RamZone Wrap: Brian Clough Would Have Had A Good Chuckle!
Sunday, 15th Feb 2015 13:32 by Daniel J Sewart
Brian Clough would probably have had a good chuckle about the irony of the Rams bringing in a Leeds United Captain - only for him to be sent off on debut and leaving Derby to battle for an hour with only 10 men.
The sending off proved crucial as a Derby team that had rested many of its regular first team players, had to lift and try and get a result.
With Roos, Shotton, Bryson, Dawkins, Lingard coming into the team for Grant, Buxton, Hughes, Ward & Ince (who was cup tied), the Rams started with a spring in their step.
Bryson in particular had much to prove in his attempts to regain his starting position and cam close to giving Derby the perfect start when only a minute in – his attempt on goal very nearly beat Reading keeper Adam Federici.
Derby were in the ascendency and should have taken the lead as players were lining up to open the scoring with Dawkins, Bent and Lingard all missing opportunities.
Simon Cox shot directly at Roos from a free kick that resulted from an aggressive tackle by Warnock. The sort of tackle Robbie Savage might have once dished out - but then pulled his head in for the rest of the match – to avoid a second yellow.
Unfortunately Sav may have to have a word to the former ‘Damned United’ skipper as caution was thrown to the wind when he made a rash challenge on Jamie Mackie which left referee Craig Pawson no choice but to send the Rams debutant off.
Soon after, Keogh was unlucky not to have a penalty given against him - when a shot by Danny Williams struck his arm. Luckily for Keogh and Derby nothing was given and despite being down to 10 the Rams survived till half time.
Early in the second Reading made the numerical difference count when Robson-Kanu cleverly finished a good move down the right flank with a well placed left foot shot. Down a man and a goal and things looked bleak for Derby. 0-1.
The Rams were working hard to still play their brand of football and that hard work was rewarded on …… when Lingard, who had been impressive throughout, received the ball from a cross and shot on goal. The strike was not cleanly hit and Lingard watched as the ball struck the charging Bent and was diverted into goal.
Just the stroke of luck (or is that strike?) the Rams needed. 1-1.
Derby were going for it as despite the fact that they could have played for the replay at this stage, it was obvious McClaren did not want to add more fixtures to their schedule as he threw on Ward to try and steal a winner.
The game was charging from end to end as both teams looked to ensure progress by the final whistle
With neither team playing for a replay it was end-to-end stuff as substitute Jamie Ward added fresh impetus for the home side.
Pogrebnyak missed from point blank range for Reading and you thought perhaps Derby would do enough to hang on but the winning goal came in the form of a McClaren signing, unfortunately one that he signed many moons ago for another club.
After the match McClaren said that as Reading’s new signing Yakubu Aiyegbeni was about to come on, he pulled the former Boro strike back and jokingly begged him not to score. Unfortunately for McClaren his requests fell on deaf ears.
Reading pressed the advantage of an extra player and broke quickly on the Rams and the resulting 2 on 2 situation, proved too much for the Rams. A perfect pass found Yakubu and he shot truly past Roos to break the deadlock. 1-2.
The Rams had been brave and fought against the odds to the death but in the end being a man down for over a half of football proved too much for the home team.
An unfortunate result with the Cup seemingly wide open this season but McClaren was shedding few tears after the match as it was obvious promotion is the main course with the Cup being an enjoyable but unnecessary side dish.
After the match Stephen Warnock tweeted his apologies for being sent off – which was met with mostly understanding replies from Rams fans.
Everyone is entitled to a mistake but just remember Stephen that brain fades are ok in the Cup but if you are called on in the League, that will be when you will need to be most careful as I doubt fans will be as quick to forget with promotion on the line.
Out of the Cup and it would be a lie to say I don’t care - but it genuinely is just a shrug of the shoulders as top 2 is by far the most important mission this campaign. Frankly that being the sole focus from here on in seems like a better option.
Off to Rotherham on Tuesday and a chance for Derby to leap back into the top 2 after Bournemouth drew in the league on Saturday.
Match Info / Rams Team:
Ref: Craig Pawson
Derby: Grant, Christie, Shotton, Keogh, Warnock (Red Card 39’), Mascarell (Forsyth 44’), Hendrick, Bryson (Thomas 83’), Dawkins (Ward 67’), Lingard, Bent
Unused Subs: Buxton, Hughes, Thorne, Mitchell
Match Stats – Derby / Reading:
Goals: Bent (61’) / Robson-Kanu (53’) / Aiyegbeni (82’)
Possession: 55% - 45%
Shots On Target: 6 - 2
Shots Off Target: 12 - 3
Corners: 5 - 7
Fouls: 6 - 19
We Said / They Said - Match Reaction:
We Said – Steve McClaren:
"We went for the win, we didn't want a replay. The quality of football, even with 10 men, was great and that was the important thing.”
"I couldn't argue with Stephen Warnock's two yellow cards. He wanted to prove something; it gave us a mountain to climb."
They said – Steve Clarke:
"We knew what we were getting with him (Yakuba). He's a goal scorer and when he goes through one against one you expect him to sure. He's very good at doing the business in that sort of situation and that makes him a great asset.”
"All credit to Derby for the way they played with 10. We knew they would still come at us but we handled the situation well."
Highlights / Post Match Interviews:
Rotherham vs. Derby
7:45pm – Tuesday 17th February
Photo: Action Images
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