|RamsWeek 44 - Crushed by the Wheels of Industry!|
Sun 31st Oct 2010 20:19 by Paul Mortimer
[Artwork by DevineDayDreams]
After a disappointing defeat at Millwall last week, Derby County manager Nigel Clough called on his players to embark upon another unbeaten run.
The manager had an early setback to his plans when loan striker Ryan Noble returned to his club Sunderland for treatment to a back injury. The loss of Noble had echoes of James Vaughan’s short-lived stay at Pride Park Stadium this time last year before having much chance to make an impact at Derby.
The Rams then received a boost, with West Brom striker Luke Moore extending his loan at Derby for another month. Clough is also looking for his injured forwards Chris Porter and Steve Davies to be available soon - which will be necessary for some continuity and strength in depth near the end of this year, when Moore and Shefki Kuqi are scheduled to return to their parent clubs.
The Rams’ won 1-0 away at Sheffield Wednesday and are having an improving season, though defender Russell Anderson was withdrawn injured at half time. He now faces a few more weeks on the sidelines.
American Conor Doyle netted the winner for Derby and the Rams introduced 14-year old Academy striker Mason Bennett as a second half substitute, who became one of the youngest players ever to appear in a first or second-string Derby County side.
Derby County collected another corporate partner, too; lettings agent Boxall Brown & Jones Lettings. Apparently, it’s all good news for landlords, and ‘tenants looking for a fantastic new home’, anyway.
Watford came to Derby with the best away record in the Championship, Derby with the best recent home form, so something had to give. It was Watford’s defence! Like teams before them in the past five weeks, they couldn’t handle Derby’s skill, movement and interplay.
A quick throw-in after a quarter of an hour saw Paul Green releasing full back John Brayford, who charged between two bemused defenders, nodded the ball down in front of himself as he entered the penalty area before blasting an unstoppable shot past Scott Loach in the Watford goal.
They are no mean side, Watford, as their record shows - but allied to the Rams’ irrepressibly skilful attacking play was the work ethic and endeavour that provides a basis for a team to show their skills and overcome the opposition. Add in some pace and finishing power to a whole lot of industry, and you win games.
Derby dominated the first half and ten minutes before the interval, Cywka was delighted to see his crisp drive deflected past Loach for 2-0.
Even given Watford’s recovery after the interval as they stepped up their play to quickly reduce the two-goal deficit, the Hornets were eventully crushed by the wheels of industry. Derby shrugged off the setback and went back on the attack, scoring two more fine goals in their exhilarating 4-1 victory.
Adding more graft to the craft has registered with the Derby players that they can turn games their own way, by working hard to make things happen. Derby didn’t fold when the Hornets finally got buzzing, but dismissed them to redouble their attacks. This paid dividends with a crashing drive from Kuqi on 65 minutes, to put the Rams back in charge.
The icing on the cake was a delectable goal from my man of the match, Tomasz Cywka. He has worked hard and played positively on every turn-out for Derby, and when he was set free by a splendid pass from the prodigious Robbie Savage, the Polish forward executed a dazzling step-over to throw off his markers before powering home an emphatic left-footed drive. It’s a contender for goal of the season.
When substituted, Tomasz had deservedly earned a rapturous ovation. As he later said in interview, he had been working on his two-footed finishing. Practice makes perfect, he said, after spending extra training time improving his left foot...it’s not looking that bad, young man!
Derby have added that bit more determination and workrate to their attractive but ineffectual early-season football. Successful teams work like hell for the whole game; they not only win the right to play their football and master the opposition but also stay vigilant, so as to control the game as much as possible and ensure they get due rewards when the referee blows full time.
Earlier in the season, there wasn’t the spark and spirit to keep the Derby team rolling for 90 minutes or to become difficult opponents in all aspects of the game. Derby now look formidable at home, as the points and goal tally demonstrate; if they can pick up more points on the road, a top six spot is well within reach.
Derby climbed to 7th place in the table and the club is well ahead of last season’s mediocre showing at this stage - when a relegation fight was the only prospect for the winter ahead. They are becoming one of the most entertaining sides and (at last) one that achieves results to go with the flair and the goals that the fans have only dreamed of for several seasons.
An encouraging 27,100 attendance - the highest of the season so far - also signals that entertainment and good results will bring back those missing fans.
The Rams are among the top scorers in the Championship - and have scored more goals at home than any other team in the table. Not everyone is impressed, though. BBC pundit Steve Claridge, on the BBC1 Championship review programme, called Kris Commons and Tomasz Cywka ‘peripheral players’ who would struggle to get into other sides.
Perhaps Claridge should do his homework and check up on Commons’ goals and assist record this season, rather than bore us with his off-beam prattle. Kris is the Championship’s 4th top scorer so far this season - and the young Pole is hardly a passenger either, is he? I’d suggest every manager in the Championship would fancy those two in their squads. You’d better hold on to them, Derby!
Derby fear no-one at home now and they have an early chance to underline their excellent home form next weekend with the visit of financially-troubled Portsmouth.
The Fratton Park club have recovered from a disastrous start to their campaign and are 10th in the table, on the same points’ tally as Derby County.
Pompey lost their Premier League status last May whilst surviving a summer of financial turmoil and near-oblivion; here’s hoping that Derby can stall Pompey’s recovery with another irrepressible attacking display next Saturday!
RamsWeek 44 last season saw the departure of Rams’ director of football Adam Pearson. He had succeeded Peter Gadsby as chairman and been integral to negotiations for the sale of the club to the GSE consortium.
Adam had to deal with the replacement of the irascible Billy Davies and chose to do so by selecting the wasteful and hapless Paul Jewell. That was a situation from which the club has had to make another recovery in financial terms and also regarding squad content and competence.
Mr Pearson elected to leave Derby after just two years, returning to his former club Hull City. Unfortunately his governance proved to be two of the most uncomfortable years in the existence of the Rams.
His new task at the KC Stadium was to steer the Tigers through waters familiar to Derby County and their fans - ultimately, relegation from the Premier League and attempted recovery, both on and off the field.
Tom Glick’s role at Derby County was expanded to include the football responsibility, with Nigel Clough writing an open letter to fans, endorsing the new relationships within the club.
Some fans felt that, with the departure of the experienced Pearson, there might be a knowledge and skills gap at the club in the way it could handle players, agents, the transfer market and the football strategy of the club.
There was some football too...the Rams travelled to Portman Road, Ipswich - to be the first victims of the beleaguered Roy Keane’s side who had not managed to win a game all season until that date.
Derby huffed and puffed and improved on recent flat performances - but took nothing from the game except the ignominy of being the only team beaten by Ipswich.
A 1-0 win for Town brought relief to the cheerless Irishman; his team remained bottom of the League, with Derby in a lowly 20th position. Pretty grim stuff....
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