Leacock Wins It For Derby
A Dean Leacock header from a Kris Commons free kick was the difference between the sides as The Rams won by a single goal in the first pre-season friendly at the Pirelli Stadium against Burton Albion. Nigel Clough played a different eleven in each half and gave 45 minutes to trialists Conor Doyle and Amari Morgan-Smith and there was also an appearance for young defender Mark O`Brien only eight months after his heart surgery.
Aaron Webster had the first effort of the match on eight minutes when a quickly taken corner caught the Derby defence napping and Paul Boertien`s cross found the Burton man but he headed harmlessly wide of the mark. Lewis Young, brother of Aston Villa`s Ashley Young, was looking lively and a neat trick saw him escape from Ryan Connolly and whip a teasing ball across the area but it avoided all onrushing players before going out on the far side.
Russell Penn had the next opening when a neat pass found him in space just outside the area but he curled his left foot effort over the top. The Rams were lining up in a new look 4-2-3-1 formation and looked comfortable knocking the ball around the midfield and they took the lead on 26 minutes with their first effort of any note. Kris Commons swung in a dangerous free kick from the right and Dean Leacock glanced a header across Adam Legzdins in the Burton goal to open the scoring. Derby should have doubled their lead minutes later as some neat build-up play released John Brayford but he blazed over the top against his former club. Greg Mills had the next effort with a snapshot on the stroke of halftime but the game had become a midfield battle with limited chances in the closing stages.
Derby began the second half brightly after making eleven changes at the break and trialist Connor Doyle was first to threaten when he drove a shot wide of the post and Tomasz Cywka also forced Legzdins into a full length save to push a low drive around the post. The game again settled down into a midfield contest with Burton making six changes on the hour mark with Cywka at the centre of any moments of creativity for Derby. His cross picked out Doyle but the American`s header was well saved by Legzdins and Andy Corbett was on hand to complete the clearance.
Greg Pearson threatened as the game approached the last fifteen minutes after beating Russell Anderson on the right hand side of the area but Dean Moxey deflected his effort over the top and the ball fell to Nathan Stanton from the resulting corner but he scuffed his shot and the ball was easily gathered by Saul Deeney. Legzdins had to be on his toes again with five minutes on the clock to deny the lively Cywka at full stretch and the final few minutes petered out leaving The Rams as victors by a single goal and having shown some neat touches in midfield in a satisfactory run-out.
Derby 1st Half Team: Bywater, Brayford, O'Brien, Leacock, Connolly, Savage, Bailey, Mills, Commons, Martin, Hulse
Derby 2nd Half Team:Deeney, Varney, Anderson, Moxey, Roberts, Green, Abalimba, Cywka, Pringle, Doyle, Morgan-Smith