Rams Downed By Exeter
St James' Park
A first half goal from Chris Shepherd handed Exeter City victory against Derby County at St James` Park in The Rams final away trip of their pre-season build-up. Despite enjoying the majority of possession the visitors failed to trouble Artur Krysiak on a regular basis with Nathan Tyson having the best opportunity of the first half when his pace was too much for the home defence but the keeper was equal to his effort. Shepherd rifled an effort into the top corner of the net against the run of play to give his side the lead and it proved to be enough as despite pushing for the equaliser The Rams couldn`t find a way through and fell to defeat.
Craig Bryson returned to the side after recovering from injury and Jason Shackell made his first start of pre-season as Nigel Clough named a strong line-up for The Rams penultimate friendly. John Brayford headed over from a Ben Davies corner with the first effort of the match in a start where chances were at a premium. Derby played some neat football without troubling the Exeter defence and a long punt forward by Frank Fielding found Nathan Tyson and his pace took him through on goal but Artur Krysiak pushed his shot behind for a corner. The home side took the lead with their first shot on target when a ball from the left was played into the path of Chris Shepherd and he fired into the top corner giving Fielding no chance. Steve Davies had an effort from distance at the other end as Derby looked to get straight back into the match and Chris Maguire and Brayford both put in inviting deliveries towards Tyson but the ball was cleared by Troy Archibald-Henville on both occasions as Exeter reached the break a goal to the good.
Tomasz Cywka and Mark O'Brien replaced Gareth Roberts and Shackell at the break and Davies and O'Brien both had headed opportunities from Ben Davies` deliveries but neither player could find the target. Maguire tested Krysiak with an effort from thirty yards and Tyson`s chipped effort was just wide as Derby continued to search for the equaliser just before the hour. Davies was looking sharp with his delivery from dead-balls and Steve Davies and O'Brien both had efforts blocked when first to the ball. Fielding was called into action at the other end to deny Daniel Nardiello with a fine reaction save and Billy Jones headed against the crossbar from a corner as Exeter nearly doubled their lead. Substitute Theo Robinson was played through by a Lee Croft pass but substitute goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley came off his line to deny him and the striker dragged another effort wide of the mark in the final minutes as his side failed to find the net for the first time in pres-season.
Derby County: Fielding, Brayford, Anderson, Shackell (O'Brien HT), Roberts (Cywka HT), Bryson (Doyle 65), Croft, B Davies (Ball 88), S Davies, Tyson, Maguire (Robinson 76).