Canaries v Rams - Report
6th March - 7.45pm
Jones double wins it for Rams
A double from David Jones was enough to see off a gutsy Norwich City side at Carrow Road - who had taken the lead through Chris Martin - as the Rams regained their lead at the top of the Championship.
Billy Davies made two changes to the side that started in the 5-1 victory against Colchester, with Craig Fagan preferred to Gary Teale and the fit-again Dean Leacock replaced the injured Michael Johnson. The Rams boss again sent out an attacking formation, (4-3-3) with Fagan, Steve Howard and Arturo Lupoli playing in front of a midfield trio of Matt Oakley, David Jones and Giles Barnes.
Norwich received a huge blow before the game with skipper Adam Drury a late withdrawal through illness. But front man Chris Martin passed a late fitness test and played, while veteran striker Dion Dublin had recovered from a calf strain, but only made the bench.
Norwich started the brighter and went close after only four minutes, Etuhu cutting in from the right and his 25-yard strike was saved well by Stephen Bywater. The Rams were on the back foot, and the Canaries went close again moments later, Gary Crofts shot was only parried by Bywater, and in the insuring goalmouth scramble Fotheringham shot was again saved by Bywater.
The Rams first noteworthy effort came in the 23rd minute, Jones played in Fagan, whose shot was wide of the target. The Rams settled, and Howard's flick on found Barnes and his shot flew just wide of Tony Warner's left post. It was now end-to-end and on 31 minutes, Safri`s free kick from 30-yard, curled just wide of the post with Bywater stranded.
There were chances at both ends, with Martin`s low shot saved well again by the busy Bywater and Oakley hit a long-range effort just wide.
The Rams had opened brightly in the second half, but it was the home side who took the lead on 51 minutes. Lappin found Martin on the edge of the penalty area, he was given far to much space by the Rams, and he made them pay, firing low past Bywater.
It was a huge blow for the Rams but Davies made a tactical move on the hour, with Fagan making way for Teale. The move had an immediate success and two minutes later the Rams were level, the hard working Jones received a throw in from Oakley on the Derby right before cutting inside to hit a superb curling strike from 22-yards that flew past Warner.
The Rams were back in the game but the home side thought they had regained the lead when Martin scored in the 65th minutes, but he was flagged offside. The Rams continued to push and deservedly went ahead in 72nd minute with a superb team goal Teale`s pace took him clear down the left, his cross found Barnes, who showed experience well above his years with a deft back-heel which found Jones who again scored, much to the delight of the traveling Rams fans.
The home side pressed forward looking for the equaliser and it took a superb reaction save from Bywater in the 75th minute to deny second half substitute Dublin, and the keeper also saved bravely at the feet of Martin late on. The Rams survived the four minutes added time to take out the points and regain the top spot in the league.
Norwich - GK Warner, Shackell, Huckerby, Croft, Safri (Dublin 74), Fotheringham, Hughes, Lappin, Etuhu, Doherty, Martin.
Subs not used: Lewis, McVeigh, Colin, Eagle.
Derby County - GK Bywater, Edworthy (Mears 45), McEverley, Leacock, Moore, Oakley (c), Jones, Barnes, Lupoli (Macken 73), Fagan (Teale 60), Howard
Subs not used: Grant, Malcolm
Att; - 23,462
Referee; - Lee Probert
"They threw the kitchen sink at us for the last 10 or 15 minutes but the lads stood up to be counted.
"They have done that week in, week out this season and we came away with a hard-fought victory.
"All I can say is we've got another 10 games to go and hopefully they'll be plenty more wins."
"I told the players at half time the only way Derby would get back into it is if we give Dave Jones space and low and behold, we do that.
"Suddenly they're 1-1 after we had 95% of the play. You've got to stand up and be counted and do the little things properly and we didn't do that again.
"I should be talking about a win, but we lost and that's all that matters."