Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Monday December 17 2007
Rams still goal shy
Derby County 0 Middlesbrough 1
The Rams let another three vital home points slip through their hands on Saturday after they allowed Middlesbrough to pick up their second straight win in the Premier League at Pride Park with Tuncay Sanli scoring his third goal in as many games, to leave the Rams along way from safety.
Tuncay's volley lit up an otherwise quiet first half, while Kenny Miller hit the post for the Rams. Derby had two penalty shouts turned down, while George Boateng hit the post for Boro after the break. Jeremie Aliadiare had a goal ruled out for handball late on as Derby boss Paul Jewell lost in his first home game.
The Rams made two changes to the side that lost at Old Trafford last time out, Tyrone Mears and Gary Teale - impressive as substitutes in last week's defeat - were restored to the starting line-up. Mears replaced Jay McEveley who was among the substitutes with Andy Griffin moving over to left-back, while Teale took over from Craig Fagan - who didn't make the squad.
Middlesbrough started much the brighter and Gary O'Neill had the first attempt on goal but he shot straight at Stephen Bywater when in acres of space.
Giles Barnes, starting up front for Derby alongside Miller, had the Rams` first effort after 13 minutes his 25-yard shot was saved on the line by Mark Schwarzer, but it capped what was a low-key opening quarter of an hour the game.
Both sides probed for an opening but were lacking any real quality in the final third, with defences on top.
The Rams suffered a blow when defender Andy Griffin limped off to be replaced by McEveley, before the game suddenly sprung into life in the 38th minute.
Stewart Downing's first-time cross from the left was brilliantly swept home on the volley by Tuncay for his third goal in as many games.
The Rams had that sinking felling once again, but Jewell`s boys almost hit back immediately when Miller ws found on the edge of the box by Mears and the Scottish international turned smartly but his shot clipped the outside of the post.
Then five minutes before the interval, the Rams had a good penalty shout turned down when David Wheater appeared to hold back Miller, referee Rob Styles waving away the protests.
After the break, Boro were again quickest out of the blocks and a great move involving Aliadiere and Tuncay set up Downing, whose shot was well saved by Bywater.
The resulting corner was scrambled clear and Boateng's diving header rebounded off the post from Fabio Rochembach's dangerous cross.
The Rams huffed and puffed but really didn`t create that many chances, they did have another penalty shout turned down when Pogatez clearly handled in the box, but Styles again waved away the protests as he gave a corner instead.
Teams at the bottom of the table never seem to them breaks and the Rams will hope their luck turns in the coming weeks.
Barnes then went on a mazy run taking on the Boro defence single handed before firing in a weak left-footed shot wide before the 19-year-old again tested Schwarzer from distance, but again it wasn`t a clear-cut chance.
Boro thought they had doubled their lead in the 88th minute but Aliadiere saw his strike ruled out for handball, and late on Barnes almost rescued a point for the Rams his shot stinging the hands of Boro`s Australian international keeper Schwarzer.
But it wasn't enough as Middlesbrough hung on to get all three points and condemn Derby to their seventh straight league defeat, the victory easing their own relegation fears in the process.
Derby manager Paul Jewell:
'It's tough when you're at the bottom of the League.
'The players aren't lacking in effort but we're lacking in quality.
'That's not a slight on the players, that's a fact because the League table tells you that.'
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate on match-winner Tuncay Sanli:
'He gives us incredible enthusiasm and energy.
'He took on an effort that two weeks ago he probably wouldn't have done because of his confidence.
'But after scoring two in two coming into this game he has now settled and he has a rapport with the fans who can see the effort he is putting in.'
Derby: Bywater, Mears, Davis, Moore, Griffin (McEveley 29), Teale (Howard 56), Oakley, Leacock, Pearson, Barnes, Miller (Earnshaw 74).
Subs Not Used: Price, Lewis.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Young, Wheater, Woodgate, Pogatetz, O'Neil, Boateng, Rochemback, Downing (Johnson 89), Aliadiere, Tuncay.
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Huth, Lee, Cattermole.
Ref: Rob Styles (Hampshire).
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Date:Monday December 17 2007
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