Attendance: 28, 137
A controversial last ten minutes saw The Rams have manager Nigel Clough sent to the stands and Stephen Pearson also shown a red card for foul and abusive language as Ipswich twice hit them on the break to end a five game unbeaten run with a 3-1 victory. Gareth McAuley hit the opener in only the fourth minute when a corner wasn`t cleared to safety and Derby were always chasing the game from that point on with Grant Leadbitter firing an effort against the outside of the post as the visitors dominated the chances in the first period with only Shaun Barker threatening at the other end with a looping header that was well saved by Brian Murphy. Derby poured forward in the second period and Stephen Pearson and Rob Hulse should both have done better with headers from inside the area. Connor Wickham looked dangerous all afternoon for Ipswich and his low ball from the right found Carlos Edwards who fired in from close range as they caught Derby on the break with ten minutes to go and he wrapped up the points after the two dismissals when he beat McEveley and ran at goal before slotting home to settle the match.
Nicky Hunt was recalled to the Derby starting line-up after Dean Leacock was ruled out for the season with the knee injury he picked up against Coventry on Saturday and Steven Davies was also brought back in in place of Rob Hulse who dropped to the bench. Ipswich got off to a quick start when Connor Wickham muscled past Shaun Barker in the area but his low effort was turned away by Stephen Bywater from close range. The Rams keeper was beaten on four minutes however when a corner was only half cleared and the ball dropped to Gareth McAuley who found the top corner with his shot to give the visitors the lead.
Steven Davies had the first effort of the half for Derby when he turned neatly in the area but his effort was comfortably saved by Brian Murphy. The Rams were fighting back after falling behind so early but their spell of possession didn`t lead to an effort on goal and it was the visitors who nearly doubled their lead on the half hour but Paul Green and Stephen Bywater combined to keep out efforts from David Norris and Darryl Murphy with the Derby keeper eventually falling on the loose ball to avert the danger.
Connor Wickham flashed an effort wide of the target after another good run and Grant Leadbitter was given room to run at the Derby defence and his effort from outside of the area hit the outside of the woodwork before going behind. A strong last ten minutes of the half from the home side saw Shaun Barker`s looping header clawed behind for a corner by Brian Murphy but the breakthrough didn`t come before the break and the visitors took a deserved lead into halftime.
The visitors created the first opportunity of the second half when Bywater reacted well to deny Jonathan Walters from the edge of the area and Shaun Barker again threatened at the other end when he beat Murphy to a long ball from Russell Anderson but he couldn`t direct his effort on target. The Rams were dominating the possession and Nigel Clough introduced leading scorer Rob Hulse ten minutes into the second period in place of Nicky Hunt with Paul Green dropping to rightback and Steven Davies playing wide on the left in a change of shape.
Davies was having some joy after his change of position and a fine cross from the left found Stephen Pearson at the far post but his header was straight at Murphy and Chris Porter fired another effort at the Ipswich keeper as Derby continued to pour forward in search of the equaliser. After putting in some dangerous balls from the left it was a little surprising to see Davies replaced on the hour mark with Gilles Sunu given the opportunity to make an impression in his place.
The Rams were camped in the Ipswich half but the visitor`s backline were making a number of clearances from crosses and balls into the area before they reached Derby men and protecting Murphy in the process. Ipswich broke away with twenty minutes to play and Jack Colback brought a sharp save out of Bywater from the edge of the area to deny the midfielder. Rob Hulse glanced a header over the top from close range when he was first to a ball into the area but it was the visitors who looked to have tied the game up with ten minutes to go. A break forward saw the ball reach Wickham on the right edge of the area and he took a touch before squaring across the six yard box for Carlos Edwards, on as a halftime substitute, to ram home from close range.
The game was not over though and Rob Hulse flicked in a deep close from close range that beat Murphy and went in off the far post with virtually the next attack of the game to setup a grandstand finish. From the restart a ball forwards towards Hulse saw a surprising free kick given against the striker and Nigel Clough, after making his opinion known the fourth official, was eventually sent to the stands by the referee and then made to sit a row further back in the stand in a bizarre moment of officiating. It didn`t end there however as moments after the restart a free kick was awarded to Derby only for the referee to take exception to Stephen Pearson`s comments and show the midfielder a straight red card.
Even with ten men The Rams continued to go all out for the equaliser with Shaun Barker now playing as a third striker and Tomasz Cwyka, on in place of Michael Tonge, flashed a shot narrowly over as he was first to react to ball into the area after a corner was cleared only as far as a Rams player. It wasn`t to be for Nigel Clough`s men though as Connor Wickham nicked the ball from Jay McEveley on the halfway line and he ran clear on goal before calmly slotting home just as McEveley looked to get back at him to tie up the three points in added on time.
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