Rams Throw Away Points After Strong Start
Attendance: 26, 541
Derby County let a two goal lead slip as they ended up losing 4-3 to Cardiff City at Pride Park in another topsy-turvy game. Julien de Sart and Darren Bent but The Rams 2-0 up inside the seventeen minutes and they looked to be cruising to a win before Kadeem Harris` deflected effort put The Bluebirds back in the match just before halftime. Harris levelled the scores two minutes into the second period after Derby failed to deal with a long throw and Craig Noone curled home a third ten minutes later. Bent glanced home Derby`s equaliser with just under fifteen minutes to go as the game swung back in their favour but as they pushed forward for the win Alex Pearce`s clumsy challenge in the area left Joe Ralls to score the winner from the spot on the stroke of full-time.
Julien de Sart and Jacob Butterfield returned to the side in midfield and there was also a place for Ikechi Anya in the front three as The Rams looked to get back to winning ways after their comeback at the weekend. They certainly started quickly as they pushed Cardiff back and they took the lead on seven minutes, Alex Pearce`s header from a corner was palmed away by Allan McGregor with the ball falling into the path of de Sart who calmly took the chance.
Derby were two in front on seventeen minutes when Tom Ince picked out Darren Bent and he took advantage of hesitation between two defenders to bundle home and double their lead. Kadeem Harris forced Scott Carson into a save almost straight from the kick-off but the chances were all at the other end with Ince being denied by McGregor and Will Hughes having a shot deflected behind for a corner.
Cardiff got themselves back in the game with four minutes to go to the break when Harris` shot took a deflection off a defender and looped over Carson and into the net. The goal changed the outlook of the game with The Rams suddenly looking jittery having dominated the half to that point and Kenneth Zohore was denied by Carson as the visitors nearly found an equaliser before the break.
They were on level terms only two minutes into the second half when a long throw from the left by Aron Gunnarsson wasn't dealt with by the Derby defence and Harris converted the chance from close range as the ball dropped to him. The game was completely turned on it`s head just the minutes later as Craig Noone was afforded time to turn on the ball and he curled home a superb finish to put Cardiff in front.
It could have been worse shortly after the hour mark as the visitors broke from a Derby corner but with a four on two in their favour Zohore too a shot instead of using the numerical advantage. Butterfield was inches away with a shot from outside the area as The Rams got back on top and Johnny Russell, on as a substitute, had a header cleared off the line. The equaliser was not long in coming as Bent glanced home a header with fourteen minutes to go to level the scores again.
The momentum was with Steve McClaren`s side as they piled forward in search of a win but there was one final twist in the game as Rhys Healey was clipped from behind by Pearce in the area and Joe Ralls scored from the spot on ninety minutes to give Cardiff the win.
Derby County: Carson, Baird (Russell, 65), Keogh, Pearce, Olsson; de Sart, Hughes (Nugent, 66), Butterfield (Blackman, 90); Ince, Anya, Bent
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Christie, Shackell, Johnson
Cardiff City: McGregor, Connolly, Morrison, Bamba, Richards; Ralls, Halford (Healey, 80); Noone (Hoilett, 85), Gunnarsson, K. Harris (John, 88); Zohore
Substitutes not used: Murphy, Bennett, Whittingham, M. Harris