Rams Pegged Back
Attendance: 25, 765
Derby County let a two goal lead slip as they were held to a 2-2 against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsbrough to mirror the score and scoring when the sides met on the opening day of the season. Jeff Hendrick exchanged passes with Jamie Ward on the edge of the area before sliding home to give his side the lead in a firsthalf dominated by The Rams and when Ward was fouled by Miguel Llera and converted the resulting spotkick just three minutes into the second half things looked good for Derby. However, Leroy Lita poked home from close range after a Danny Pugh corner caused problems in the visitor`s defence just four minutes later and Llera stooped to power home a header at the far post six minutes after that to level the scores and give his side a point. On the reflection of play a draw was probably a fair result but Nigel Clough will be disappointed after his side gave away a two goal lead for the second time against Wednesday this season.
Mark O`Brien felt pain in the knee that kept him out of the Republic of Ireland`s Under-21 side in the warm-up and was replaced at the last minute by Jake Buxton. The change didn`t affect The Rams though as they started the game at a high tempo and Jamie Ward fired in an effort from the edge of the area within the first sixty seconds but Chris Kirkland reacted well to keep his effort out.
Kieran Lee flicked a cross straight into the arms of Adam Legzdins in a rare foray into the Derby half for the home side as Jeff Hendrick and Will Hughes stroked the ball around in the centre of the park as The Rams dominated possession. A neat move on twenty-three minutes saw them deservedly take the lead after Hendrick exchanged passes with Ward on the edge of the area and run on to slide his finish under Kirkland from ten yards. Conor Wickham was introduced not long after the goal to give Wednesday some more physical presence up front and whilst Derby continued to dominate they could not create another clear cut chance before the break.
Michail Antonio fired well over from twenty yards at the start of the second period before The Rams were given a golden opportunity to double their lead when Miguel Llera`s clumsy challenge on Ward saw him bundle the striker over and the referee point to the spot. Ward picked himself and drilled the penalty low into the net for his eight goal of the season.
The two goal advantage did not last long however as Leroy Lita got the final touch after a mix-up in the area following a Danny Pugh corner from the right just four minutes later. With their tails up Wednesday found an equaliser just before the hour mark after they broke forward and a cross towards the far post was met by the stooping Llera and his header flew into the net beyond Legzdins to level the scores. The Rams were rocking after giving away a two goal advantage but they stood firm at the back and eventually fought their way back into the match. Theo Robinson and Michael Jacobs were both introduced in the final stages to try and snatch a late winner but neither side could find the breakthrough and settled for a point apiece.
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland; Buxton, Llera, Gardner, Pugh; Lee (Wickham 34), Coke, Prutton, Helen (Johnson 87); Lita, Antonio.
Subs not used: Bywater, Taylor, Semedo, Madine, McCabe.
Derby County: Legzdins; Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, Roberts; Coutts (Davies 74), Hughes (Jacobs 88), Hendrick, Bryson; Ward (Robinson 78), Sammon.
Subs not used: Fielding, Gjokaj, Freeman, Hoganson.