Away Woe Yet Again
The Liberty Stadium
Attendance: 17, 804
A Federico Bassone strike in the last ten minutes saw Swansea City extend their unbeaten run to eleven and move into the top three as they claimed all three points at The Liberty Stadium. The Rams set their stall out to frustrate their opponents and it looked to be working going into the closing stages thanks to a couple of outstanding saves from Stephen Bywater and some last ditch defending from Shaun Barker. It was not to be for Nigel Clough`s men though after leftback Bassone was played through on goal by Joe Allen and he crashed home off the underside of the bar to give his side the victory.
Derby made two changes to the side that beat Coventry last time out with Stephen Pearson missing with a groin problem and Paul Dickov dropping to the bench to be replaced by Jake Livermore and Bryan Hughes respectively with Rob Hulse the lone man up front. Nathan Dyer nearly gave his side the perfect start when he nipped in to collect a Gary Teale backpass that was well short of the mark and the diminutive winger took the ball around Bywater but could only hit the outside of the post from a tight angle.
Dean Leacock had an effort deflected behind for a corner that came to nothing in rare foray into opposition territory for The Rams and despite Swansea dominating the possession the back line stood firm and Bywater was largely untroubled other than claiming the odd cross into his area. He was called into action just before the half hour though when a short corner found it`s way to Craig Beattie on the edge of the area and he reacted sharply to turn away his firmly struck drive with a van der Gun effort from the following corner also wide of the mark. Despite their dominance Swansea were not creating clear cut chances and some dogged defending from Derby in general and Shaun Barker in particular saw them reach halftime goalless
Barker had to be on his toes as the second half got underway to turn a Nathan Dyer cross behind from inside the six yard area with Beattie set to pounce and Bywater was at full stretch to take another cross from the wide man as Swansea picked up where they left off and were making all the moves going forward. Paul Connolly was introduced in place of Frederick Stoor at rightback to try and stem the flow down the left as the pacey winger looked a real threat.
Jake Livermore won the ball in midfield and ran at goal but his intended through ball for Paul Green was intercepted by Ashley Williams and the danger was averted before Dorus de Vries could be called into action. Shaun Barker was then in action at the other end throwing his body in the way of a Darren Pratley effort from twenty yards that looked as though it would trouble Bywater behind him had it got through.
Craig Beattie held off Dean Leacock to force another fine save from Bywater as the pressure began to build again with twenty minutes to go and Jay McEveley was called into action to replace Gary Teale on the left-hand side of the midfield as Nigel Clough looked to shore things up and hold on for the point. Robbie Savage made a superb last ditch tackle to deny Dyer after a Darren Pratley run down the right ended with a low driven cross towards the far post and the same two combined again for the Swansea`s next chance. This time the roles were reversed though as Pratley got his toe to a Dyer cross but Bywater turned the effort away and Savage nipped in to clear to safety.
The pressure finally told with just under ten minutes to go when the home side won the ball back in the middle of the park and Joe Allen slipped the ball through to Federico Bassone who rifled home from the edge of the area with ball clipping the underside of the bar on its way in. It always looked as though one goal would be enough for Swansea with The Rams offering virtually nothing going forward and so it proved with The Swans comfortably seeing out the closing moments despite the introduction of Paul Dickov. The three points saw them move up to third place in the table and there could be no arguing that they merited the win despite another late slip costing The Rams dearly.