Commons Brace Seals Victory
Attendance: 9, 000
A brace from Kris Commons and a first goal in a Derby shirt for Luke Moore saw The Rams emerge as 3-2 victors against Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium and move into seventh place in table. A dominant first half display saw Moore crash home the opening goal amidst some superb passing football from Nigel Clough`s side and Neil Sullivan was in fine form to keep the score down to one at the break. Doncaster came out of the blocks quickly in the second period but were caught on the break as Kris Commons chipped home when played through on goal. The game swung back and forth in an incredible six minute spell with Dean Shiels netting twice for the home side to draw them level in unlikely fashion only for Commons to crash home the winner with just under twenty minutes to go. This time there was no way back for Doncaster as The Rams took all three points and extended their unbeaten run to six.
Nigel Clough gave Robbie Savage and Shefki Kuqi a breather as he freshened up the team from the side who beat Preston on Saturday with Paul Green and Luke Moore coming in to take their places with the experienced duo dropping to the bench. Doncaster started brightly and Billy Sharp had the first effort of the match but his shot from the edge of the area was straight at Frank Fielding who gathered comfortably. Derby took control of the game after that early chance and got their passing game into gear with Luke Moore was inches away from opening the scoring when he stretched to reach a John Brayford cross but he diverted the ball narrowly wide of the target.
Paul Green and James Bailey were having a marked effect on the game from their deep midfield positions with Alberto Bueno and Kris Commons prompting from further forward as The Rams continued to look dangerous. A neat passing move found Dean Moxey wide on the left and his cross into the area found Moore but his first time volley was straight at Neil Sullivan in the Doncaster goal who gathered the effort. On nineteen minutes Derby took a deserved lead with a similar move, this time Commons was the man on the left whose ball into the area found Moore and his side footed finish beat Sullivan to claim his first goal in a Derby shirt.
Brayford came close moments later after linking up well with Moore but his effort was deflected wide of the mark and Bueno picked out Tomasz Cywka with the resulting corner but his firm effort was turned away by Sullivan. The former Scotland international was on his toes again to deny Cywka twice more in quick succession as The Rams continued to dominate and pile up the chances. Commons was the next to threaten after Bueno beat the offside trap and pulled the ball back to him but Sullivan somehow blocked his close range effort and Doncaster made it into the break only one goal behind.
Doncaster upped their game at the start of the second period and Frank Fielding was forced to push John Oster`s cross-shot away and Brian Stock flashed an effort wide when the ball was not effectively cleared. Billy Sharp and Martin Woods both had efforts from the edge of the area as the home side looked to get back into the game but The Rams were looking dangerous on the break and they increased their lead on the hour. Paul Green played a neat ball in behind Doncaster`s backline and Kris Commons lifted his effort over Sullivan and into the net to double his side`s advantage.
The goal didn`t dent the home side`s confidence however and they pulled one back a little over five minutes later when Dean Shiels turned home an inviting cross from the right to turn the momentum of the match firmly in their favour. Incredibly they drew themselves level two minutes later and Shiels was the man on target again as he curled home a neat effort from the edge of the area to cap a dramatic turnaround in scoreline in a such a short period of time. The scoring was not over there however as Derby regrouped and retook the lead within five minutes, Bueno was involved again feeding Commons and his left footed effort crashed past Sullivan at the near post to restore the advantage.
This time there was no route back into the match for the home side as The Rams defence stood firm with substitutes Shefki Kuqi, Robbie Savage and Russell Anderson all playing their part as Doncaster desperately sought an equaliser. Sharp twice came close in added on time but he was denied by blocks from Fielding and Moxey and Derby held on to extend their unbeaten run to six and move within touching distance of the top six.
Doncaster Rovers: Sullivan, Dumbuya, Hird, Webster, Mills (Lockwood 82), Coppinger, Gillett (M Woods 39), Stock, Oster (Hayter 77), Shiels, Sharp.
Subs: Grayson, Jones, G Woods, Husband.
Derby County: Fielding, Brayford, Barker, Leacock, Moxey, Bailey, Green, Cywka, Commons (Anderson 89), Bueno (Savage 78), Moore (Kuqi 64).
Subs: Atkins, Roberts, Pringle, Doyle.