Three From Three
Attendance: 13, 489
Craig Bryson scored the only goal of the game as Derby County maintained their 100% start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road. The first-half was short of goalmouth incident with Blackpool mainly restricted to long range efforts until Keith Southern stung the palms of Frank Fielding just before the break but the Derby keeper held his volley well. The Rams got on top in the early stages of the second period with Jamie Ward crashing an effort against the woodwork before Steve Davies` free kick from thirty yards was too hot for Matt Gilks to handle and Bryson followed up as the keeper spilled the effort to side foot home from close range. Blackpool came back at Derby with Gary Taylor-Fletcher clipping the outside of the post but despite some late pressure they failed to test Fielding and Nigel Clough`s side held on for their best start to a season since 1948.
Jeff Hendrick replaced Lee Croft for his first senior start in the only change from the side who recorded The Rams second win of the season against Watford on Saturday whilst James Bailey and Jamie Ward both recovered sufficiently to be named in the starting line-up. Blackpool created the first chance of the match when Gary Taylor-Fletcher flashed a shot across the face of goal and Derby came close themselves at the other end when Craig Bryson hit a low cross-shot across goal just evading Jamie Ward at the far post. Taylor-Fletcher tested Frank Fielding from twenty-five yards with a low shot but the Derby keeper easily gathered his effort.
John Brayford made good progress down the right and when the ball was worked back to Ben Davies his deep cross to the back post was clawed away from danger by Matt Gilks. Blackpool were on top but being restricted to long range efforts and Elliot Grandin shot straight at Fielding from just outside the area as Derby`s defence stood firm. Ben Davies threatened at the other end after some near build-up play but he dragged his shot wide from the edge of the area. Mark O`Brien made an important block from Stephen Crainey`s centre before Fielding held a firmly struck Keith Southern volley on the stroke of halftime as the sides reached the break all square.
Kevin Phillips fired wide from the edge of the area with the first effort of the second period after a strong run from Taylor-Fletcher as the game started to open up after a tight first-half. Derby were next to threaten when Steve Davies forced a save from Gilks and then again on the hour mark as Ben Davies picked out Ward on the left and his curling effort hit the angle of post and crossbar from twenty yards with Gilks beaten. As they continued to apply the pressure The Rams took the lead on sixty-nine minutes after a foul on Steve Davies by Matt Hill. Davies picked himself up to fire in a firm free kick from thirty yards that Gilks could not hold and Craig Bryson followed in to poach his first goal in a Derby shirt after joining from Kilmarnock in the summer.
Taylor-Fletcher was inches away from giving Blackpool an almost instant reply when he clipped the outside of the post from twenty yards and Lee Croft was brought on in place of Ward to give some fresh legs in midfield. The home side were upping the pressure to try and get back in the match but Shackell and O`Brien looked solid at the back and Theo Robinson came on for Steve Davies with just under five minutes to go to keep the Blackpool defence on their toes with his pace. Despite five minutes of added time Fielding was not called into action again and The Rams saw out the game to claim a third victory from three in the league.
Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Southern, Evatt, Grandin (Ince 76), Phillips, Ormerod (Clarke 60), Taylor-Fletcher, Baptiste, Ferguson, Hill (Sutherland 89).
Subs: Basham, Halstead
Derby County: Fielding, Brayford, O'Brien, Shackell, Kilbane, Bailey, Hendrick, B Davies (Roberts 90), Ward (Croft 77), Bryson, S Davies (Robinson 87).
Subs: Legzdins, Maguire.