Rams Up To Fourth
Attendance: 29, 086
Goals from Robbie Savage and Paul Green helped The Rams ease to a 2-0 victory again Portsmouth in a clash of the two inform sides in The Championship in front of the Sky Sports cameras. The visitors struggled to live with Derby in the opening period of the match and they took a deserved lead when Robbie Savage calmly sent Jamie Ashdown the wrong way from the spot after Tomasz Cywka was brought down in the area. The Rams continued their recent run of form playing some exciting football and Paul Green converted from close range after linking up well with Cywka to seal the win. Portsmouth upped the pressure in the closing stages of the match but failed to test Frank Fielding as The Rams claimed all three points to move up to fourth in the table.
Shefki Kuqi came in for the injured Alberto Bueno in the only change to the side that thrashed Watford last Saturday and there was also a return on the bench for Miles Addison for the first time since January. The Rams started brightly and were on the front foot early on, Robbie Savage was the first to threaten with a free kick from the edge of the box but Jamie Ashdown beat his effort away and the ball was cleared to safety. The Portsmouth keeper was called into action again on twelve minutes when he somehow denied Kris Commons from point blank range after Paul Green pulled the ball back to him on the edge of the six-yard box.
The visitors were struggling to get a foothold in the match but they very nearly took a surprise lead when James Bailey gave the ball away in midfield and they broke quickly with John Utaka playing in Dave Kitson but the strikers` effort flew wide of the far post. Two minutes later Derby took a deserved lead from the penalty spot after Aaron Mokoena brought down Tomasz Cywka in the area, Robbie Savage took the resulting kick sending Ashdown the wrong way to score his second goal of the season. Portsmouth began to assert themselves a little more on the match although they didn`t threaten Frank Fielding`s goal and James Bailey was first to a John Brayford cross in the last chance of the half but he could only divert the ball wide at the near post.
Ashdown did well to beat out a long range effort from Commons at the start of the second period and despite the opening minutes being a closely fought affair The Rams scored a second to give themselves a cushion in the match. After some neat build-up play Green linked well with Cywka inside the area and the Republic of Ireland international converted from close range to double the lead from the young Pole`s square ball.
Derby knocked the ball around well and looked to catch the visitors on the break as Portsmouth upped the pace to try and find a way back. Brayford was on the end of another flowing move but his shot crept wide of the post and Stephen Pearson came off the bench in place of Robbie Savage as Nigel Clough introduced fresh legs into the midfield. Kanu had been introduced from the bench and he began to orchestrate things from just behind the strikers but again there was little for Fielding to do in the Derby goal.
Miles Addison was introduced for the last ten minutes in place of Shefki Kuqi and was given a standing ovation to mark his first appearance in ten months despite needing an operation to remove screws from his foot. Kanu sliced wide when the ball broke to him in the area and Commons very nearly scored a third when Ashdown sliced a clearance but the keeper got back to claw away his forty-yard effort from underneath the bar. Despite some late pressure The Rams saw out the remaining moments in relative comfort to record a fifth straight home victory and move up to fourth in the table.
Derby County: Fielding, Brayford, Barker, Leacock, Moxey, Savage (Pearson 65), Bailey, Commons (Doyle 90), Cywka, Green, Kuqi (Addison 81)
Subs: Atkins, Pringle, Martin, Roberts
Portsmouth: Ashdown, Sonko, Mokoena, Brown (Hughes 75), Mullins, Ward (Kanu 61), Halford, Lawrence, Dickinson, Kitson, Utaka
Subs: Flahavan, Ciftic, Hreidarsson, Rocha