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Rams back in business

Derby County
1 - 0
Plymouth Argyle

Pride Park

30-12-06 / 3pm

Attendance: 25,775


Danish midfielder Morten Bisgaard netted a late goal as Derby registered a 1-0 victory over Plymouth at Pride Park.
Bisgaard, making his first start for a month, scored his second goal of the season to enliven an otherwise dull encounter, played in difficult wet conditions.
The victory kick-started the Rams` promotion push with Derby having been forced to settle for just one point from their last two fixtures. Meanwhile, Plymouth`s winless run was extended to a third game.

Bisgaard was among the action early on as he latched onto Jon Stead`s pass down the left flank and bore down on goal but Argyle keeper Romain Larrieu spread himself well to save. David Norris responded for the visitors, he beat Darren Moore to the ball on the edge of the box, but he shot wide. But with just 13 minutes gone, Argyle boss Ian Holloway was forced into a substitution as Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was replaced by Cherno Samba.
Derby threatened again 10 minutes later when Stead centred from the left, but neither Matt Oakley nor Bisgaard could get a touch on the cross which zipped off a surface made slick by rain.

The Rams almost conceded in the 26th minute, a defensive clearance from Moore sliced of his boot and flew Samba, who reacted quickest and his header forced goalkeeper Stephen Bywater into a fingertip save.
Just after the half-hour mark, Mo Camara was booked after a foul on Norris which interrupted a Pilgrims counter-attack, and the Rams pressed with Marc Edworthy`s cross from the right which was only centimetres of the onrushing Steve Howard.

Derby made a change at the break, bringing on Giles Barnes for David Jones, and they opened the stronger with Bisgaard and Oakley combining for a smart one-two, which provided the former with a shooting opportunity, though Larrieu again saved the Pilgrims.
From the resultant corner, Peter Capaldi headed Moore`s shot, which had come through a crowd of players, off the line.
But Plymouth hit back through Lilian Nalis who, in the 53rd minute, saw his first shot blocked by Bob Malcolm and his second, from the rebound, comfortably saved by Bywater.
Barry Hayles fired wide for Plymouth after Barnes had gifted possession in the midst of a Derby attack a blunder which brought Davies off the bench in a fury. The Pride Park boss opting to replace Malcolm with Arturo Lupoli on 63 minutes, and the speedy Italian had an immediate impact. He caused problems with his first touch and set up Jon Stead who fired wide.
But the deadlock was broken in the 83rd minute, and Lupoli was the provider. He was found by Stead down the left, and his cross was met by Bisgaard`s foot from eight-yards out and he fired home, much to the relief of the Derby faithful.
Argyle`s Paul Connolly lost his self-discipline late on in the game when he escaped punishment for punching the grounded Stead but was then cautioned after hacking down Lupoli.

Bywater, Edworthy, Leacock, Moore, Camara, Bisgaard, Oakley, Jones (Barnes 46), Malcolm (Lupoli 62), Howard, Stead (Michael Johnson 89).
Subs Not Used: Peschisolido, Seth Johnson.

Booked: Camara.

Goal: Bisgaard 81.

Plymouth: Larrieu, Connolly (Summerfield 90), Doumbe, Seip, Aljofree, Norris, Buzsaky (Dickson 90), Nalis, Capaldi, Ebanks-Blake (Samba 13), Hayles.
Subs Not Used: McCormick, Sawyer.

Booked: Seip, Connolly, Aljofree.

Att: 25,775

Ref: C Webster (Tyne & Wear

Star Player

Derby - Vital Football Man of the Match
Dean Leacock
- Another outstanding performance from the young central defender

Manager Rating

After Match Coaches Comments
Billy Davies - Derby County

DERBY manager Billy Davies is resigned to the fact he must sell before he can buy in the January transfer window as his side maintained their push for automatic promotion.
Davies believes his squad lacks strength in depth and said: 'There is no way we will last the pace with this squad. We need to add to the squad and raise the bar in terms of quality. To do that, some players will have to go it is inevitable.
'The financial reality means if we want to bring players in, then the trading cannot be one way.
But for Derby to be up there, after I've been here just six months, is nothing short of remarkable.``

Opponent Rating

Ian Holloway - Plymouth Argyle
Plymouth manager Ian Holloway blamed bad fortune for Argyle`s downfall.
He said: 'I`m very disappointed because we looked solid at the back and I could see us breaking away to score.
'But we conceded because Jon Stead was very fortunate. We had cleared it up the other wing, but Stead had been lazy and not tracked back for Derby and got it in a good position when we lost possession. Then he got it to Arturo Lupoli, who did very well, and we have let in a goal.
'But that was the only chance Derby had in the game and as it turned out, the referee was their best defender because for some reason he pulled play back in the first half when we were on the attack with three versus three.``

Writer:Peter Simcox
Date:Sunday December 31 2006
Time: 6:36AM

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Please beat the Nobbers for the automatic places.
31/12/2006 09:10:00
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