Rams Fall To Canaries
Attendance: 26, 134
Norwich City claimed a 2-1 victory to leapfrog Derby County in the table on a frustrating afternoon at Pride Park. The visitors started quickly and were two goals ahead inside fifteen minutes through a deflected David Fox shot and a neat headed finish from Chris Martin. The Rams fought beck well and pulled one back almost immediately through Kris Commons who slotted home after being played through by Luke Moore`s flick. Paul Green was twice denied by John Ruddy in the Norwich goal as his side searched for the equaliser but despite Commons, Shaun Barker and John Brayford all going close The Rams couldn`t keep their fine home form going and fell to seventh in the table with the defeat.
The Rams made three changes to the side that tasted defeat at Burnley last weekend with Kris Commons, Gareth Roberts and Dean Leacock all returning the side in place of Stephen Pearson, Dean Moxey and Alberto Bueno. Derby made an unusually slow start with Norwich making the early running and Henri Lansbury won a header at the back post from a deep Simon Lappin cross but Frank Fielding got a hand to it and the ball was cleared to safety from neat the goal line. Leon Barnett was next to threaten with another header and it was no surprise when the visitors took the lead although it took a huge slice of luck to open the scoring. A long range effort from David Fox took a deflection and wrong footed Fielding and the ball trickled over the line on eleven minutes.
The nightmare start continued three minutes later when Lappin was allowed time to cross from the left and Chris Martin was virtually unmarked in the area to head home a second goal for Norwich. The Rams were rocking but reacted well and pulled a goal back on seventeen minutes when Luke Moore`s touch found Kris Commons and he ran through on goal before coolly slotting past John Ruddy to reduce the deficit. Paul Green nearly completed an immediate come back when he played through by Commons but Ruddy came out and blocked his effort from close range at the expense of a corner. The energetic midfielder went close again on thirty-five minutes when a clever turn on the left edge of the area gave him space but his curling effort was inches wide of the far post. The Rams were on top in the closing stages of the half but couldn`t find the breakthrough and trailed at the break.
Derby started the second half better than the first and Robbie Savage came close with a curling free kick before Shaun Barker headed over the top from a Commons free kick when he perhaps should have done better. John Brayford broke forward down the left and when the ball came back to him from an attempted pass he cut inside and fired a left foot effort just wide of the post from the edge of the area. Norwich were looking dangerous when breaking forward without troubling Fielding and Green was denied at close range when Moore flicked on a Commons cross but Ruddy was alert to the danger.
Norwich caught The Rams on the break and Fielding reacted well to save at full length from Chris Martin after the ball was laid back to him on the edge of the box. Chris Porter came off the bench with nine minutes to go in place of Robbie Savage as Nigel Clough through caution to the wind in the closing stages and Commons was inches away from an equaliser when he bundled his way through a challenge on the edge of the area but his firm effort flew wide of the post. Despite four minutes of injury time The Rams couldn`t find a breakthrough and they fell to their first home defeat since early September.
Derby County: Fielding, Brayford, Leacock, Barker, Roberts, Savage (Porter 81), Bailey, Commons, Green, Cywka, Moore
Subs: Bywater, Kuqi, Pearson, Moxey, Pringle, Doyle
Norwich City: Ruddy, R Martin, Crofts, Holt, Lansbury (Tudor-Jones 90), Hoolahan (Smith 76), Fox, C Martin (Jackson 85), Lappin, Barnett, Ward
Subs: Rudd, Nelson, Johnson, McNamee