Derby Day Defeat
Attendance: 28, 143
A poor first half proved too much for Derby County to overcome at the City Ground although they weren`t far away in a thrilling East Midlands encounter. A lightning start for the hosts saw them a goal up inside the first minute and despite clawing their way back into the match defensive lapses saw The Rams three goals down by halftime. Lee Croft came off the bench and Derby outclassed Forest in the second half but despite pulling the score back to 3-2 with just under half an hour remaining they couldn`t find the equaliser and The Reds clung on for all three points.
Nigel Clough made two changes from the team that beat Plymouth Argyle with Rob Hulse coming in for the injured Steve Davies and Kris Commons being brought in against his old side for Lee Croft who dropped down to the bench. The home side started with former Derby keeper Lee Camp in the goal and Dexter Blackstock, who also spent time at Pride Park on loan, up front.
Nottingham Forest got off to a flying start as they took the lead within sixty seconds when Radoslaw Majewski let fly from 25 yards and his shot crashed into the net off the underside of the bar with Stephen Bywater well beaten. The home side continued in the ascendancy and, with game being played at a high speed, there were early bookings for Dean Moxey, Joe Garner and Jake Buxton as the referee looked keen to a make an impression on the game.
The frantic pace meant neither side were linking play up with and it took until the twenty first minute for the next real effort on goal when Chris Cohen flashed a low drive just the wrong side of the upright. The Rams were fighting their way back after the poor start and Rob Hulse tested Lee Camp in the home goal before Gary Teale dragged an effort wide of the mark when he really should have done better.
Joe Garner was getting under the skin of some of Derby`s players with his willingness to throw himself to the ground under the slightest of challenges and he won the free kick that led to his side taking a two goal lead. Chris Cohen curled in a beautiful cross that was flicked into his own net from the edge of the six yard area by Rob Hulse although Dexter Blackstock looked to claim it after getting a nick on the ball.
The Rams were beginning to get on top again and had an effort ruled out when Rob Hulse appeared to have put his side back in the game only to be denied by a whistle for a push on Wes Morgan. Stephen Pearson then looked to have played Hulse in again only for Camp to rush off his line to clear to safety.
As the visitor`s looked to drag themselves back into the match a mistake in midfield gifted the ball back to the home side and Nathan Tyson was played through on goal and he duly rounded Bywater and slid the ball into an empty net to give his side a three goal cushion going into the break in a nightmare first half for Nigel Clough`s men.
Lee Croft came on after the break in place of Kris Commons and, after starting the second half strongly, Derby found an early goal when a free kick was only half cleared and Miles Addison hit an overhead kick that took a deflection of Chris Cohen and finding the corner of the net with Lee Camp wrong footed.
Forest were reeling under the pressure and brought Dele Adebola off the bench in place of Dexter Blackstock but it was all one way traffic with a number of last ditch clearances just keeping The Rams out. But the pressure told just after the hour mark when another half clearance fell to Jake Livermore on the edge of the area and his shot took a deflection before flying in with Camp going the wrong way.
Dele Adebola brought a routine save out of Bywater in a rare Forest break whilst Lee Croft was finding space for himself down the right but his crosses somehow eluded Derby players in the area. Gary Teale then beat his man down the other flank but a last ditch Chambers` clearance inside the six yard box went behind for a corner which was eventually cleared.
Paul Green came off the bench with ten minutes to go in place of Jake Livermore and his legs in midfield helped keep the visitor`s on top but the ball just didn`t seem to be falling in the area for his side. Stephen Pearson had a shot blocked on the edge of the area after a scramble in the box and Paul Dickov came off the bench for Jake Buxton in the final few minutes as The Rams chased the elusive equaliser.
Despite five minutes of overtime and a number of panicked clearances Derby couldn`t quite find the break through that their second half performance deserved as the three goal first half deficit saw Forest hang on for three points after a topsy-turvy encounter.