Another Home Defeat
Attendance: 25, 745
A disappointing showing from Derby County saw them fall to 2-0 home defeat to Bristol City in the final game of the season at Pride Park. Former Derby loanee Jon Stead opened the scoring on six minutes with a weak effort that Brad Jones couldn`t keep out and despite some neat football and efforts from Theo Robinson, Steve Davies and Alberto Bueno The Rams trailed at the break. Nigel Clough`s side never really got going after the break with all their familiar frailties indicating it will be an important summer recruitment wise for the Derby manager and a hash of clearance fell to Cole Skuse who thumped home a neat finish from outside of the area to tie up the points. Robbie Savage came off to a standing ovation in his last ever Pride Park appearance but his side will really need to shape up if they are to avoid another season of struggle next term.
Rusell Anderson came in for Shaun Barker who was recovering after his knee operation in the week in the only change to the side from Monday`s defeat at Carrow Road. The game was fairly even in the opening minutes in the sunshine and it was from virtually nowhere that Bristol City took the lead on six minutes, Jon Stead being given room to turn in the area and hitting a tame left foot effort that Brad Jones somehow managed to let through his grasp and into the net. The Rams responded with renewed intent and Theo Robinson`s firmly hit show was well kept out by Dean Gerken on ten minutes and the City keeper was on his toes again to catch a Daniel Ayala header and long rage effort from Steve Davies as Derby looked to pull level.
Stead escaped down the right and his touch sat up beautifully for a half volley but the former Pride Park loanee`s effort could only find the side netting from ten yards. Despite some neat football at times Derby were not creating clear chances and as the game petered out to the break Alberto Bueno had a shot deflected wide for a corner in the only moment of note in the closing stages of the half.
The second half carried on from where the first half left off with neither side able to get going with passes being misplaced and mistakes being made on both sides of the ball. Robinson may have done better after neat work down the right from Davies but his sliced effort never troubled Gerken and Derby were punished for some poor defending with twenty-five minutes to go as the visitors doubled their lead. Despite numerous chances to clear The Rams` backline managed to only get the ball as far as Cole Skuse and the City midfielder hit a firm effort into the bottom corner of the net from outside of the area from the dropping ball. Davies threatened from a freekick from twenty yards but Gerken was again equal to his shot and Callum Ball and Conor Doyle came off the bench to add some fresh legs but couldn`t make any inroads into the two goal deficit.
Robbie Savage was replaced by youngster Jeff Hendrick with five minutes to go and left to a standing ovation on his final Pride Park appearance and John Brayford came close with a dipping effort that Gerken could only push and Stephen Pearson`s follow-up was deflected over the top. City sat out the closing stages as The Rams fell to another disappointing home defeat with the only bright side being that the result counts for little with their Championship status assured.
Derby County: Jones, Brayford, Roberts, Anderson, Ayala, Bailey, Savage (Hendrick 85), Pearson, Bueno, Robinson (Ball 66), S Davies (Doyle 77).
Subs: Atkins, B Davies, Addison, Porter.
Bristol City: Gerken, Pitman (Clarkson 71), Spence, Wilson, McAllister, Elliott, Stead (Jackson 86), Nyatanga, Skuse, Campbell-Ryce, Adomah (Woolford 77).
Subs: James, Edwards, Johnson, Reid.