Away Day Joy
Attendance: 10, 280
Two goals from DJ Campbell helped Derby County cruise to a 3-0 victory at London Road and increase the gap between themselves and the bottom three. Two first-half sendings off didn`t help Peterborough but The Rams had been the better side when they had eleven men and they duly took advantage of the numerical advantage. Steve Davies slotted home a stoppage time penalty at the end of the first period after the incident that saw the home side reduced to nine men when Ryan Bennett brought down DJ Campbell when through on goal. Craig Morgan had received his marching orders earlier in the half after a lunging challenge with the referee not really having a choice in either incident but to show the red card. The Rams got sloppy in the closing fifteen minutes and were thankful to Stephen Bywater to help keep a clean sheet but it was a thoroughly deserved victory in a vital match at the wrong end of the table.
Derby made four changes to the side that beat Millwall on Tuesday with Nicky Hunt, Shaun Barker, DJ Campbell and Steve Davies all handed starts in place of Miles Addison who was injured, Kris Commons and Chris Porter who were on the bench and Lee Croft who was not in the match day squad. New signing Russell Anderson was named amongst the substitutes after signing until the end of the season whilst Peterborough gave debuts to former Derby man Izale McLeod and loanee Jake Livermore after their busy start to the transfer window.
McLeod was the first to threaten after his pace got him onto the end of a long ball forward but he dragged his shot wide of the target with only Stephen Bywater to beat. Steve Davies and DJ Campbell were working well together up front for The Rams with some good link play and Davies threatened when he met a driven cross from Nicky Hunt but he couldn`t get enough direction on his header to trouble Joe Lewis in the home goal.
It had been a lively opening from both sides with the action swinging from end to end and DJ Campbell nearly opened the scoring in spectacular fashion when his bicycle kick from Paul Green`s ball beat Lewis but bounced inches wide of the post. The keeper was called into action again moments later when he turned away a Steve Davies header from point blank range with a superb reaction save. Peterborough were reduced to ten men just before the half-hour mark after Craig Morgan lunged into a two-footed challenge on DJ Campbell by the touchline with the referee having little choice but to show the defender a red card.
Steve Davies looked to take advantage of the extra man but his shot was blocked by Kerea Gilbert and there were also blocks at the other end by Shaun Barker and Dean Moxey as The Rams were a little wasteful in possession giving the home side a site of goal through George Boyd and Craig Mackail-Smith. DJ Campbell was next to threaten for Derby after a nice ball from Paul Green but his attempted lob didn`t have enough on it and Joe Lewis stood tall to make the save but it was the Leicester loanee who played a major role as his side took the lead. The striker latched onto a mistake from Craig Bennett and the defender clipped his heels as he looked set to score with the referee pointing to the spot and again having no real choice other than to produce a second red card. Up stepped Steve Davies to send Lewis the wrong way from the spot to give his side the lead and there was barely time to kick-off again before the half-time whistle went.
Campbell virtually assured the result within two minutes of the second half getting underway when his shot from the edge of the area was well kept out again by Lewis but the pacey striker was first to the rebound to slot home and double the advantage. Derby were taking advantage of their numerical advantage and keeping hold of possession for long periods with Steve Davies threatening again only to be denied by a fine sliding challenge from Charlie Lee and it was his last contribution to the match as he was replaced by Chris Porter on the hour mark after an impressive display. Kris Commons joined him five minutes later being called on to replace Robbie Savage and he took up a position on the left of midfield with Stephen Pearson moving into the centre.
Derby were cruising in the match with little being offered by the home side and the only moments of danger coming from sloppiness from Nigel Clough`s side in possession. The game was put to bed with fifteen minutes to go when DJ Campbell scored his second of the afternoon after a nicely weighted cross from Commons picked him out at the back post and his diving header flew into the bottom corner giving Lewis no chance.
Russell Anderson came on for his debut moments later in place of Shaun Barker who was feeling a knock to his knee in a straight swap as Derby looked to see out the final stages. However, the visitors seemed to lose their concentration as the final whistle approached and Stephen Bywater was called upon to make smart saves from George Boyd and Jake Livermore in quick succession and Craig Mackail-Smith was also denied after escaping the attentions of the Derby backline only to find the keeper again in fine form.
Kris Commons came close to adding a fourth in the dieing stages but his firmly struck effort flew wide of the mark and Derby kept hold of the ball to run the clock down and claim their second away victory of the season. Although they remain in eighteenth place the victory opened the gap to the bottom three to seven points with Sheffield Wednesday the only side in the relegation places to claim a win.