Rams v Tigers report
10-02-07 - Championship
Attendance: 28, 140
Tigers claw back for point
Derby County 2 Hull City 2
The Rams had to do with a share of the spoils as Hull City twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at Pride Park.
Gary Teale opened the scoring with his first goal for the Rams after they had survived a frantic penalty box scramble but Andy Dawson restored parity with a free-kick four minutes later.
Nevertheless, Derby reached half time in front after Darren Moore headed home moments before the whistle.
But with less than two minutes remaining the Tigers snatched a point as Dave Livermore volleyed home a Sam Ricketts cross.
Jay McEveley was handed a Derby County debut in place of Mo Camara as boss Billy Davies made three changes to the side that won 1-0 at Southampton a week ago.
Gary Teale was also back in the starting line-up replacing Bob Malcolm, while Giles Barnes replaced Craig Fagan, who was suspended and also not able to face his former club.
The Rams started the brighter, and they forced two early corners, from the second, Steve Howard's glancing header dipped wide, though the whistle had already gone for a foul on the keeper. The big striker went close again on 18 minutes. Teale's cross with a flicked on by the striker, but Myhill saved.
Hull looked suspect down the flanks but looked good going forward, as the relegation-threatened side showed they had defiantly come to play. Stephen McPhee was sent clear for the Tigers, but he was forced wide and could only shoot straight at Stephen Bywater, but moments later the Rams had the lead.
The Rams were under the cosh on their own goal line, where some desperate defending had blocked four successive shots, before Stephen Pearson broke from his own penalty area at pace. He feed Teale down the right channel, and he fired past Myhill`s for the opening goal
But the Tigers were level in the 33rd minute, after Darren Moore fouled Jon Parkin just outside the box, and Dawson free kick sailed over the wall and past Bywater's out-stretched arms. It was the first goal Derby had conceded since the New Year's Day win at Preston.
The Rams should have been back in front on 40 minutes, Barnes attacked with pace before finding McEveley whose cross found the fast arriving Pearson free in the box, but his downward header was blocked by Myhill`s legs
But the Rams did have the lead again in stoppage-time, Jones` corner from the left was met by Moore whose header beat Myhill.
The Rams had to defend again after the break as Hull continued to take the game to their hosts, they forced a couple of corners to open the second half but the Rams defended them well, and then they hit on the counter-attack, Barnes 20-yard shot was saved low by Myhill.
Stephen McPhee should have done better for Hull in the 67th minute but blazed well over and Howard almost continued his goal scoring feats ten minutes later, but his header was cleared off the line by Danny Coles. But the Tigers continued to press and they scored the equaliser in the 88th minute, Sam Ricketts found space down the right and he found Livermore to drive home from ten yards.
A frustrating day for the Rams and the pitch may be levelled the sides on the day, but that`s not taking anything away from Hull who battled all day. The Rams should have killed the game off earlier, but as they say, that's football - and a point isn't the end of the world, and with results elsewhere going the Rams way they have extended their lead at the top-of-the-table to seven points.
Derby County - GK Bywater, Edworthy, Moore, Leacock, McEveley, Teale (Macken 73), Oakley (Bisgaard 84), Pearson, Jones, Barnes (Lupoli 89), Howard
Subs not used: M Johnson, Mears.
Hull City - GK Myhill, Dawson, Coles, Turner, Forster, McPhee, Parkin (Windass 61), Delaney, Welsh (Parlour 61), Ricketts, Livermore
Subs not used: Duke (GK), Elliott, Duffy
Referee: M. Russell
Stephen Pearson - A great game from the young Scotsman. His pace caused Hull problems going forward all day and his hard work and tireless running helping out the defence. He should have scored in the second half with a header but he is showing a great deal of maturity.
Derby manager Billy Davies insisted he had a right to be delighted despite seeing his Coca-Cola Championship table-toppers twice squander a lead over visiting Hull.
Davies said: ''Before the game we were half-a-dozen points clear and now we are one point better off with one game less to play this season - that is why I am delighted.
"Hull scrapped for a point but I always knew it was going to be a very difficult afternoon for us, a potential banana skin.
''That said, who knows how significant that one point could prove at the end of the season?
''If someone had told me a few weeks ago we would be taking seven points over our next three fixtures then I would be more than happy with that.
''We have to be realistic and remember we are building a new team here and we are chopping and changing the squad all the time.
''We are only seven months into a long-term rebuilding project.``
Hull`s share of the spoils proved enough to lift the strugglers out of the relegation zone.
And Tigers boss Phil Brown said: ''Before the game I told my players I would walk into Pride Park with my head held high and I wanted them to make sure I could walk out with my held held high too.
''I thought we were good value for our point and could probably count ourselves unlucky not to have taken all three.
''We went into the game with a game plan to get something out of Derby - either a point or three - and we managed to score two goals against a team who have kept five clean sheets in a row.``