Attendance: 27, 143
A lively second half saw The Rams come from a goal down to lead 2-1 with ninety minutes on the clock and playing against ten men but it was not to be as Leroy Lita was gifted room in the area to glance home a Barry Robson freekick from wide on the right to claim a share of the spoils. Robson himself had given Boro the lead in a largely forgettable first half with Derby toiling hard with little end product and Boro not offering a great deal after a lively opening. Chris Porter`s introduction as a second half substitute changed the game and he nodded home from close range only four minutes after coming on and the momentum of the game was suddenly in his sides favour. A deflected Michael Tonge volley gave the home side the lead and Rhys Williams` second booking for a late challenge on Dean Leacock looked to have finished off Boro`s challenge only for the late freekick to provide them with an avenue back into the match,
Nigel Clough made two changes to the starting lineup with Russell Anderson coming in for his first start in a Derby shirt in place of Jake Buxton and Gilles Sunu was recalled in place of Steven Davies who missed out with a hamstring problem. There was also a place on the visitors` bench for Rams old boy Chris Riggott as they put out a strong starting lineup. It was Boro who threatened first when Barry Robson curled in a freekick from outside the area that took a deflection and flew just wide of the far post. Rob Hulse was next to come close on ten minutes when he was played in on the right-hand side of the area and his firm shot was turned away by Danny Coyne at full stretch for a corner.
Despite edging the game in terms of possession Derby found themselves behind fifteen minutes in when they couldn`t fully clear a cross into the area and the ball fell to Barry Robson who struck a volley beyond the despairing reach of David Martin in the Derby goal to give Boro the lead. The goal seemed to knock the confidence of The Rams and despite the usual work rate they failed to break down the Boro backline and create any chances of note despite Gilles Sunu looking lively with the ball at his feet and Stephen Pearson and Michael Tonge putting in some inviting balls from out wide. With the visitors` offering little themselves coming forward there was no more scoring in the first half.
Boro came out of the blocks early in the second half with Shaun Barker having to block a Rhys Williams half-volley in the opening minutes with Derby struggling to keep up with their tempo as they looked to add a cutting edge to their first half efforts. Scott McDonald thought he had doubled his sides lead on the hour mark when he followed up a Chris Killen effort that was saved by David Martin but the flag was up for offside to deny him his moment of glory.
The Rams slowly fought their way back into the match and Paul Green had an effort deflected just wide of the post but the corner came to nothing and the danger was gone. Chris Porter came off the bench minutes later and nearly had an immediate impact when he ran at the Boro defence and bundled his way through a challenge only for Coyne to smother the ball as he looked set to shoot from close range. Porter was not to be denied however and he levelled the scores on sixty-seven minutes when Danny Coyne couldn`t deal with a Jay McEveley cross with the ball looping in the air and the lanky striker headed home from virtually on the goal line.
Suddenly the play was all one way and Michael Tonge found Nicky Hunt on a storming run forward but his effort was just the wrong side of the post and hit the side netting when well placed in the area. Stephen Pearson was also having joy on the other flank and he burst into the area on seventy minutes and pulled the ball back to Paul Green but his effort from just inside the area was blocked. The pressure eventually told with fifteen minutes to go when a dangerous ball into the area was only half cleared and Michael Tonge hit the dropping ball which flew into the corner of the net with the aid of a deflection to put The Rams in front for the first time on the night.
Dean Leacock was introduced in place of Nicky Hunt with just over ten minutes to go for his first appearance of 2010 and he was involved in the incident that saw the visitors reduced to ten men when Rhys Williams caught him with a late challenge as he cleared leading the referee to show him his second yellow card. Boro then hauled themselves level again with ninety minutes on the clock when Barry Robson curled a freekick into the area from wide on the right and Leroy Lita glanced home from close range after losing his marker. Rob Hulse very nearly snatched the victory back for Derby when he met Stephen Pearson`s low cross in injury time but his glancing effort hit the side netting and his side were forced to settle for a point.
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