Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Sunday February 18 2007
FA Cup 5th Rd - Home Park
Plymouth 2 Derby 0
Derby County`s FA Cup dream turned into a nightmare at Home Park yesterday, with the Rams losing 0-2, to hard working Plymouth side who settled better in difficult conditions. The Rams looked lethargic, and never really got into the game that will be remembered for two penalty awards, the sending off of Darren Moore and much more besides - but, more crucially, the Rams not progressing to the quarter-finals after the long trip to the south west.
The Rams made five changes to their starting line up, right-back Tyrone Mears came in for his full Derby County debut. Also winger Ryan Smith came back into the team, as did Mo Camara at left-back and Seth Johnson and Morten Bisgaard in midfield.
Jay McEveley and Gary Teale were cup-tied for the match and team captain Matt Oakley and Mark Edworthy were suspended and Giles Barnes dropped to the bench.
The home side started brightly and the Rams had Stephen Bywater to thank after a great save in the fourth minute. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake spread the ball out to the left where it was picked up by Scott Sinclair, who cut inside and his 20-yards shot was saved at full-stretch by the Rams custodian.
Rams defender Moore, who had been solid over recent weeks looked uncertain and after a poor challenge on David Norris was lucky not to given a yellow card, but his afternoon would get worse. But the home side were ahead on 12 minutes, Kevin Gallen was brought down by Dean Leacock, and although there wasn`t much contact referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot. The on-loan striker from QPR, picked himself up and scored past Bywater to his left, although he did guess right and was unlucky not to push the ball round the post
The Rams were struggling and their best effort came on 17 minutes, David Jones` free kick curled just over the bar with Luke McCormick at full stretch.
The home side were fighting for every ball and were dominating the Rams, and they constantly closed down the Rams midfielders and went close themselves, Gallen heading just over after good work from Ebanks-Blake.
On the half-hour Bywater made another outstanding save, this time tipping a Dan Gosling shot around the post. The Home Park horrors from earlier in the season were returning, and the home side should have made it 2-0 on 32 minutes. Moore was adjudged to have pushed Timar - in what looked like another soft decision but the referee again pointed to the spot. But this time Bywater flung himself to the right to palm away Gallen`s spot-kick.
It was a reprieve for the Rams but they again struggled to cause the Pilgrims defence problems, Bisgaard shooting wide and Pearson`s goal bound shot was blocked.
Billy Davies made a change at the break bringing on Jon Macken for Smith and Barnes for Jones.
But the home side still dominated early and Bywater was needed again in the 54th minute, when Sinclair`s cross-shot was heading for the top corner but he tipped the ball over at full stretch. The Rams went close moments later Leacock found Macken and his shot from the edge of the box was tipped over McCormick.
The Rams had their own penalty claim turned down by referee Dean`s after Macken`s shot hit
Gary Sawyer`s arm, but the referee waved away their protests. The Rams chances took another blow on 65 minutes when Moore was shown a second yellow card and was sent off. Macken then went close again on the 70th minute, and he was found by Steve Howard but his shot was deflected wide.
Plymouth was hitting the Rams on the counter-attack and Gallen went close again on 75 minutes, his weak header saved by Bywater. The Rams still pressed and Bisgaard shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide and moments later the Pilgrims wrapped up the match. The Pilgrims counter-attacked again and David Norris crossed from the right and Sinclair headed past Bywater and in off the post.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of the Rams and ended the 2007 FA Cup run, but to their credit they didn't give up fighting until the final whistle. The large travelling support although disappointed will now hope that Davies and his side can push for promotion to the Premiership at season`s end.
Plymouth: GK McCormick, Nalis, Timar, Norris, Ebanks-Blake, Gallen, Sawyer, Seip, Connolly, Sinclair, Gosling (Halmosi). Subs: Hodges, Clapham, Summerfield, Djordjic.
Derby County: GK Bywater, Mears, Leacock, Moore, Camara, Bisgaard, Pearson, Jones (Barnes 45), S Johnson (M Johnson 69), Smith (Macken 45), Howard. Subs: Peschisolido, Lupoli.
Referee: Mike Dean
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Date:Sunday February 18 2007
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