Away Woes Again
Amex Community Stadium
Attendance: 25, 464
A poor start left Derby County with too much to do as they conceded a goal inside the first two minutes of the match and went down 2-1 to Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Community Stadium. Ashley Barnes tapped home from close range after 81 seconds and the home side were well on top in the opening stages before Andrea Orlandi headed in a second from a right-wing cross on twenty-five minutes. Derby slowly fought their way back into the match although a combination of Adam Legzdins and Paul Coutts denied Orlandi what looked destined to be a third goal. Jeff Hendrick turned in a low freekick from Jamie Ward with twenty minutes to go to set up a nervous finish for Brighton but despite The Rams having the pressure they could not find a way passed Tomasz Kuszczak.
Kieron Freeman came into the side in place of Michael Jacobs in the only change to the starting line-up but there was a change in shape with The Rams going 4-5-1 and John Brayford moved from rightback to an unfamiliar central midfield role. However, the change in shape to match their hosts` formation did Derby little good in the opening stages and they fell behind after only 81 seconds when Inigo Calderon played in David Lopez down the right and with all the time in the world he rolled the ball across to Ashley Barnes who tapped-in from close range. Conor Sammon charged down an attempted clearance and fed Ben Davies but the midfielder`s effort was blocked and Sammon again threatened but he was denied by Adam El-Abd as he ran into the area.
Brighton saw a lot of the ball in the opening stages and whilst Derby were looking better after their poor start they fell two goals behind with twenty-five minutes gone. Lopez and Calderon combined again down the right and his cross was met by Andrea Orlandi with a powerful header passed Adam Legzdins to double the advantage. Will Hughes picked up a knock to his back and was replaced by Jamie Ward a minute before the break in the only real moment of note before halftime.
Calderon headed wide of the mark when an Orlandi corner found him unmarked in the area and Ward fired over from just outside the area after creating enough room to turn as The Rams looked to get back into the game and were starting to see a lot more of the ball. Will Buckley caught out Richard Keogh, robbing him of the ball before running at goal but Gareth Roberts got back to clear his final pass to Barnes who then broke clear of the Derby defence himself and played in Orlandi but a fine reaction save from close range by Legzdins denied the Spaniard before Paul Coutts got back to clear the rebound off the line.
Derby found a foothold in the match with twenty minutes to go when Ward`s low freekick from the edge of the area was touched home by Jeff Hendrick and substitute Michael Jacobs fired narrowly over as they went in search of an equaliser. Keogh`s glancing header was narrowly off target and despite a nervy ending to the match for Brighton with The Rams upping the pressure they saw out the closing stages to take the victory.
Derby County: Legzdins; Freeman (Jacobs 61), Keogh, O'Brien (Robinson 86), Roberts; Brayford, Coutts, Hendrick, Hughes (Ward 44), Davies; Sammon.
Subs Not Used: Fielding, O'Connor, Tyson, Bennett.
Brighton: Kuszczak, Calderon Greer, El-Abd, Bridge; Bridcutt, Hammond, Lopez (Crofts 87); Orlandi (Dicker 76), Buckley (LuaLua 76), Barnes.
Subs Not Used: Ankergren, Dunk, Vicente, Hoskins.