Gerrard Condemns Rams
Attendance: 24, 533
A close range effort from Anthony Gerrard condemned Derby County to a sixth home defeat in seven as they went down 1-0 to in form Hull City who stretched their unbeaten run on the road to twelve games. An even first half saw Jamie Ward show some neat touches and he came close with two headers whilst Aaron McLean and Matty Fryatt had efforts wide of the mark at the other end. Stephen Bywater was replaced by youngster James Severn moments into the second half and Hull looked to test him with a number of efforts from range with James Harper crashing a shot against the post from outside of the area. The young keeper did well but misjudged a Robert Koren corner on seventy-one minutes and Gerrard scored at the back post. Derby toiled away in the closing moments with Ben Davies twice going close but the visitors saw out the final stages to leave The Rams looking nervously over their shoulder at the bottom three ahead of a vital clash with Sheffield United at the weekend.
Nigel Clough made one change to the side who claimed a point at Scunthorpe on Saturday with Paul Green missing out with a knee injury and he was replaced by Tomasz Cywka on the right of midfield. There was a first home start for Jamie Ward and also a place on the bench for Theo Robinson after he joined earlier in the day on loan from Millwall and there was also a place for youth team goalkeeper James Severn with Saul Deeney missing out with a shoulder injury.
The Rams started brightly and Tomasz Cywka had the first shot within ten seconds of the kick-off but his effort from twenty-five yards was well over the top. Ward was looking lively through the middle and his pace was also causing the Hull defence problems and he nearly played in Cywka on ten minutes but he couldn`t quite get his pass away to release the Pole. The on-loan Sheffield United man was involved again when a low cross was only half-cleared on twenty-five minutes but his effort from just inside the area was always rising and didn`t trouble Brad Guzan before fizzing over the top.
Derby were looking far more comfortable than they did last time out at Pride Park as they worked hard to close their visitors down. Ward was involved again when a neat move down the right saw Robbie Savage release John Brayford and the rightbacks` cross picked out the diminutive striker but his headed effort was again too high from eight yards. Stephen Bywater had picked up a back injury in the early stages when slicing a clearance and he was receiving help with goalkicks but he managed to make it through to halftime unlike Tijani Belaid who was replaced by Jay Simpson with five minutes to go in the half but neither side could break the deadlock before the halftime whistle.
The sides came out unchanged after the break although Bywater was then replaced by James Severn less than a minute in as his injury got the better of him, the England Under-20 international coming on for his professional debut after spending time on loan at Tamworth earlier in the season. Hull were building up the pressure and looked to test the rookie keeper when James Harper let fly from thirty-five yards but his effort crashed back off the inside of the post and was cleared to safety.
Theo Robinson came off the bench with twenty-five minutes to go in place of the tiring Steve Davies and he played his part in a move that saw Ward hit a low shot at goal that Guzan could not hold but the Hull backline reacted first to hack the ball clear. Robinson`s pace was causing some concern to the visitor`s backline but just as The Rams looked to re-establish their superiority they fell behind. A harshly awarded freekick wide on the left on seventy minutes lead to a corner and from Robert Koren`s delivery Gerrard scored at the far post after the ball cleared a number of Derby players, Severn included.
Gareth Roberts was forced off with a calf injury minutes later to be replaced by Ben Pringle and Derby stepped up the pace to try and find a way back into the match. A dangerous looking Savage delivery didn`t fall kindly for a teammate and Ben Davies twice went close in the dieing stages, once cutting onto his right foot with his effort going straight at Guzan and then again with a firm effort from the edge of the area but the American keeper was again equal to it. Despite the effort being present The Rams lacked that little touch of quality to unlock the Hull defence and they again failed to find the net in a worrying sequence of results that saw them fall to another home defeat.
Derby County: Bywater (Severn 47), Brayford, Barker, Ayala, Roberts (Pringle 77), B Davies, Savage, Addison, Cywka, S Davies (Robinson 64), Ward.
Subs: Doyle, Bueno, Pearson, Porter.
Hull City: Guzan, Dawson, Harper, Fryatt (Hobbs 87), Chester, Koren, Gerrard, Evans, Rosenior, McLean (Barmby 68), Belaid (Simpson 41).
Subs: Cairney, Devitt, Solano, Mannone.