Defeat On The Road
Attendance: 23, 335
Chris Brunt did the damage for promotion chasing West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns as his side ran out 3-1 victors over Derby County. After a first half of few chances Chris Porter gave The Rams the lead only four minutes into the second period with Giles Sunu firing over from close range shortly afterwards with a glorious chance to double the lead. Albion worked up a head of steam and Brunt struck twice in a ten minute spell to turn the tables on their visitors and Simon Cox completed the scoring inside the final ten minutes to wrap up the points and move back into second place in the table and boost their claim for automatic promotion.
The Rams made three changes to the starting line-up with Dean Moxey coming in for the suspended Jay McEveley whilst Giles Sunu and Chris Porter replaced the injured Kris Commons and Rob Hulse although the former West Brom striker was fit enough to take a place on the bench. The changes meant a change of shape with Sunu lining up on the right of midfield and Michael Tonge playing slightly further forward albeit in a five man midfield. Albion got the game underway and Jake Buxton had to be on his toes early on to close down Graham Dorrans in a dangerous position.
Stephen Pearson looked to have a shout for a penalty when he was pulled over by Gabriel Tamas but the referee waived the appeals away. Chris Brunt was next to threaten when his cross was defected by Jake Buxton with the ball hitting the side netting as the home side were beginning to get on top. Robert Koren fired over when well placed inside the area after he reached Jonas Olsson`s long ball and Robbie Savage threw himself in front of a Luke Moore effort to deny the striker after he was first to a Jerome Thomas cross as the pressure continued.
The Rams began to get back into the game with Stephen Pearson looking dangerous down the left but Buxton and Porter both failed to direct their efforts on target from his crosses into the area. The game entered a scrappy period with Luke Moore having the last effort of the half when a free kick found him in the area but he fired over the top after he turned and made room for himself.
Derby got the second half underway on the front foot and took the lead only four minutes in. Robbie Savage picked out the run of Paul Green with a clever pass and confusion in the Albion defence saw the ball drop to Chris Porter twelve yards from goal and he slotted past Scott Carson to give The Rams the lead. Chris Brunt nearly found an immediate equaliser but his header from Koren`s free kick drifted inches wide of the mark and Giles Sunu had a chance of his own on the hour but he blasted over from eight yards from Paul Green`s cross.
Albion drew level with twenty-two minutes to go when Chris Brunt found room on the edge of the area and he crashed a low drive beyond Stephen Bywater. It looked like being a tough end to the game for Derby with their promotion chasing rivals buoyed by the equaliser and they found themselves behind only ten minutes later with Brunt again the man doing the damage firing home from close range after the ball found him in space in the area.
Michael Tonge picked out Paul Green with a left wing cross but his glancing header flashed wide of the mark. Steve Davies made his return from a month out with a hamstring injury when he replaced Chris Porter with ten minutes to go but his side were soon further behind when Simon Cox got on the end of a clipped ball over the top to fire past Stephen Bywater and wrap up the points for Albion.
Dave Martin and Ben Pringle replaced Giles Sunu and Dean Moxey in the only action in the closing moments and despite their best efforts and four minutes of added time The Rams couldn`t find a way back in the match and fell to their second consecutive defeat.