Bamford Wins It For Rams
Attendance: 25, 392
Patrick Bamford scored the only goal of the game as he came off the bench to give Derby County a 1-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in a tight encounter at the iPro Stadium. Lee Grant made a fine save from a Matt Upson header in a first half of few chances as Albion setup to frustrate The Rams and flooded midfield giving them little chance to get their usual passing game going. After the break Derby were more involved but hadn`t done enough to create a clear cut chance until Jamie Ward went down under a challenge in the edge of the area and the ball broke to Bamford who calmly curled an effort into the far corner to give his side the lead. Grant made another superb reaction save from a low shot from Leonardo Ulloa Before the end of the match but The Rams` backline stood firm to keep the clean sheet and secure the points.
John Eustace and Richard Keogh returned to the side as Steve McClaren looked for a reaction from the recent downturn in results but it was Brighton who threatened first when Keith Andrews screwed an effort wide from just outside the area when the ball fell to him. There were few chances as the sides cancelled each other out and it wasn`t until just after twenty in that Jamie Ward had the first effort for Derby when he cut in from the left but curled wide of the far post. Matt Upson escaped his marker and powered a header towards goal not long afterwards but Lee Grant tipped his effort over and Simon Dawkins had a low cross cleared from just in front of goal in the closing stages but neither side could find a breakthrough before halftime.
The game continued in a similar vein after the break with chances at a premium, Jeff Hendrick and Patrick Bamford were introduced on the hour mark to try and give some new momentum to The Rams and Conor Sammon replaced the injured Andre Wisdom with just under twenty minutes to go. Two of the changes made an impact as they were involved in the move that lead to the winning goal, Sammon played a neat ball out of defence that set the attack going and as Ward went down on the edge of the area Bamford kept his composure to curl a cultured finish into the far corner of the net with his left foot to open his account. Brighton threw everything at Derby in the closing stages but Jake Buxton and Richard Keogh stood up to the aerial barrage with Grant on hand on the one time they didn`t to make an outstanding reflex save from Leonardo Ulloa`s low strike to help secure the win.
Derby County: Grant, Wisdom (Sammon, 73), Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Eustace, Bryson, Hughes (Hendrick, 59), J Ward, Dawkins (Bamford, 60), Martin.
Unused subs: Legzdins, Keane, Whitbread, Bennett.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Kuszczak, Bruno, Upson, Greer, S Ward, Ince, Andrews, Forster-Caskey (Obika, 79), David Lopez (Augustien, 82), Orlandi (March, 68), Ulloa.
Unused subs: Brezovan, Dunk, Calderon, Chicksen.