Home Record Broken
Attendance: 28, 441
A hard fought game at Pride Park that looked to be heading for a goalless draw saw a deflected Matthew Kilgallon header ten minutes from time give his side all three points on a day when both sides effectively cancelled each other out. There was plenty of hard work on display bit little of the quality needed to find the vital breakthrough as both keepers were untroubled for large periods of the match. As Nigel Clough`s side looked to be closing in on only their second clean sheet of the season an unnecessary free kick in the corner saw the visitor`s clinch all three points with a header that went in off a Derby defender as it looped just beyond the despairing fingertips of Stephen Bywater.
Shaun Barker came in for his first start in place of Jake Buxton in the first game after the international break with Lee Croft and Paul Green also returning to the starting line-up alongside Rob Hulse playing against his former side. Neither Jordan Stewart nor Lee Hendrie featured after their late transfer window swap.
Dean Moxey had the first effort of the afternoon on a sunny day at Pride Park when he broke forward but his long range effort was deflected behind for a corner and Keith Treacy sliced well wide of the target at the other end as both sides began at pace. The winger had another effort a few minutes later and wasted a good opportunity on the break with United having men over but he decided to go for goal himself and blasted over the top.
Neither side were looking likely to create anything themselves but a mistake by Addison allowed Jamie Ward a clear run on goal down the left and when Stephen Bywater parried his shot Darius Henderson followed up to roll the ball into an empty net only to be denied by the assistant`s flag. The visitor`s were enjoying the majority of possession but Barker and Addison were standing strong to a number of balls into the area and Paul Green broke down the right and curled over an inviting ball for Stephen Pearson but the midfielder volleyed over the top when he perhaps had more time than he realised.
The Rams were beginning to assert themselves on the match but their crossing was poor as Paul Green and Gary Teale, more than once, picked out Bunn in the visitors goal rather than a team-mate with their crosses and the United mans handling could not be faulted as the half ended goalless.
Gary Teale`s miss-hit cross caused Bunn a scare as the second half got underway as it evaded the keeper but bounced off the top of the bar to safety with Croft unable to do anything with the rebound. A long throw at the other end caused some concern when it was only cleared to the edge of the box but Quinn fired well over when the ball dropped to him. The midfielder then got his head to a Treacy cross a few moments later but his header was shepherded behind with ease by Bywater.
Both sides were struggling to play football with them cancelling each other out fairly well in the centre of the park although it was not for lack of effort with both midfields closing down well and the respective backlines standing firm despite one or two panicky clearances.
Nigel Clough brought Jake Livermore off the bench in place of Paul Green as the former Doncaster man looked to be tiring on his return from injury but he left to a generous round of applause after an industrious appearance. The Rams were slightly edging the match with half an hour to go but chances were still at a premium although Rob Hulse was coming more into the game in his battle with Morgan and Kilgallon and winning more of the ball.
Kris Commons came on with fifteen minutes to go for Lee Croft with Gary Teale switching sides as Derby looked to make the vital breakthrough and his first touch saw him escape down the left before firing over a low cross that was knocked behind with Hulse waiting to pounce. From the resulting corner Commons` cross to the back post was somehow headed wide by Hulse with sections of the crowd thinking it was in although there were strong shouts for a corner from the striker.
Gary Teale cut in from the right and fired in a low effort that was easily gathered by Bunn as space started to appear and the visitors` took the lead with just under ten minutes to go. Shaun Barker gave away a needless free kick near the touchline wide to the left of goal, Treacy`s delivery found Kilgallon and the defenders' header took a deflection to take it just out of Bywater`s reach into the corner of the net.
The visitors shut up shop after that with The Rams desperately chasing the equaliser and, despite some time wasting tactics, they never looked like getting back into the game, indeed substitute Ward broke through on goal and should have made it two only to be denied by Bywater`s outstretched foot as Derby`s 100% home record was broken and United moved up to second in the table with the three points.