Derby Too Good For Palace
Attendance: 25, 222
Derby County made hard work of winning a game they should have put out of sight with some late sloppiness allowing Crystal Palace to get back into the match before claiming the points with a 3-2 win. Steve Davies and Jeff Hendrick scored in a first half with all the chances coming to the home side who could and should have been more than two goals ahead at the break. An early penalty in the second half saw Theo Robinson score his eleventh goal the season and Derby were seemingly cruising to victory before they began to get sloppy with the ball. After Frank Fielding was penalised for picking up a back pass Palace got a goal back with a quickly taken freekick and Darren Ambrose curled home from the edge of the area on ninety minutes but it wasn`t enough for his side as The Rams closed out the game to move within five points of the play-offs.
Derby got off to a good start and took the lead in the sixth minute when Theo Robinson made progress down the left and his cross took a deflection allowing Steve Davies to beat two defenders to the ball and stab home from close range. Glenn Murray had a chance at the other end when he was first to a corner but his weak header was an easy gather for Frank Fielding. Tom Naylor was in action twice in quick succession to clear the danger and Paul Green should have extended his sides` lead when he took a cross down and shot from close range but his effort was straight at Julian Speroni who made the save.
Robinson was looking sharp for The Rams and he struck the bar just after the twenty minute mark when he took a touch on the edge of the area before his dipping effort beat Speroni but hit the woodwork with the ball eventually going behind for a goalkick. The constant pressure from the home side eventually lead the second goal when Green`s cross from the right was punched clear only as far as the edge of the area and Jeff Hendrick volleyed into the empty net for this third goal of the season. Murray had one last effort before the break from range that Fielding held but it had been comfortable first half for Derby as they went in two goals ahead.
The Rams started the second half as quickly as the first and they were awarded a penalty after four minutes when Paddy McCarthy handled a cross into the area and Robinson stepped up to send Speroni the wrong way from the spot. Craig Bryson fired shot wide of the near post from a low cross and the Scottish midfielder then thrashed a volley narrowly wide of the mark when a high clearance from a corner fell to him. Fielding reacted well to keep out a Darren Ambrose freekick that took a deflection and Palace pulled a goal back from nowhere when Fielding picked the ball up from what was deemed a back pass and the visitors took the freekick quickly allowing Chris Martin to shoot with the Derby keeper not quite getting enough on the effort to keep it out. The Rams found themselves under pressure after cruising in the game and Ambrose curled home from the edge of the area on ninety minutes to setup a nervy finish but the four minutes of injury time were easily seen out by Derby as they held on for the win.
Derby County: Fielding; Naylor, Buxton, Shackell, Roberts; Green, Hendrick, Bryson, B. Davies; Robinson (Tyson 76), S. Davies (Ball 31).
Subs Not Used: Severn, Bailey, Carroll.
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Clyne, McCarthy, Gardner, Parr (Appiah 76); Ambrose, Dikgacoi, Jedinak (Moxey 45), Scannell (Williams 45); Murray, Martin.
Subs Not Used: Price, McShane.