Bryson The Hero
Attendance: 28, 707
Craig Bryson scored the only goal of the match as Derby County beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 at the City Ground to continue their recent dominance in this fixture with a third straight win and a second in a row at the home of their East Midlands rivals. Chances were rare in a frantic fisthalf where the pace of the game prevented either side from gaining any meaningful possession. Having done well to keep control of the match in the opening period referee Robert Madley decided Dexter Blackstock had intentionally elbowed Richard Keogh just seconds after the interval and showed the former Derby loanee a harsh red card. The Rams took advantage less than ten minutes later when Paul Coutts` low cross gave Bryson the simple task of tapping into an empty net from close range. Frank Fielding made one sharp save from Simon Gillett in the closing stages but Derby controlled the pace of the game well enough to prevent a big finish and claimed the win to go above their rivals in the table.
Nigel Clough named an unchanged side despite the loss to Burnley last time out and Nottingham Forest opened strongly and there were shouts for a penalty for handball from a Simon Cox cross but the referee waved them away. Conor Sammon had space inside the area at the other end but his curled cross-shot did not trouble Lee Camp in the home goal. Chris Cohen`s effort was straight at Frank Fielding on fourteen minutes but chances were scarce as the frantic pace meant neither side could get the ball down and play.
Forest threatened from a couple of dead ball situations through Andy Reid but Fielding dealt with the cross on both occasions, punching the ball to safety on the second delivery. Sammon fired narrowly over the top from twenty-five yards with a fiercely struck effort and Cox wasn`t far away at the other from the edge of the area but neither side could carve out the opening goal before the break.
Dexter Blackstock received his marching orders seconds into the second half when he lead with his arm in a challenge with Richard Keogh, there was no doubt he caught the Derby defender but a red card was a little harsh as challenged for the ball. The Rams had already changed shape with Sammon playing the loan role up front and the extra man in midfield allowed them to start dictating the play and they took the lead nine minutes later. Neat build-up down the right saw John Brayford find Paul Coutts and his inviting low delivery allowed Bryson the simple task of tapping into the net from three yards out in front of his own fans.
Cox flicked a Cohen cross wide of the near post as Forest desperately tried to find a way back into the match but Derby were continuing to dictate the pace of the game and Fielding nearly spilled a Cohen freekick but grabbed the ball at the second attempt as substitute Billy Sharp closed in. Simon Gillett forced Fielding into a sharp reflex save with a well struck volley from the edge of the area before the rebound hit Jeff Hendrick and was cleared to safety. Five minutes of added time were signalled but there was no big finish from the home side who were never allowed to get a head of steam up due to The Rams dominance in midfield.
Nottingham Forest: Camp; Halford (Moloney 77), Ayala, Collins, Harding; Gillett, Cohen, McGugan (Lansbury 74), Reid (Sharp 74); Blackstock, Cox.
Subs Not Used: Evitmov, Moussi, Coppinger, Majewski.
Derby County: Fielding; Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, Roberts (O`Connor 77); Coutts, Hendrick, Bryson, Hughes; Ward (Jacobs 65), Sammon (Robinson 81).
Subs Not Used: Legzdins, Freeman, Gjokaj, Tyson.
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