Porter Brings Run To An End
Attendance: 11, 198
A brace from the returning Chris Porter gave Derby County a much needed victory at Deepdale against Preston North End as they broke their recent run of five defeats with a 2-1 win. With Luke Moore returning to The Hawthorns Porter was chosen to lead the line for The Rams and he struck twice in the last twenty minutes to give his side the three points despite a nervy finish as Callum Davidson scored an injury time penalty to pull a goal back. After an even first half The Rams came out quickly in the second period coming close through Kris Commons and Robbie Savage and both keepers had to make sharp saves from shots from the edge of the area before Porter broke the deadlock. Sean St Ledger hit the bar with a header just after Porter`s second and a handball decision in the area set up a tense finale but Derby held on for the win.
Nigel Clough made five changes to the side humbled at the City Ground in midweek with Dean Moxey suspended, Luke Moore having returned to West Brom and Tomasz Cywka, Dean Leacock and Alberto Bueno all dropping to the bench. Into the team came Gareth Roberts, Chris Porter, Stephen Pearson, Conor Doyle and Robbie Savage with Paul Green switching to rightback and John Brayford lining-up in the centre of defence. Derby made a fast start to this match and had the better of the opening minutes although Stephen Bywater was forced to make the first save of the match to block Chris Brown`s effort from twelve yards.
Preston had their tails up and pushed forward but The Rams were looking far more solid at the break than in previous weeks with Bywater not being tested other than coming to claim a number of crosses into the box. Chances were at a premium but Conor Doyle had two great opportunities to give his side the lead before the break, firstly latching onto a mistake by Wayne Brown only to be denied by Andy Lonergan who stood tall in the home goal and the keeper then reacted well to turn away the USA under-20 international's volley moments later. Kris Commons tested him again with a low effort in the dieing moments of the half but Derby couldn`t find a breakthrough before halftime.
The Rams started the second period quickly and Commons fired over the top in the opening minutes and Robbie Savage was close with a free kick from outside the area although it didn`t trouble Lonergan as it flew wide of the post. Stephen Pearson dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box and Gareth Roberts brought a fine save out of Lonergan with a firm effort that looked to be heading into the top corner as the chances continued to come. Bywater made a similar save at the other end when Keith Treacy got hold of an effort from the edge of the area but the Derby keeper reacted well to deny him.
With twenty minutes on the clock Derby took the lead through neat work from Chris Porter, Pearson found him in the area and he turned sharply and fired a neat finish across Lonergan and into the far corner of the net. Alberto Bueno came off the bench to replace Kris Commons with a little over ten minutes to go and Sean St Ledger headed straight at Bywater as Preston tried to find a way back into the match. Porter was the next to strike though after being teed-up by Doyle and he got just enough on his effort to beat Lonergan as the ball trickled over the line after looking to have taken a deflection on the way in. Miles Addison and Steven Davies were introduced a minute either side of the goal as Nigel Clough looked to get some fresh legs on the pitch in place of James Bailey and Porter himself.
Preston mounted a late rally as St Ledger hit the bar with a header from a corner and they then pulled a goal back in injury time when the referee pointed to the spot after an alleged handball in the area. Callum Davidson stepped up and smashed the penalty past Bywater before Doyle then headed off the line as the home side piled forward in search of the equaliser but The Rams managed to see out the remainder of injury time to claim all three points.
Preston North End: Lonergan, Jones, W Brown (McLaughlin 61), St Ledger, Davidson, Coutts (Mayor 75), Nicholson, Barton, Treacy, Parry (Douglas 71), C Brown
Subs: Arestidou, Russell, Gray, Morgan
Derby County: Bywater, Green, Brayford, Barker, Roberts, Savage, Bailey (Addison 83), Pearson, Commons (Bueno 77), Doyle, Porter (Davies 85)
Subs: Deeney, Leacock, Pringle, Cywka