn`t get his effort on target and, despite edging the possession, Forest reached halftime without seriously threatening Bywater in the Derby goal although in truth it had been a scrappy half with few chances for either side.
The second half began with The Rams attacking their own fans in the Bridgford End and they started the second period even quicker than the first. Steve Davies was fouled on the left and Robbie Savage swung over a pinpoint free kick that Rob Hulse glanced into the far corner beyond the dive of Smith to double the lead with less than two minutes on the clock. Kris Commons then played in Hulse again but he couldn`t get enough behind his shot as he battled with Morgan and Smith came out to bundle his effort behind for a corner. The resulting corner saw Albrechtsen have a header cleared from just in front of the line.
Steve Davies headed another Commons` corner narrowly over and Earnshaw could only curl over from outside the area at the other end before The Rams were forced into a change on 64 minutes with goals corer Nyatanga going off, after receiving a bang to the head that saw him playing with tissue up his nose for a few minutes, to be replaced by Andy Todd. Connolly and Sterjovski then combined down the right and the Derby captain`s cross into the area looked as though it would be headed home by Hulse until a push in his back saw the referee point to the penalty spot. Steve Davies stroked the penalty home low to Smith`s left to put his side 3-0 ahead and tie up the three points.
Tito Villa came on for Rob Hulse and Forest picked up a couple of bookings for dissent in quick succession as they looked to have been rattled by the third goal. Tyson had a chance when he found room at the far post but his effort flew well wide of the mark and Earnshaw forced the first real save of the afternoon from Bywater when he met a cross with a downward header but the Derby keeper saved well.
A long free kick from Todd into the area was met by Davies but his looping came back off the bar with Smith beaten and the injury jinx struck again with ten minutes remaining as Jay McEveley looked to have hurt his shoulder and, with all three subs having been made, The Rams had to play out the remainder of the match with ten men. Rob Earnshaw pulled one back with four minutes to go when Todd gave him room and he headed home a McCleary cross from the left in the space left by McEveley`s absence.
Perch may have pulled another one back when Earnshaw knocked a corner back to him but he hit the bouncing ball over the bar from six yards but it was to little to late for the home side and they were well beaten. Despite some periods of possession they rarely threatened the Derby goal and The Rams were well worth their second victory at the City Ground in February.
Won everything in the air and dominated at the back until a head injury forced him off just after the hour mark. Took his chance like a striker when the ball fell at his feet after a contested header early on.
Stephen Bywater 8
Paul Connolly 7
Jay McEveley 7
Lewin Nyatanga 8
Martin Albrechtsen 7
Steve Davies 7
Robbie Savage 7
Paul Green 7
Nacer Barazite 6
Kris Commons 7
Rob Hulse 8
Mile Sterjovski 6
Alan Todd 6
Tito Villa 6