Rams Let Lead Slip Again
Attendance: 27, 437
Derby County were held to a 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday at Pride Park on the opening day of the season after again allowing a lead to slip in the closing stages. A bright first-half saw Nathan Tyson and Jake Buxton give The Rams a two goal lead and they were looking comfortable until Chris O'Grady scored a superb goal, swivelling and firing into the top corner from the edge of the area. After the comeback from Scunthorpe in the week Derby looked nervous and sat back in the second period allowing Wednesday back into the match and a combination of this and a number of negative substitutions put the visitors on the front foot. After having a goal ruled out for offside the pressure eventually told when Reda Johnson headed home from close-range in the final minutes and O'Grady was then denied by Frank Fielding to ensure the game finished all square.
Summer signings Richard Keogh and Paul Coutts were named in the starting line-up whilst there were places on the bench for Michael Jacobs, Valentin Gjokaj and James O'Connor. Sheffield Wednesday had the first efforts of the match when Chris O'Grady had an effort from outside the area held by Frank Fielding and Jermaine Johnson then dragged a shot across goal in a bright opening. The Rams were soon on the front foot however and were soon on top and took the lead with their first effort on target when a Gareth Roberts cross from the left was flicked on by Jamie Ward to find Nathan Tyson completely unmarked and he took a touch before stroking home from close-range.
Keogh's header was straight at Chris Kirkland in the visitor's goal and Ward also tested the keeper before The Rams doubled their lead on twenty-six minutes. Coutts' corner was only half cleared and Craig Bryson's miss-hit shot found it's way back to the former Preston midfielder who crossed again from the right and Jake Buxton headed home for his third goal in two games. Chances continued to come for Derby and Tyson was denied after Kirkland blocked his effort at point-blank range to keep the lead at only two and the visitors were back in the game against the run of play with five minutes to go until half-time. A ball played to O'Grady saw him take a touch and turn and fire an unstoppable shot beyond Frank Fielding and into the top corner to leave his side only one goal behind at the break.
Ward tested Kirkland again at the start of the second half with a thirty-yard free-kick that was touched behind for a corner and Johnson threatened at the other end when his run took him past three defenders but he could only poke a tame effort well wide of the near post. As Derby became more negative in their approach Wednesday came into the game more but whilst they enjoyed possession they did not unduly threaten Fielding in the Derby goal.
With twenty minutes to go the linesman's flag denied an equaliser when Lewis Buxton's cross-shot was touched home at the far post by Gary Madine but he was yards offside and Nigel Clough responded by bringing off Tyson for James O'Connor to give his side some stability at the back. Johnson and O'Grady both threatened with their pace and after another defensive change, bringing on Valentin Gjokaj for Will Hughes, the visitors found an equaliser when Buxton's cross was headed down by Madine and Reda Johnson nodded home from close-range. It could have been worse for The Rams when Fielding made a sharp save from O'Grady after he turned sharply but both sides had to settle for a point at the final whistle.
Derby County: Fielding; Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, Roberts; Coutts, Bryson, Hendrick, Hughes (Gjokaj 86); Ward (Robinson 81), Tyson (O`Connor 73).
Subs Not Used: Legzdins, Bennett, Jacobs, Doyle.
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland; Buxton, Gardner (Beevers 81), Llera, R. Johnson; J. Johnson, Semedo, Pecnik (Madine 55), McCabe, Antonio; O'Grady.
Subs Not Used: Bywater, Mattock, Maguire, Coke, Prutton.