Old One-Eye Returns - Rampant Rams Pummel Pompey!!
Monday, 8th Nov 2010 03:39 by Old One-Eye
The test came in the shape of an in form Portsmouth and the Rams passed with flying colours. Sitting in fourth place and fearing no one, could it all be a dream?
Derby County 2 vs. 0 Portsmouth
Saturday 6th November 2010 17:20
Pride Park - Derbyshire
Attendance: 29018 (1023 Royal Navy deserters)
Referee: Colin Webster (Ineptitude, Tyne and Wear)
Fiedling, Brayford, Barker, Leacock, Moxey, Savage (Pearson 65), Bailey, Commons (Doyle 90), Cywka, Green, Kuqi (Addison 81)
Subs: Atkins, Pringle, Martin, Roberts
Goals: Savage (23 Pen), Green 58
Yellow Cards: Leacock
Ashdown, Sonko, Mokoena, Brown (Hughes 75), Mullins, Ward (Kanu 61), Halford, Lawrence, Dickinson, Kitson, Utaka
Subs: Flahavan, Ciftic, Hreidarsson, Rocha
Yellow Cards: Mokoena (should have had another...and another!), Mullins
Match Report - The return of Old One-Eye!
6 November 2010 to the day marked the first anniversary of Old One-Eye’s previous visit to Pride Park Stadium. On that occasion, a long, long year ago, the television cameras were there to witness a double Hulse strike which saw off a spirited (i.e. rubbish, but keen) Coventry City side to give The Rams three much-needed points.
The memory of that joyous occasion drove the Cyclopean one to gallantly climb off his death-bed in order to witness the return of Total Football to the East Midlands.
The fixtures had ensured that the sacrificial lambs on the occasion of your correspondent’s glorious return to the fold would be none other than last year’s financial pariahs of the Premier League and dreadful Mike Oldfield single, Portsmouth.
To mark the auspicious occasion, Sky Sports broadcast the game to the world at the unearthly time of 5:20 pm. I’m told that they had the unerring good sense to wheel out the great Igor Stimac at half time to add a modicum of dignity to the nightmarish razzamatazz that is televised football in the 21st Century.
The referee was none other than Colin Webster, a man whose previous claim to fame was that he was the diminutive yet surprisingly portly gentleman who single-handedly derailed Swansea’s promotion campaign last season, huffing and puffing his way around the pitch in order to make controversial decision after controversial decision in favour of Nottingham Forest (apologies for the obscenity – Ed).
At Pride Park Saturday night, he stayed a solid 30 yards behind play, seldom straying outside the centre circle except to leave the pitch for his half time banquet.
The referee, a Chartered Surveyor by trade, had plenty of opportunity for surveying in the first five minutes – he surveyed Cywka, Brayford, Commons, Bailey and Green in turn lying on the ground, felled by robust challenges as the Pompey players who could not get anywhere near the ball took the man instead, as neatly as any naval press-gang in their heyday.
The only thing that was missing was the King’s Shilling and a sack to bundle the unfortunate conscript into.
Eventually even the ineptly tolerant Mr Webster decided that enough was enough. Kris Commons danced the Macarena around the cumbersome but wonderfully named Aaron Mokoena, the scything challenge arrived after the orchestra had started the next song and the Portsmouth player had to tread very carefully for the next 84 minutes – or so we thought.
Robbie Savage thumped the free kick goalwards, and Jamie Ashdown beat the ball away, but Derby kept turning the screw.
A quite wonderful move saw the ball rattling around Derby’s midfield with breakneck speed, and eventually Brayford released Green, charging towards the corner of the six yard box.
Green looked up and found Commons who looked absolutely certain to add to the seven goals he has bagged already this season, staring into the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes. Commons met the cross perfectly, only for Ashdown to pull off a save which I can only describe as astounding, because I was already up and celebrating a goal so didn’t actually see what happened.
For all Derby’s dominance in the first 20 minutes, the game was still goalless, and with Portsmouth having any number of proven quality players in their side, it was inevitable that there would be a scare for the home side at some stage.
So it was that John Utaka and Dave Kitson, making their first appearance in this match report, combined following a mistake by the otherwise impressive James Bailey to send Kitson clear. His shot was brilliantly saved by the by now freezing to death Frank Fielding, who was only too delighted to take the resultant goal kick.
Not for the first time, Tomasz Cywka showed Pompey a clean pair of heels as he cleverly jinked his way deep into the penalty area. Mokoena dived in; Cywka hit the deck and the linesman, right up with play, held his flag across his chest. Five minutes later, the referee made his way into the penalty area, got his breath back and pointed to the spot.
Mokoena was probably very lucky to remain on the pitch but seeing as he had been playing with all the elegance and half the mobility of a garden gnome missing his fishing rod, it made little difference. Robbie Savage (23) sent the keeper the wrong way and Pride Park into raptures.
Portsmouth, stung into action, eventually raising their game from comatose to languid, gradually clawed their way into the contest, but all too often (for them) Utaka ran into the brick walls that were Dean Leacock and Shaun Barker at the heart of Derby’s defence.
Kitson was almost totally anonymous at this stage; perhaps owing to his fair complexion and ginger hair, the dazzlingly bright lights of Pride Park were proving just a bit too much for him and he was trying to find a little respite and shade in Shaun Barker’s pocket.
Despite Pompey’s improvement, The Rams still seemed the more likely to add to their scoreline. First Kuqi shot over then a volley by Cywka flashed wide, although at the other end Fielding had to react smartly to whip the ball off Liam Lawrence’s toe.
The Derby keeper was on the receiving end of a 1960’s challenge when, following a corner by Lawrence, Fielding came out to collect a routine bouncing ball only to be flattened by Joel Ward. The ball ended up in the net and the only surprise was that Mr Webster saw fit to disallow it, possibly for battery. The referee’s final act of the first half was to book Dean Leacock, who will now miss Tuesday’s trip to Ipswich.
The second half started in much the same way as the first half had, with Derby totally dominant. Three times in quick succession, play was stopped because a second ball had ‘appeared’ on the pitch. Mrs One-Eye suggested that it was a case of ‘over-enthusiastic ball-boys’, but I think that it was a tactic instigated by Portsmouth’s management during the half time interval, probably by bribing the kids with sugar and Game-Boys.
Pompey realised that they weren’t getting a kick with just one ball on the pitch, so they decided to chance their arm with two. It didn’t work though. The ball-boys countered by throwing no balls on, much to the consternation of Steve Cotterill who realised that his devious plan had been undone.
Er….. oh yes. Football.
Kris Commons rapped a fine drive from distance which warmed Ashdown’s fingers for him, but the crowd didn’t have to wait much longer for the second goal which Derby’s enterprising football so richly deserved.
Green started the move, Kuqi got involved somewhere along the line, but having just one eye plays havoc with the old depth perception. A neat one-two with Cywka ended with Paul Green (58) ramming the ball home from close range to put The Rams 2-0 up and with a little breathing-space – far more than I have in my strait-jacket anyway.
A breathtaking spell of possession football from The Rams had the home fans shouting ‘Olé’. Kitson, fearing the hot Spanish sun, continued his siesta. Needing a little more up front, Cotterill sent the even more splendidly named than Mokoena Nwankwo Kanu into the fray.
Kanu had an almost instant effect on proceedings, clearing the ball miles out of Derby’s penalty area at the first sign of any danger to the home goal. Portsmouth, roared on by their travelling thousand and a git with a bell, finally threatened to make a game of it, but on more than one occasion, Kanu came to Derby’s rescue when a Pompey goal looked on the cards.
The inimitable Robbie Savage left the scene to a thunderous ovation, John Utaka was caught offside for the eleventy seventh time and then Nigel Clough unleashed The Beast.
Miles Addison, a man so hard that when he was fixing his floor he screwed his foot to it and never noticed, having to cut the floorboards away in order to free himself, came on with 10 minutes to go, still with said floorboard screws firmly embedded in his foot. A minute later, Kris Commons saw his outrageous effort from just outside the centre circle clawed away by Ashdown.
With Derby under pressure, Bailey made a timely clearance only to receive a painful crack on the foot which responded miraculously to a spongeful of cold water on what was becoming a bitterly cold night, then with time running out, Carl Dickinson fired narrowly over. It was the nearest Portsmouth would come to actually registering a shot on target all night.
With the game well into its seventh minute of Fergie Time, the referee finally caught up with play sufficiently to grab the ball and walk off with it, thus signalling the end of the contest although, frankly, it had never been much of a contest from the moment that Savage had put The Rams in front.
The people of Derby celebrated my return to Pride Park in some style – they were letting off fireworks on my route all the way home.
Old One-Eye's Man of the Match:
Paul Green – international class.
Old One-Eye's Player Ratings:
Fielding(7); Brayford(7), Barker(8), Leacock(7), Moxey(8); Savage(7) (Pearson 65, 6), Bailey(8) Commons(8) (Doyle 90), Cywka(7), Green(9); Kuqi(7) (Addison 81).
Nigel Clough was chuffed but trying to play down his rising Rams prospects:
"I didn't think we were as fluent as we have been in home games today, but I put that down to the quality of the opposition. We had to battle more than we have had to do in recent games at Pride Park, especially as we knew Portsmouth were always capable of scoring and they made life difficult for us”.
"But, the feeling from our dressing was that our passing and movement may be a bit too good for them and thankfully that was the case. With Portsmouth's attacking options, with players such as Kanu warming the bench, keeping a clean sheet was a great effort”.
"At the break we felt we had perhaps tried to be a little too clever on the ball and made some bad decisions. The second goal was the other side of that though, it was a great move rounded off by a great goal from Paul Green. It was good passing, good movement and a nice tap-in without trying to be clever or fancy”.
"We can take a lot of encouragement from today and again we feel we can compete with anybody in this league. Everyone is on a high at the moment and the confidence is really good. I think the characters around the place don't show any fear or nerves, and if they do that they certainly aren't showing it”.
"We're only a third of the way through the season, and we know it easy to fall back into the bottom half. First and foremost, we want to establish ourselves in the top half."
"It was lovely to see Stephen and Miles back; it is almost as much a lift as the three points. It is testament to how hard Miles has worked that we got him on for 10 minutes or so, that really is a reward for the hours of hard work he has put in”.
"It is great to have him back, he will be in the 18 on Tuesday before having the operation and from there hopefully he will be back by Christmas".
Penalty Specialist Reaction:
Robbie Savage may have missed the ‘606 - Talk In’ but not his critical spot kick:
"It was a very important win for us. Portsmouth were unbeaten in seven before today and are a fantastic football side”.
"I don't think we played as well as we have been lately, but key goals at key times won us the game. People will start talking us up as playoff contenders, but we won't lose our focus on working hard in training and will keep taking it one game at a time".
Man Of The Match Reaction:
Paul Green was pleased to be on the scoresheet for the second time this season:
"I've been getting in the positions so it was about time I got another goal, i've been happy I've been getting in the positions but I just couldn't seem to find the finishing touch whether the ball was not coming to me or I wasn't hitting the net.
"It was a nice one to slot home, especially as it made the win safe and it was a goal we needed. I didn't hit it cleanly if I'm being honest; I suppose if I had the goalkeeper would have saved it".
"It was another great win for us, and right now at home we feel unbeatable, we're playing some good stuff and we're getting goals as well, which is all you can ask for”.
"Portsmouth were in good form before the game, so it was always going to be a tasty game. We set our stall out and they couldn't live with us early on. The lead we got from Sav's penalty was deserved and we were able to build on that in the second half."
Ipswich Town vs. Derby County
Tuesday 9th November
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Derby County Polls
[ Vote here ]