Rams Grind Out A Point
Attendance: 5, 696
Derby County dug in and produced the battling qualities called for by manager Nigel Clough in a goalless draw at Glanford Park against struggling Scunthorpe United. The home side had the better of a scrappy opening period with Stephen Bywater saving well from Michael Nelson and Lee Miller whilst debutant Jamie Ward dragged an effort wide of the mark at the other end. The Rams came out brightly in the second period with Paul Green having a goal disallowed for offside and there was a similar fate for a late Ibdisalam Ibrahim header as neither side managed to find the breakthrough that would surely have claimed all three points. With other results going their way this result lifted Nigel Clough`s side seven points clear of the bottom three at the start of an important run of games against teams in around them in the Championship table.
Loanees Daniel Ayala and Jamie Ward were both included in the starting line-up as Nigel Clough made two changes to the side that lost to Leicester City last time out but he stuck with 4-4-2 formation used in the last few outings. The inclusion of Ayala meant Miles Addison pushed forward into midfield with Paul Green moving to the right and Robbie Savage`s inclusion was the 500th league start of his career.
Overnight rain didn`t help the state of a pitch that had come in for criticism during the week and the perilous position of both sides in the table made for a scrappy opening to the match. Scunthorpe had the better of the few chances being made and Stephen Bywater reacted well to push over a powerful header from Michael Nelson. The Rams were next to threaten on twenty-five minutes when Ben Davies picked out Steve Davies with a cross but the forward headed over the top and Jamie Ward then dragged an effort wide of the mark after a long ball from John Brayford picked him out on the edge of the area. Daniel Ayala made a good block to stop Josh Wright on the edge of the six-yard area when Joe Garner tried to pick out his run into the area and the game petered out at the end of the half as the sides went in goalless.
The Rams started the second period brightly and kept hold of possession much better than in the first and Green had an effort flagged offside a few minutes in when he turned in a low cross at the back post only for his celebrations to be cut short. Green then had a shot from the edge of the area saved by Josh Lillis minutes in and Ward found Ben Davies inside the area but his effort was deflected wide as Derby looked for the opening goal. Steve Davies was next to threaten when his near-post flick was on target but it was pushed to safety by Lillis and the home side nearly punished Derby on the break just before the hour mark when Mark Duffy made room for himself inside the area but his low effort was touched wide by Stephen Bywater.
Nigel Clough`s side continued on the front foot but they were unable to carve out any clear cut chances despite putting a number of dangerous looking balls into the Scunthorpe area. Tomasz Cywka replaced Jamie Ward with twenty minutes to go and Chris Porter followed soon afterwards in place of Steve Davies as Derby looked to freshen things up up front. The home side got themselves back into the match and had a spell of pressure but Ayala and Barker stood firm with a number of headed clearances. Substitute Ibdisalam Ibrahim headed the ball into the Derby net but the flag was up for offside when Ben Gordon crossed from the left with five minutes to go and despite a tense finish both sides had to settle for a point.
Scunthorpe United: Lillis, A. Wright, Nelson, Reid, Gordon, Duffy (Ibrahim 82), Togwell, J. Wright (Collins 68), Hughes, Garner (Grant 78), Miller.
Subs: Slocombe, Raynes, Mirfin, Godden.
Derby County: Bywater, Brayford, Barker, Ayala, Roberts, Green, Savage, Addison, B Davies, Ward (Cywka 71), S Davies (Porter 77).
Subs: Deeney, Doyle, Bueno, Pringle