Rams Put Up Brave Fight
Attendance: 32, 110
Derby County put in a good showing but Chelsea`s quality showed in the end as they won 2-0 at the iPro Stadium to claim their place in the next round of the FA Cup. The Rams matched their Premiership opponents for long periods of the match but Chelsea looked comfortable at the back with Mark Schwarzer largely untroubled. Oscar went close twice before the break before Chelsea put the tie to bed with two goals in five minutes with John Obi Mikel heading home from close range before Lee Grant will feel he should have done better as Oscar slammed an effort past him at his near post. Chris Martin was denied and Mason Bennett went close as The Rams rallied in the closing stages but they are now left to concentrate on the league.
Jeff Hendrick replaced the injured Craig Bryson and Simon Dawkins also returned to the starting line-up in place of Johnny Russell who suffered a fractured cheekbone on New Year`s say. Chelsea started the game with a spell of possession but the Derby defence stood firm and they nearly created the first chance of the game with a low cross from Craig Forsyth but it was hacked to safety and Dawkins hit a shot from outside the area but it was always too high to trouble Mark Schwarzer. Samuel Eto`o muscled Michael Keane off the ball and ran at goal only to be denied by Jake Buxton and Oscar wasn`t far away with a curling freekick from twenty-five yards as the visitor`s got back on top again.
The Brazilian went close again with just under ten minutes to go until the break when he ran at the Derby defence and thumped an effort inches wide of Lee Grant`s post before John Eustace won the ball back in midfield and ran at the Chelsea backline before curling a tame effort into Schwarzer`s arms when Chris Martin looked to be better placed for a pass. The last chance of the half came the visitor`s way and Ramires` quick feet created a yard of space and his curling effort took a slight deflection before clipping the outside of the post and going behind for a corner.
Chelsea again started the better of the sides after the break keeping hold of the ball well and probing The Rams` defence but they stood up to the test and Jamie Ward had the first effort of note in the second period when he curled a freekick over the top from the edge of the area. The Premiership side`s class was beginning to tell as Derby were forced back and Jose Mourinho showed his intentions with the introduction of Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres from the bench.
As the pressure began to build Chelsea took the lead from a set piece on sixty-six minutes after an unnecessary foul from Ward wide on the right. Willian`s whipped ball into the area was headed home by Jon Obi Mikel from close range as Grant came to meet the cross. The lead was doubled only five minutes later when a throw-in eventually reach Oscar and his effort from just inside the area deceived Grant and flew into the net on the keeper`s near post. As The Rams chased the game they inevitably left themselves exposed at the back and Torres was twice denied by Grant, firstly taking the ball off the substitute`s toe as he looked set to walk the ball into the net before then keeping out another effort at full stretch down to his right.
Ramires` effort took a deflection and arced onto the bar before Derby get on top in the closing stages as they tried to get back into the match. Substitute Conor Sammon showed good strength to hold off two defenders before slipping a neat pass to Chris Martin but his low effort was kept out by Schwarzer with the help of the post as the ball squirmed through his hands. Fellow sub Mason Bennett looked lively down the right causing Ashley Cole problems and he had the last effort when he controlled the ball on the edge of the area before sending a shot just wide of Schwarzer`s post but there was no way back for Derby as they went out of the cup at the third round stage.
Derby County: Grant, Wisdom, Forsyth, Eustace (Bennett 70), Keane, Buxton, Hughes, Hendrick, Martin, Ward (Sammon 69), Dawkins (Bailey 83),
Subs: Legzdins, Freeman, Whitbread, Cissť.
Chelsea: Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Cole, Mikel, Cahill, Luiz, Ramires, Essien (Hazard 55), Eto'o (Torres 64), Oscar (Baker 87), Willian.
Subs: Cech, Mata, Terry, Kalas, Baker.
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