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And Den There Was 5 As Bryson Turns Tamer - RamZone Wrap
And Den There Was 5 As Bryson Turns Tamer - RamZone Wrap
Sunday, 15th Sep 2013 15:56 by Daniel J Sewart

The last time the Rams won at ‘The Den’ – Dean Sturridge scored the winner for Jim Smith’s promotion chasing team in 1995. Since then it has been slim pickings but this time around an all new improved, travelling Rams came to town - and like the team that came 18 years ago – from the first whistle they meant business.

The Rams made the play from the out set and reproduced the passing game that has made them a force on the road. The football served up to the Lions had the home team rattled as they missed passes, defended like an amateur pub team as they failed to match the game the Rams had come to play.

It was only a matter of time for the Rams and that time was 10 minutes as Jamie Ward's corner was sent straight back to him by Millwall keeper David Forde. Ward went again and crossed to the back post where Jake Buxton was on hand to head solidly past both Danny Shittu and Martyn Woolford.

The goal only made things worse for Millwall as the Rams pressed harder with more confidence. Bryson and Hughes in particular were making a mockery of the Lions attempts to stem the tide as the pair were involved in some great linking play and passing that left their opposition playing the part of the headless chicken.

Hughes was adding thousands to his asking price with his performance that included a fabulous defensive aspect as he pressed and hurried his opponents into making mistakes. To see an attacking midfielder with such skill also able to get back, chase and harass is rare in modern football which only goes to justify the interest in the youngster.

Derby were running the show but had no more than a goal to show for it – that was until the Rams Scottish play maker stepped up to the plate just before the stroke of half time.

In a dangerous position Jamie Ward took a free kick that Shaun Derry could only clear into Bryson's path. One well controlled touch – a firecracker of a shot from 20 yards and Bryson was on the board in the most spectacular of fashion.

At half time, the Rams in control at 0 - 2 to the good.

The second forty five started as the first ended and the home sides frustration was starting to show and never more so than when Lowry’s sloppy challenge – that would not have looked out of place in a Bruce Lee film - left Will Hughes writhing in agony and found him on the receiving end of a straight red.

Hughes got back to business as did an invigorated Bryson who once again displayed his shooting prowess on 57 minutes. As if the previous 20 yard screamer had not been good enough – this time around he went about smashing in a shot from 25 yards after a swift and deadly counter attack from defence resulted in Craig belting it in for his brace.

Former Rams target Martyn Waghorn finally gave the home fans some joy when he netted after some good work from strike partner Scott Macdonald put him in on goal. The Lions goal would be nothing more than a consolation in the final wash up as Bryson was on fire and soon slotted his third and the Rams first league hat trick since 1996.

This time it was a string of passes that involved Hughes and Freeman who played Bryson through for a simple tap in that came about as much from poor marking as it did from the superb passing drill the Rams were trying out on the flat footed home team.

Dean Sturridge sealed the Rams last win at ‘The Den’ in 95 and it was Paul Simpson who nabbed the last Derby hat trick in April of 96. It was turning into a day of writing new records as this new generation of Rams threaten to write their own exciting history for future comparison.

On 87 minutes the Rams made it 5 when 17 year old Mason Bennett scored after coming on as a substitute in time to be played in on goal and beat the keeper with a sublime finish that kept low for his first ever league goal.

The milestones just kept on coming!

The Rams could have made it 6 or more as Hughes and co missed a few late chances but the damage was already done.

1 – 5 at the final whistle, a job well and truly done by a far superior Rams side, who if they can replicate this play at home, the sky will be the limit for them in 13/14.

Rams Reaction:

First team coach Andy Garner spoke to the DCFC Official Site after the huge win:

“It’s been a superb day and it doesn’t get much better than that. We played extremely well, took our chances and scored some quality goals as well. To come to Millwall and perform as we did, score five goals and get three points is just brilliant for everyone.”

“It’s the perfect response to the Burnley game and it is also great to do it in such emphatic style as well. The last two weeks have felt like a bit of a drag unfortunately, but it has given us time to get the lads back on it again. Today was a test for the players and they responded in flying colours; they were magnificent.”

“Our away form is excellent and it’s an amazing run to be on, although we would like to get a few more points at PridePark as we know that’s important.”

“Bryso’s goals were all top class and I can’t wait to see them again. We’ve been on at him to get more shots off, as we have with other players, but to score a hat-trick is amazing for him. He’s got the ability to score goals and he showed it today. Craig joked to us in pre-season that he’d get double figures this season and we all laughed at him, so he’s on four now and we look forward to seeing him get a few more!”

“We’re so happy for Mason as well – it’s great for him to come on and score a goal on a day like today.”

Hat-trick hero Craig Bryson was suitably satisfied with the team’s performance:

“It is a great result; we know how hard it is to come to The Den. But we watched them before the game and we knew that if we got on top and scored an early goal in the match, then we could go on to win it. I think in the Championship especially, the first goal in games is massive and we are just delighted to have gone in front today and gone on to seal the three points.”

“I am obviously delighted I have scored three goals, but it is not about me today, it is about the team, and how well they have bounced back from the Burnley defeat by coming here and getting the result.”

“After the Burnley game we all just wanted to get straight back out onto the pitch, so we initially saw the international break coming at the wrong time. But we can now look back and say it has come at a good time! In all seriousness, we wanted to get back out there today and show everybody that the Burnley game was just a blip and that we are a good team.”

Match Highlights (and there are a lot!!) :

Match Stats:

Possession : Millwall 47% - Derby 53%

Shots (on target): Millwall 3 (1) – Derby 9 (6)

Corners: Millwall 1 – Derby 6

Fouls: Millwall 16 – Derby 14

The Teams:

The Rams: Grant (GK), Smith (Freeman 61’), Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Eustace, Bryson, Hughes, Ward (Coutts 58’), Martin (Bennett 87’), Russell. Unused Substitutes: Deeney (GK), Sammon, Jacobs, Davies.

Ram’s Goals: Buxton 9’, Bryson 45’, 57’, 81’, Bennett 87’

The Lions: Forde (GK), Connolly, Shittu, Beevers, Lowry, Chaplow (Trotter 66’), Bailey, Derry (Henry 46’), Woolford, Keogh (Waghorn 46’), McDonald. Unused Substitutes: Bywater (GK), Osborne, Robinson, Martin.

Lion’s Consolation: Waghorn 75’

Up Next For The Rams :

Bolton vs. Derby

Reebok Stadium

7:45pm - Tues September 17th

Photo: Action Images

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