Rams Win Again
Attendance: 24, 126
Derby County extended their winning streak to five games with a single goal from Callum Ball proving to be enough to beat struggling Coventry City 1-0 at Pride Park. A tight encounter with few clear cut chances was settled by a neat move ending with Craig Bryson cutting the ball back into the youngsters` path and he didn`t break stride as he stroked the ball into the far corner of the net with his weaker right foot. The Sky Blues belied their lowly position looking solid at the back and enjoying the better of the opening stages with Gary McSheffrey testing Frank Fielding with an effort from the edge of the area. Jamie Ward looked a threat for The Rams and fired a freekick just wide of the post with a rare shot in the second period before Fielding pulled off a magnificent save from a McSheffrey header from a freekick from the left. The save proved vital as Derby were ahead less than a minute later and saw out the closing stages for another win.
Nigel Clough named an unchanged side with Mason Bennett and Jeff Hendrick returning on the bench being the only changes to the matchday squad. Coventry started brightly and Frank Fielding was called into action on six minutes to turn away a curling effort from just outside the area from Gary McSheffrey. The Rams slowly fought their way back into the match but chances were scarce and it wasn`t until twenty minutes that Jamie Ward tested Joe Murphy in the visitor`s goal but he gathered the shot with ease. Callum Ball was close to two crossed from Paul Green from the right but headed clearances from Richard Keogh denied him each time. Ward tested Murphy from outside the area again just before the half hour mark with the keeper again gathering the effort and the half petered out to the break as both sides looked solid at the back.
Green headed straight at Murphy with the first effort of the second period as Ward found him with a cross from the left but chances were again at a premium as the half progressed. The former Sheffield United man was The Rams main attacking threat and he fired a freekick narrowly wide from thirty yards and then Theo Robinson volleyed well over when presented with a decent opportunity as the ball dropped to him inside the area.
Coventry very nearly snatched the lead with fifteen minutes to go but a magnificent save from Fielding from McSheffrey`s flick on a whipped freekick denied the strugglers the opening goal. The save proved to be a vital moment with Derby taking the lead less than a minute later; Green found Craig Bryson down the right and his neat pull back found Ball who stroked the ball into the bottom corner of the net with his right foot for his third goal of the season. Cyrus Christie curled an effort just wide of the far post with five minutes to go but it was the closest Coventry came to getting back in the match as The Rams saw out the closing stages fairly comfortably to secure the victory.
Derby County: Fielding, Brayford, Barker, Shackell, Roberts, Green, Bryson, Bailey, Ward, Robinson, Ball (Buxton 90).
Subs Not Used: Legzdins, B Davies, Bennett, Hendrick.
Coventry City: Murphy, Christie, Cranie, Keogh, McPake (Clarke 74), Thomas, Baker, McSheffrey, Deegan, Clingan, Platt (Eastwood 79).
Subs Not Used: Dunn, Bell, Bigirimania.