Rams v Bolton - Report
Miller's strike not enough for Rams
The Rams and Bolton shared the spoils in an entertaining contest at Pride Park. Kenny Miller gave Billy Davies` side the lead from 10-yards, slotting in after some fine control and a cross from Steve Howard.
But Bolton levelled when Nicolas Anelka was given to much time on the edge of the box, his shot deflecting in via Dean Leacock. Miller blazed over after good work from Jay McEveley, while at the other end Christian Wilhelmsson and Anelka were both denied by Stephen Bywater.
Pride Park was almost full and cheered the Rams on, but it was Bolton who ended both halves the stronger, but the Rams deserved a point, but its two home points lost.
It`s only seven games into the season but this basement battle, had all the guts and determination of a classic six-pointer. Derby's David Jones seemed ready for a scrap - he was lucky to stay on the pitch early on after a tackle on Gary Speed earned him only a booking.
Bolton enjoyed more of the early possession, but it was Derby who created the first real chances. Stephen Pearson went on a mazy run in to the box before losing his footing as he was about to shoot, but moments later the Rams took the lead.
Howard was the creator, he`s having a slow start too his Premier League career but he always gives 100%, and he chested down a long ball and turned and crossed in one movement, finding Miller who did not having to break his stride to sweep into the corner from 15-yards to lift the roof off Pride Park.
Just as the Rams loked to add to their lead, the visitors stepped up a gear, Joey O'Brien slamming just wide after the Rams failed to clear a corner. It was a warning the Rams failed to take notice of and Bolton soon got back on level terms.
Anelka was given the time and space just outside the Derby area to play a one-two and send in a shot that took a cruel deflection off Leacock and rolled in past a wrong-footed Bywater to make it 1-1 at the break.
Whatever Davies said to his players at half-time appeared to do the trick, as twice McEveley crossed and twice Miller went close. The first a great first time shot which was brilliantly saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen, and the second time the Scot should have done better firing over from six-yards.
Giles Barnes came off the bench for his first home Premier League action, but it was visitors who pressed late. Bolton sub Wilhelmsson shot was saved by Bywater's from a tight angle, and the Rams were defending desperately late on.
Wilhelmsson went close again in injury-time, he cut in from the left and Bywater palmed the ball away, only to Anelka whose follow up shot was superbly pushed away by Bywater on to the bar and Kevin Nolan seeing his scuffed shot cleared off the line.
A point a piece, for the two bottom sides in the league and result which isn`t good for either side, and both managers would have preferred all three.
Derby: GK Bywater, Mears, Davis, Leacock, McEveley, Oakley, Pearson, Lewis (Teale 84), Jones (Barnes 64), Howard, Miller.
Subs Not Used: Earnshaw, Griffin, Moore.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Joey O'Brien (Braaten 71), Andrew O'Brien, Meite, Gardner, Speed (McCann 62), Campo, Nolan, Davies (Wilhelmsson 59), Anelka, Diouf.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Giannakopoulos.
Ref: Rob Styles (Hampshire).
Derby manager Billy Davies:
'I think we probably deserved to win it overall. We controlled the first half and had some good chances until they improved.
'We've answered some questions about our spirit after losing 5-0 at Arsenal last week, the display was excellent.
'At home we'll cause problems, but I am disappointed to concede another naive goal on the edge of our own area.'
'We had a number of chances and with a bit more luck we'd have won.
'Prior to the game we might have taken a point because they are fighting hard too, but we have to be positive, I'm pleased with the commitment and desire.
'Four games without defeat is excellent and something to build upon. I didn't get carried away with the early defeats but we'll get ourselves out of it.'