Rams Fall To Blues Defeat
Attendance: 4, 458
Goals from David Murphy and Sebastian Larsson gave Premiership Birmingham City a 2-1 victory at Pride Park as The Rams tasted defeat for the first time in pre-season. Gareth Roberts thumped home a spectacular 25 yard effort to pull a goal back but despite some late pressure they couldn`t beat Ben Foster again in the visitor`s goal. Murphy had given Birmingham the lead in the first half when he lost his marker at a corner and Larsson charged down a Bywater clearance to double the lead but despite some neat football Derby didn`t trouble Foster as often as they would have liked and couldn`t turn the score around despite Roberts long range effort.
Rob Hulse and Robbie Savage were back in the squad after missing the midweek clash with Stoke with Savage starting and Hulse named amongst the subs in a strong Derby line-up. The Rams started off brightly knocking the ball around well but it was the visitors who had the first change as Craig Gardner was denied by the legs of Stephen Bywater after ten minutes. The same player was again denied by Bywater after he found room in the area on twenty minutes as the Premiership side upped the tempo with the giant Nicola Zigic linking well with Gary O`Connor up front.
Derby will still enjoying a lot of possession but weren`t troubling Ben Foster in the Birmingham goal and it was the visitors who took the lead just after the half hour mark when David Murphy headed home Sebastian Larsson`s corner after losing his marker in the area. There wasn`t much between the sides as the end of the first half approached although any chances of note were going Birmingham`s way.
The visitors doubled their lead in the first minute of the second half after an error from Bywater, Gareth Roberts passed back to him but he took too long on the ball and Larsson blocked the clearance and the ball rebounded directly back into the open net. Derby kept playing their football and a neat move almost got them back into the match but Chris Porter`s header was hacked clear by Dann in front of goal. Bywater was then called into action again to deny O`Connor as he broke the offside trap but the keeper saved with his legs.
Derby were looking more threatening when going forward and Gareth Roberts pulled a goal back in spectacular fashion when a clearance fell to him 25 yards out and he crashed a shot into the top corner giving Foster no chance. Tomasz Cywka had the change to level the scores just after the hour but his shot from just outside the area didn`t trouble Foster.
The Rams were still taking the game to Birmingham and Dean Moxey somehow blazed over the top when Rob Hulse pulled the ball back to him with ten minutes to go. A low Dean Leacock cross flew through the area with Hulse and Green unable to make contact and Robbie Savage tried a spectacular chip in the closing moments but Ben Foster made it back to claim the ball. It wasn`t to be for Nigel Clough`s side and the fell to their first defeat in the final pre-season run out for the first team before the opener at Elland Road in a week`s time.
Derby County: Bywater, Brayford, Roberts (Moxey 61), Leacock, Anderson, Savage, Bailey, Green (Doyle 84), Cywka (Pringle 72), Commons, Porter (Hulse 65)
Subs: Deeney, Buxton, Martin, Varney