Point On The Road
Attendance: 11, 755
A lively encounter at Deepdale saw both sides hit the woodwork and the visitors denied a penalty as Derby and Preston played out a goalless draw. It was far from dull with Ross Wallace crashing a free kick against the junction of crossbar and post in the first half after DJ Campbell was denied a penalty when he looked to have been brought down by Andy Lonergan in the home goal after he took the ball around the keeper. Campbell was involved again in the second half when his header from a Stoor cross came back off the bar and Callum Davidson nearly won it late on when his shot beat Bywater only to bounce to safety off the post. Both keepers made important saves late on and there was also a welcome return from injury for Chris Porter making his first appearance in nearly nine months.
Nigel Clough made four changes to the side who won a point against West Brom on Saturday with Paul Green returning from injury to take the place of Lee Croft and Lee Hendrie replacing Gary Teale in midfield. Frederik Stoor and Rob Hulse missed out with ankle and hamstring problems respectively with Stoor dropping to the bench and there was a recall for Paul Connolly and a first start in a Rams shirt for DJ Campbell after his late goal at the weekend.
The Rams kept the 4-4-2 formation that has proved so successful at home and their positivity should have been rewarded on ten minutes when DJ Campbell got on the end of a ball into the area and took the ball around Andy Lonergan who appeared to clip his heels. Somehow the referee missed the incident and gave a goal kick and the danger was over. Preston were looking nervous early on and their recent poor run, only one win in ten, looked to have taken it`s toll and it wasn`t until the twentieth minute that they mustered their first effort on goal. Richard Chaplow misshit his shot and it fell to Jon Parkin six yards out but he could only head harmlessly over.
Chris Sedgwick got on the end of a deep cross to the far post by Billy Jones but he couldn`t keep his volley down and Ross Wallace`s firmly struck free kick crashed back off the woodwork just after the half hour mark as the home side looked to assert themselves on the match. There was some defending to be done by The Rams as the half drew to a close with Dean Leacock and Dean Moxey both making important blocks and a number of clearances to maintain the status quo going into the break. DJ Campbell`s pace saw him get on the end of a Jay McEveley ball forward but he was forced wide and eventually ran out of room and the last chance of the half came to nothing.
Stephen Bywater reacted well to turn a Neil Mellor shot behind as he muscled his way onto the end of a long ball from Liam Chilvers as the second half got underway and he was called into action moments later to deny the same man. A loose ball fell to Mellor outside the area and he took it forward before hammering a shot on goal that Bywater blocked before Leacock completed the clearance and hacked the ball to safety.
Dean Leacock was forced off ten minutes into the second half with Frederik Stoor coming on at rightback and Paul Connolly moving into the centre of defence in a reshuffle. Lee Hendrie was next to try his luck with a shot from distance but it didn`t trouble the home goal and Gary Teale replaced the midfielder with twenty five minutes to go as Nigel Clough looked to give his side more width. The trio of substitutions was completed five minutes later with Chris Porter being introduced in place of Paul Dickov for his first competitive action since March.
Frederik Stoor`s cross to the far post with fifteen minutes to go was met by DJ Campbell but his powerful header crashed back off the bar and Stephen Pearson couldn`t get the rebound on target as the ball drifted out harmlessly for a goal kick. Gary Teale was next to try his luck from twenty five yards but despite catching his effort well it was a straight forward save as he shot straight at Lonergan.
There were chances at either end in the final ten minutes as both sides looked to snatch the points. Callum Davidson`s run inside Frederik Stoor saw the fullback clear on goal and his shot beat Stephen Bywater but hit the near post and bounced to safety whilst Chris Porter was denied at the other end by a fine reaction save from Lonergan and Bywater made a sharp stop from Chris Brown when Preston broke forward.
Despite four minutes of injury time neither side could muster another clear cut opportunity as Derby picked up a point on the road and extended their mini-run to three games undefeated.