Lupoli the pride of Derby
FA Cup 3rd Round - 06.01.07
Lupoli the pride of Derby
Derby 3 Wrexham 1
Arturo Lupoli ended his goal drought in style with a superb hat-trick to ensure the Rams a safe passage into the fourth round. The on loan striker had failed to score in his last seven previous appearances, but he made up for that to seal the Rams victory against a brave Wrexham side. .
The Rams were forced to endure several nervous moments in the opening exchanges, with Wales striker Chris Llewellyn firing wide 20-yards on four minutes.
The visitors created an even better opening four minutes later, Lee McEvilly drilling in a shot which Stephen Bywater parried to safety.
The Rams looked unsure and struggled to gain a foothold on the game and it took 23 minutes for them to put Denis Smith's side under any real pressure.
The effort came from midfielder Morten Bisgaard, who shot inches over the crossbar, before defender Mo Camara fired straight at Michael Ingham with a fierce 20-yard strike. Derby began to dominate, and in the 32nd minute, they were in front. Michael Johnson defensive headerl fell to Bisgaard inside the centre circle. The Dane turned well and shrugged off a challenge before sending Lupoli clear, The young Italian took a touch and smashing the ball emphatically past Ingham.
The goal eased the Rams nerves and David Jones then tested Ingham twice and their pressure told 11 minutes after the restart, as Lupoli claimed his second.
Bisgaard's again was the provider, his inswinging corner was met by the young Italian and his header bulleted into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
The game looked secure but the Red Dragons were given a lifeline by Derby midfielder Bob Malcolm, whose dreadful back pass fell straight to McEvilly and he finished neatly to raise hopes of a fight back from the visitors.
Indeed, with 13 minutes remaining, McEvilly shot fired narrowly over the crossbar as the visiting fans roared on their team. But the game was decided in the 85th, and it was that man Lupoli who put the game beyond doubt and claimed the match ball.
Rams centre forward Steve Howard fired a shot against the crossbar and Lupoli was quickest to react, popping up with a predatory header to seal victory and put the Rams in the hat for the fourth round draw..
Derby: Bywater, Edworthy, Moore, Michael Johnson, Camara, Bisgaard (Barnes 76), Malcolm (Smith 70), Oakley (Peschisolido 90), Jones, Lupoli, Howard.
Subs Not Used: Jackson, Seth Johnson.
Booked: Michael Johnson.
Goals: Lupoli 32, 56, 85.
Wrexham: Ingham, Valentine, Pejic, Steve Evans, Mike Williams, Crowell (Johnson 58), Danny Williams, Ferguson, Done, McEvilly, Llewellyn.
Subs Not Used: Michael Jones, Spender, Marc Williams, Gareth Evans.
Goals: McEvilly 61.
Ref: R Beeby (Northamptonshire).
Derby manager Billy Davies said: 'These games are all potential banana skins and the pitch was a bit tricky today. But we were in a composed position until we shot ourselves in the foot through complacency and sloppiness.
'We gave them a wonderful lift and after that they had a real go at us but we showed good spirit which we needed to finish the game off.'
'Our priority is the league but wins bring confidence.
'This game was a test of our character especially after we gave away a sloppy goal which got Wrexham right back into the match.
'They came back at us but we stood up well and then got a third which settled the game for us.'
Smith said: 'I thought we had a little spell at 2-1 when we possibly could have sneaked a result out of it. We had a chance which just went past a post.
'But they were excellent and we could have no complaints about the result.'