Rams Fail Again In Calring Cup
Attendance: 7, 073
A woeful first half performance saw Derby County leave themselves too much to do as they went out of the Carling Cup at the first round stage for the third year in a row as they went down 3-2 to Shrewsbury Town. After a bright looking opening it was the same old story for Nigel Clough`s side after Marvin Morgan headed home a Lionel Ainsworth corner just after the quarter of an hour mark. The Rams looked disjointed with their play too slow and predictable and former Derby man Ainsworth was involved in all three goals when James Collins bundled home his ball for the second and his cross shot was turned into the net at the far post by Morgan to give his side a three goal advantage. Chris Maguire neatly headed home less than a minute into the second half but after another bright spell that saw Maguire and Jason Shackell come close again Shrewsbury got on top and Morgan had two golden chances to complete his hat-trick. Theo Robinson neatly converted with twelve minutes to go to set up a tense finish for the visitors but their backline stood firm to see out the match and claim the win.
Mark O`Brien started his first competitive match for The Rams as Russell Anderson was ruled with injury and Stephen Pearson and Chris Maguire came into the starting line-up along with Theo Robinson as Nigel Clough made changes to his side. There was also a place on the bench for 15-year-old Mason Bennett with sides allowed to name seven substitutes in the League Cup. Robinson had the first shot of the game after only thirty seconds when his forward run ended with a shot from thirty yards but it was never going to trouble Ben Smith in the Shrewsbury goal. Jason Shackell was next to test the keeper but his snap shot on the turn was easily gathered. Former Ram Lionel Ainsworth was looking lively and he dragged a shot wide on ten minutes before his corner from the right picked out Marvin Morgan who rose highest to head into the top corner, despite John Brayford`s efforts on the line to keep the ball out, to give his side the lead on sixteen minutes.
Derby were rattled by the goal and despite enjoying a spell of possession it was all too slow and predictable and they were restricted to long range efforts from Steve Davies and Chris Maguire but neither player could get their effort on target. The visitors had two strong appeals for a penalty turned down despite the assistant referee signalling handball on the first shout but the referee overruled him. Shrewsbury were not to be denied however and they scored twice in quick succession just after the half-hour mark. Firstly James Collins bundled home a cross at the far post after another good run from Ainsworth and the winger then setup Morgan again at the far post as the League Two side went in at the break three goals to the good.
Derby came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and had a goal back inside the first thirty seconds when neat build-up down the left saw Kevin Kilbane pick out Maguire with a neat cross and his glancing header found the bottom corner of the net. Maguire struck another effort across the face of goal before Shackell hit a firm half volley narrowly wide from the edge of the area as the pressure continued. Shrewsbury fought back well though and enjoyed a spell of possession during which Morgan should have done better when somehow missing the target from four yards out when the ball found him unmarked.
Stephen Pearson had a shot from just inside the area saved by Smith with twenty minutes on the clock and Ben Davies curled a shot wide of the far post when he cut in from the left as Derby searched for the vital second goal. Morgan, looking offside, was released with a ball over the top but he couldn`t get his effort on target with only Fielding to beat as Kilbane got back to challenge as he was shooting. Tomasz Cywka, introduced earlier in place of Lee Croft, ran from the halfway line and his neat ball released Robinson who calmly slotted home from just inside the area to pull his side within one goal with twelve minutes to play. The goal looked to have setup a grandstand finish but despite a number of high balls towards the Shrewsbury goal their backline held on as they claimed a victory that few could say they didn`t deserve on the overall balance of play.
Derby County: Fielding, Brayford, O'Brien, Shackell (Roberts 75), Kilbane, Pearson, Croft (Cywka 63), Maguire, B Davies, Robinson, S Davies.
Subs: Legzdins, Bailey, Ball, Bennett, Jones.
Shrewsbury Town: Smith, Sharps, Cansdell-Sheriff, Wright, Wroe, Collins (Gornell 83), Morgan (Grandison 89), Hazell, Richards, Ainsworth, Regan.
Subs: Neal, McAllister, Leslie, Goldson, Taylor.