Ball At The Double
Two goals from youngster Callum Ball earned Derby County a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Macclesfield Town at Moss Rose as their pre-season preparations continued. The Rams started with a much younger side than the one that started at the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday and they found themselves behind to a Shaun Brisley header early on despite playing some neat football. Ball struck with a neat header from a Ben Davies cross to level the scores and came close again shortly afterwards. Emile Sinclair out the home side back in front and Derby brought on a number of more senior players for the last half an hour. Despite this it was Ball who struck again with a low shot after making room for himself on the edge of the area and neither side were able to find a winner in the closing stages.
Nigel Clough made changes to the starting eleven for the second friendly of the pre-season buildup with Adam Legzdins starting in goal and Ben Davies, Danny Blanchett, Mark O'Brien and Chris Jones starting in defence. Ryan Connolly made a start in midfield and Theo Robinson and Callum Ball came in to the frontline. Derby started brightly on a slick top at Moss Rose and Robinson had the first effort of the match but failed to trouble Jose Veiga in the home goal. Despite dominating the early possession The Rams found themselves behind on twelve minutes when Shaun Brisley headed a deep free-kick past Legzdins at the far post.
Derby responded almost immediately when Ben Davies` cross from the right was headed back across goal by Ball and into the net from twelve yards out and the youngster nearly doubled his tally moments later but he turned David Martin`s cross over at the near post. Macclesfield looked dangerous on the break on a couple of occasions but O`Brien and Jones stood firm in the centre of defence and Davies was looking threatening breaking forwards down the flank from his spot at rightback. Theo Robinson and Tomasz Cywka both had efforts from outside the box in the closing stages of the half but neither troubled Veiga and Wade Fairhurst shot wide from eighteen yards with the home side`s only effort of note before the break.
Macclesfield went back in front in the opening moments of the second period when Emile Sinclair took a touch on the edge of the area before thumping an effort across Legzdins and into the bottom corner of the net. The Rams looked to get back on level terms with another immediate response but Robinson was denied by Veiga. Derby made eight changes around the hour mark to give a run out to a number of players with new signings Nathan Tyson and Chris Maguire amongst those brought off the bench.
The game was all square on sixty-three minutes with Ball the scorer again when he cut inside to find room on the edge of the area before firing a low effort into the far corner beyond Veiga. Substitute Jamie Ward was next to test the home keeper but his effort on the turn was pushed away and Maguire nearly picked out Steve Davies with an inviting centre but the striker couldn`t get his head to the ball. Ward cleared off the line at the other end from a Brisley header with the last chance of the match and the game finished with the scores level.
Derby County: Legzdins, B Davies (Brayford 58), O'Brien (Anderson 58), Jones, Blanchett (Roberts 65), Pearson (Doyle 65), Cywka, Connolly (Ward 58), Martin (Maguire 58), Robinson (Tyson 65), Ball (S Davies 65).
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