Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Thursday January 31 2008
Rams a point in the right direction
The Rams gave new owner Andy Appleby, who was watching in the 30,000 plus crowd, a fighting performance in last night`s 1-1 draw against Manchester City at Pride Park.
Paul Jewell brought record signing Robert Earnshaw into the side that were beaten by
Preston last week also returning to the starting line up was Dean Leacock and Darren Moore.
The visitors opened brightly and Darius Vassell should have opened the scoring early after seizing on a terrible Claude Davis back pass and Vedran Corluka headed over when he was left all alone at a corner.
The Rams skipper Robbie Savage spoke to Davis after his poor back pass and he also encouraged the crowd to get behind the defender, and he improved for the rest of the match, before leaving the pitch on 69 minutes.
Martin Petrov was causing the Rams problems down the left and his brilliant first time cross set up another opportunity for Vassell but Lewis Price was out quick to smother his shot. The former England international striker then headed over from another pinpoint cross from Petrov as the visitors continued to dominate.
The Pride Park crowd got a lift as the Rams began to get into the game, and Earnshaw almost showed Vassell how to do it when he brilliantly turned following a pass from Kenny Miller and fired his shot against Joe Hart's left-hand post.
Davis then came to the Rams rescue when he bravely blocked Stephen Ireland's fierce goal bound strike from six yards.
All square at the break the Rams made a perfect start to the second half and were ahead two minutes in, and it came from a bit of long awaited luck. Miller looked like he had wasted the chance on the edge of the box but his snap shot took a wicked deflection off Sun and went to the net with Hart stranded.
With the crowd cheering them on it looked like a second victory off the season was on the cards, and Eriksson introduced Elano in a bid to get back into the game.
Petrov continued to be the main creative source and his wonderful cross was met by Daniel Sturridge to make it 1-1 on 69 minutes, his second goal in two games. It was end-to-end as both sides went for the victory; Petrov was again the provider his cross was volleyed over by Vassell. Then it was a quick break from the Rams Miller peeled off down the right flank and his cross into the box was only inches away from Earnshaw at the back post
There was plenty of attacking intent from both teams in the last 15 minutes but neither could manufacture a clear chance and a draw was probably a fair outcome.
Derby: Price, Leacock, Moore, Davis (Todd 69), Edworthy, Fagan, Savage, Ghaly, Pearson (Barnes 83), Earnshaw (Villa 88), Miller.
Subs Not Used: Hinchliffe, Robert.
Man City: Hart, Jihai, Dunne, Corluka, Ball, Etuhu (Elano 55), Ireland, Gelson, Petrov, Vassell (Mpenza 79), Sturridge (Geovanni 72).
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Hamann.
Referre Steve Bennett (Kent).
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Date:Thursday January 31 2008
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