Rams Fall Flat
Derby County were punished for a flat performance as they were beaten 3-0 by Cardiff City at Pride Park to fall out of the top six on goal difference. The Rams looked lethargic after their impressive victory over Portsmouth at the weekend and fell behind to a Filip Kiss strike on twenty minutes and never recovered. Mason Bennett started for the second time this season but had an ineffective game and injuries again took their toll with Russell Anderson looking likely to be out of the next match. Kevin Kilbane headed into his own net just after the hour mark to settle the outcome and Peter Whittingham beat the offside trap to smash home a third and lift the visitors above The Rams in the table.
Mason Bennett started at home for the first time this season in place of Theo Robinson and Kevin Kilbane also replaced the injured Mark O`Brien to line up alongside Jason Shackell in the centre of defence. Former Derby striker Kenny Miller lined up for the visitors and there was also a place on the bench for Robbie Earnshaw. Cardiff worked hard from the off to close The Rams down and stop their usual quick start and they had the first effort on target after fifteen minutes when Filip Kiss` low effort was gathered by Frank Fielding.
The same player found room in the box five minutes later when Kevin McNaughton headed a freekick kick back into the middle and his low left-footed effort found the bottom corner of Fielding`s net to open the scoring. Craig Conway escaped and ran clear on goal a few moments later but Fielding was out to block his effort and Jamie Ward forced a good low save from David Marshall at the other end in a rare sight of goal for The Rams. Jake Buxton came off the bench in place of the injured Russell Anderson just after the half hour mark but there were no more moments of danger as Derby went in a goal behind at the break.
Peter Whittingham and Aron Gunnarsson both fired wide of the mark as Cardiff came out strongly at the start of the second period and Shackell headed just over the top from a Ben Davies corner as The Rams looked to get back into the match. Fielding did well to turn a Conway effort away for a corner but he was beaten from the resulting dead ball as Kevin Kilbane got his head to a whipped delivery from Whittingham to head into the roof of his own net.
Callum Ball came on in place of Benentt with just under twenty minutes to go and was quickly involved in the action but he couldn`t match his neat turn with a finish as his effort flew over the top. Whittingham then escaped the offside trap to run clear on goal and he smashed the ball past Fielding to out the result beyond any doubt. Cardiff saw out the closing stages fairly comfortably with only a low shot from substitute Tomasz Cywka raising any concerns for the visitors.
Derby County: Fielding, Anderson (Buxton 31), Kilbane, Shackell, Roberts, B Davies, Hendrick, Bryson, Ward, Bennett (Ball 71), Maguire (Cywka 51).
Subs Not Used: Legzdins, Doyle.
Cardiff City: Marshall (Heaton 46), McNaughton (McPhail 77), Taylor, Kiss, Hudson, Whittingham, Cowie, Miller, Conway (Mason 82), Gunnarsson, Turner.
Subs Not Used: Gerrard, Earnshaw.