Attendance: 26, 691
It could have been so different but a combination of poor finishing, the woodwork and a linesman eventually allowed Swansea City back into the match to snatch an unlikely point as they came from two goals down to finish the match at 2-2. The visitors played some neat football but Derby`s more direct approach caused all the problems as the Swansea defence struggled to deal with the power of Hulse and Porter and the pace of the match. Porter, in his first home start, opened the scoring and strong penalty claims for challenges on Hulse and Porter were turned down before the linesman struck when ruling out a Hulse effort for offside. Porter broke away to notch his second of the night just after halftime and The Rams were carving through the Swansea defence with ease but couldn`t find the killer third goal before the linesman struck again. This time he gave a soft free kick for a McEveley challenge when the referee seemed happy and from the resulting set piece the visitors pulled one back. Derby twice struck the woodwork and had a couple of efforts saved before a late equaliser from Pintado levelled the game and, even then, Paul Green had an effort well saved by the keeper before the final whistle.
Nigel Clough named the same starting line-up who fell to defeat at Doncaster on Friday and also the same substitutes so there was no return for Nacer Barazite after his dislocated shoulder. A downpour before kick-off gave the pitch added zip which appeared to favour Swansea`s passing game but they were soon under pressure and only a last ditch clearance prevented Albrechtsen from getting his head to an inviting Davies corner. Porter then closed down Rangel and the ball fell to Hulse who made progress down the left before pulling the ball back to Davies in the area but the youngster got the ball caught under his feet and he could only fire well over the top once he got his shot in.
Gomez had the visitor`s first effort but his low drive was easily gathered by Bywater and Davies was involved again but took to long with his effort and was denied by de Vries before he could get a shot in. The former Tranmere man was then brought down just outside the area and the set piece led to The Rams opening goal. Robbie Savage curled in a shot that de Vries couldn`t hold and in slid Chris Porter to get his first Derby goal from close range. Jordi Gomez curled a free kick into the side netting from range although Bywater appeared to have it covered and the Derby keeper was called into action again when he collected the ball at Nathan Dyer`s feet as the winger looked to get in on goal.
Rob Hulse was then involved in two controversial moments, firstly he touched a long ball past de Vries before being brought down by the keeper only for the referee to wave away the appeals and the linesman made his first telling contribution of the night moments later when flagging Hulse offside as he fired home from close range from a Davies cross and the decisions had the crowd up in arms. Chris Porter was then clattered just inside the area in a challenge that saw the striker needing stitches in head wound but again the referee missed the incident and nothing was given.
McEveley and Allen picked up bookings before another foul on Hulse gave Savage another chance from a free kick in a similar position to the one that lead to the opening goal. Up stepped Robbie Savage again and his effort to the left of the goal beat the wall and the keeper but flew just the wrong side of the upright. Porter escaped the Swansea backline again and managed to beat de Vries but his cut back fell the wrong side of the Derby players in the area and Nyatanga stung the keeper`s fingers with an effort from 30 yards when the ball was cleared. Alan Tate forced Bywater into a low stop as Swansea looked to get back in the game but, despite enjoying some good possession, they were not creating any chances and they reached halftime 1-0 down.
Derby went 2-0 ahead two minutes after halftime when a ball forward flicked off the head of a Swansea defender into the path of Chris Porter and the striker ran away from the visitors defence before slotting home to double the lead. Hulse could have made it three when he rose to head a Connolly cross narrowly wide and the then hooked a left effort across goal when he probably had more time after being played in by McEveley and the left back was involved again as Swansea pulled one back. His challenge on Dyer appeared to have seen the ball out of play but the linesman then decided that it was worthy of a foul and from Gomez`s resulting cross Angel Rangel show his effort pushed sideways by Bywater but the ball looped onto the far post and into the net with defenders unable to clear.
Bywater produced a couple of comfortable saves as Swansea looked to level things up but they nearly fell further behind when Teale escaped down the left before cutting inside and hammering a shot against the inside of the post with de Vries beaten. Swansea made a couple of attacking substitutions bringing on Darren Pratley and Gorka Pintado and they were again enjoying good possession without carving out chances. In fact Steve Davies went on a run down the right before coming inside and firing an effort of the other upright with the visitors keeper again beaten all ends up by the effort but the ball fell behind a number of Derby players in the area.
After a number of crosses into The Rams area Swansea snatched an equaliser with just under five minutes to go when Scotland found room in the area and his bobbling ball found Pintado who hammered home from 14 yards off the cross bar to level the match at 2-2. Paul Green nearly stole the three points back when he controlled a ball on the edge of the area on his chest and his first time volley looked to be dipping in before being tipped over by de Vries and the final whistle went with Swansea coming away with the most unlikely of draws.
Close range tap-in for his first and calmly clipped in the second when clear on goal, Swansea couldn`t cope with his aerial ability and strength at times and he looked to form a solid partnership with Hulse on the night.
Stephen Bywater 7
Paul Connolly 7
Jay McEveley 8
Lewin Nyatanga 8
Martin Albrechtsen 7
Gary Teale 7
Robbie Savage 7
Paul Green 7
Steve Davies 7
Chris Porter 8
Rob Hulse 8
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