The wait goes on
Attendance: 14, 736
Derby County fell to a one goal defeat against ten man Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park to leave them still looking for a couple more points to see off the threat of relegation and let Nigel Clough start planning for next season. Two bookings for Victor Moses meant the hosts played for the last half an hour a man down but the sending off seemed to galvanise them and they took the lead through Shefki Kuqi three minutes later. Tito Villa had a header chalked off and Rob Hulse should have done better with a late chance in added time but, despite some pressure, The Rams were unable to turn the score line around and will face a few more nervous moments before they can guarantee Championship football next season.
ewin Nyatanga came in at left back for the injured Jay McEveley and Stephen Pearson returned in central midfield in the two changes to Nigel Clough`s starting line-up and there was also involvement for Jason Beardsley who was included on the bench. Barely seconds into the match Nick Carle picked up a booking for a late challenge on Robbie Savage and the Welsh midfielder looked groggy as he returned to the field after treatment. Rob Hulse then fired an effort not far over the top and Shefki Kuqi couldn`t quite reach a Carle free kick at the other end as both sides looked for an early goal.
Paul Connolly cleared a dangerous low cross from just in front of his goal as Palace had a little spell of pressure and Kuqi powered in a header that went over from a second successive corner and Paddy McCarthy saw another effort deflected wide as set pieces looked to cause The Rams some issues at the back. Mile Sterjovski then looked to have set Gary Teale up in the box but Nathaniel Clyne stretched a foot to clear just as the winger looked set to shoot. Kris Commons then teed up Gary Teale down the left but his cross was just too far ahead of Rob Hulse in the area.
Stephen Pearson then found room in the area and his pull back was just behind Hulse again or the striker would have had a tap-in and Victor Moses picked up a booking in stoppage time for a dive on the edge of the area in a rare break during a good spell of pressure for Derby but the sides went in goalless at halftime.
Mile Sterjovski won the first corner of the second half but Kris Commons` cross was well cleared at the near post and the Derby man then skipped away from the home defence only to drift wide and chip harmlessly into Speroni`s arms in the Palace goal. The keeper was then forced into his first meaningful save of the match on fifty-five minutes when Commons hit another shot from 20 yards that was turned away and the two faced up again as a low shot from the Scot was turned behind for a corner. Rob Hulse met the resulting set piece with a header that struck the cross bar before bouncing to safety.
Stephen Bywater dropped a corner inside his six yard box but managed to smoother the loose ball and his throw out eventually found its way to Mile Sterjovski who was caught by Moses, there didn`t seem much in the challenge but the referee decided this was worthy of a booking and, as this was his second of the match, the red card swiftly followed.
The dismissal seemed to galvanise the home side and they quickly took the lead when Clint Hill returned the ball into the area and Shefki Kuqi turned and lifted an effort over Bywater and into the net as The Rams defence was caught square. Lewin Nyatanga fed Kris Commons who turned and fired in an effort that Speroni gathered fairly comfortably and Stephen Pearson made way for John Eusatce with a little over fifteen minutes to go.
Tito Villa then came off the bench with fourteen minutes to go as Nigel Clough looked to get his side back in the game. Kris Commons blazed a free kick well off target and Villa had the ball in the net with six minutes to go when he met Nyatanga`s cross only for the assistant to raise his flag for offside to rule it out. Barry Bannan came on for the last couple of minutes in place of Commons but the next chance fell the way of Anthony Stokes but he put his effort just wide as Palace broke forward.
n injury time Bannan cross picked out Hulse but the striker blazed over when well placed and that was pretty much it as The Rams were left needing another win in order to secure their safety starting against Reading on Tuesday night.