Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Sunday December 24 2006
Burnley 0 Derby 0
DERBY dropped out of the automatic promotion places after being held to a goalless draw by Burnley at Turf Moor.
The Clarets, with just one win in their last seven games, more than matched the Rams and the home side`s best chance fell to Chris McCann, who fired wide from close-range from Wayne Thomas' cross. At the other end, the Rams had chances, but a combination of lax finishing and brave defending from Burnley ensured they failed to make the breakthrough.
The Rams, with eight wins in their last nine games, had Steve Howard back from suspension, replacing Arturo Lupoli, while Richard Jackson made his first start since September in place of the suspended Marc Edworthy.
Burnley made three changes from the 2-2 draw with Sunderland, as Steve Foster, Jon Harley and James O'Connor replaced John McGreal, Alan Mahon and the suspended Micah Hyde.
The Rams came flying out of the traps and Howard fired an early sighter over the bar, before Jon Stead had an effort blocked by Foster.
McCann then had the home side's first sight of goal, his shot blocked by Seth Johnson, before Darren Moore managed to get in the way of Thomas' header from Wade Elliott's corner.
But the Rams had the more clear-cut chances and it was Clarets goalkeeper Danny Coyne who was the busier of the two stoppers, twice having to make saves from Matt Oakley, before Rams keeper Stephen Bywater had to be alert to keep out Gifton Noel-Williams' close-range header.
Coyne's afternoon then came to a premature end as he was forced off injured, with Dane Brian Jensen coming on in his place.
Steve Jones then had an effort blocked for the home side, before the Rams tried their luck from long-range, David Jones and then Giles Barnes both saw efforts fail to test Jensen.
Moments later Jensen was forced into action by another Jones effort, but the lacklustre opening period drew to a close with chances about even.
O'Connor had the first effort of the second half but his 25-yard effort was comfortable for Bywater, before Barnes again missed from distance.
McCann then missed the target with a header from Michael Duff`s cross, but the start of the second period saw both sides struggling to get a stranglehold on the clash.
But it was the home side who should have taken the lead just before the hour mark, when Thomas crossed for the lively McCann, but his shot from close-range missed the target.
Barnes was looking the most likely for the Rams and he again tried his luck from the edge of the box but, yet again, the youngster`s effort was wide.
Morten Bisgaard came on for Oakley as Billy Davies tried to inspire his side to victory, and Stead saw a 25-yard volley blocked by Thomas, before Bisgaard managed to block Noel-Williams' curling 20-yard effort.
Derby's Jones then missed the target with a powerfully-struck effort, before Noel-Williams had another shot blocked, this time by Moore.
Stead, tried his luck from long-range but McCann managed to get in the way of his effort.
There was still time for one final chance to fall for both sides, Noel-Williams' shot from Elliott's corner went wide, and substitute Arturo Lupoli almost scored with his first touch, he was only centimetres away from Howard`s nod back, but the point were shared.
Burnley: Coyne (Jensen 18), Foster, Thomas, Duff, Harley, Elliott, McCann, James O'Connor, Jones, Lafferty, Noel-Williams.
Subs Not Used: Mahon, Garreth O'Connor, Branch, Spicer.
Derby: Bywater, Boertien, Moore, Leacock, Jackson, Oakley (Bisgaard 72), Jones, Seth Johnson, Barnes (Michael Johnson 88), Howard, Stead (Lupoli 86).
Subs Not Used: Malcolm, Camara.
Ref: M Pike (Cumbria).
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Date:Sunday December 24 2006
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