Phew. That feels good doesn’t it? As the blur of a hangover subsides gradually but fairly gently I must admit I’m still feeling pretty good, and struggling to unplaster the smile from my face. A first win for the Reds in Derby since 1994, a first ever at Pride Park and a first double over the Rams in 21 years.
Bizarrely it was the first half where we had the better of it – Derby were much improved in the second half (particularly after Savage was withdrawn to a big tantrum), but the Reds contained them well and Earnie took his chance very well when it came after great work from Tyson and Anderson.
Billy opted for a pacey and flexible line-up, well aware of Derby’s lack of pace at the back – whereas his opposite number elected to include both pantomime villains Robbie Savage and Kris Commons despite both potentially on their way elsewhere. Post-match Derby fans’ misery was compounded by Savage announcing he plans to see out his contract with the Rams. Also in the Rams starting eleven was new signing Ben Davies.
So Forest looked something like this (although there was a lot of movement with Tys and Anderson switching around a great deal):
Gunter Morgan Chambers Lynch
Anderson Cohen Moussi McGugan Tyson
It’s never fun going to Pride Park, opted for the bus today to avoid police escorts, so it was straight into the sterile arena nestled amongst a world of Starbucks and fast-food outlets (maybe that’s why Commons went there?), although I did quite enjoy the War of the Worlds mash-up during the build-up before the desperately cheesy ‘Steve Bloomer’s Watchin’ anthem kicks in to some passionless clapping-along by the home fans.
It was a rip-roaring start for Forest too, inside the first minute five red shirts were streaming forward against the Derby back four, but a heavy pass from Moussi to Tudgay saw the striker fail to control the ball which was launched directly at him rather than infront, so it eventually ran to safety. The whole move was created by Moussi winning the ball fantastically in midfield though!
An early corner after Anderson had threatened down the left was hit deep towards Joel Lynch on the back stick – he’d got infront of Dean Leacock who proceeded to bring him down in the area, the referee didn’t give anything (indeed, it took some time to get any decision out of him!). One of those that might have been a penalty but you’d be annoyed if it was given against you, I think.
After this Barker crudely hacked down Moussi giving us a freekick from long range, Lewis took it well driving it low to the back stick, but couldn’t get it close enough to the corner to evade the dive of Bywater who made a good save. Shortly after this it almost broke for Tyson at the back stick but a last gap clearance prevented him connecting.
Probably the chance of the game fell to Derby though around the half-hour mark – Addison shoved Wes who lost balance, predictably the referee didn’t notice, but his second touch was heavy – and under pressure from Camp he steered it towards Porter whose shot towards the open goal was blocked by Chambers, the follow-up by Bueno prevented thanks to Joel Lynch. A really lucky escape.
Robbie Savage picked up a deserved booking for hacking down Paul Anderson who was just too quick for him (let’s face it, Ian Breckin would be too quick for him!) in the D, Lewis took the kick and blazed over whereas it looked more suited to the left-footed Chris Cohen who was also stood over the ball. It was something for the Derby fans to cheer at least!
The last opportunity of the half for us came when Tyson picked up the ball from a Moussi pass but his cross was overhit. As the half ended it was comfortable for us – we’d had the best play, although Derby had undoubtedly had the best chance (thanks to the ref ignoring the push!) – whilst Derby put up more of a fight they didn’t look too threatening.
Whilst he gets limited mention, McGugan saw a LOT of the ball in the first half, Moussi in particular, but also Cohen were winning the midfield battle and Gunter deserves special attention for keeping Kris Commons so quiet. Tyson really came into his own in the second half, Chambers and Lynch deserve kudos for their part in shutting out the best chance of the game.
We started the second half well too – and perhaps our best chance of the game fell to Lewis. From my seat in the away end he looked much closer than the highlights show – he was actually about 12 yards out when the ball dropped nicely for him to smash in at the near post, instead electing to try to curl it around to the back stick, ultimately giving Bywater an easy save.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was Savage being withdrawn with around ten minutes gone of the second half, having a hissy fit on the pitch, a strop at Nigel Clough before throwing his boots on the floor in the dug-out. Post-match Clough suggested that he believed one more altercation from the Rams captain would have lead to another booking and hence a red card.
The home side improved without their captain, replaced by Bailey (Savage had spent most of the game passing the ball to Moussi!), but the Moose was patrolling seemingly everywhere in the midfield to snuff out their opportunities before they developed, and when he wasn’t there Cohen was – and Anderson and Tyson were putting in some serious mileage in offering cover for their defenders when needed.
Billy introduced Robbie Earnshaw for the hard-working Tudgay with 25 minutes to go. The outgoing former Derby striker got a bit of abuse from the home crowd, but that wasn’t anything compared to that reserved for Earnie! Indeed, when booing our players (or singing about DJ Campbell, oddly!) was generally the only time the home fans were really all that audible.
Tys continued to torment the Derby defence – getting past Kris Commons and then Dean Moxey down the right, the latter hacking him down and earning himself a deserved booking for the privilege. Derby continued to offer some threat going forward though, and when Porter headed it down for Davies it took a decent save (not ‘world class’ as suggested on the Football League Show, though!) from Camp to deny the debutant from scoring.
Billy now introduced Dele Adebola for McGugan who’d struggled to have the kind of influence he did in the first half, with a slight change to a more over 4-4-2 ish formation compared to the previous 4-5-1/4-3-3. He immediately got himself busy being a nuisance to the hapless Leacock and Barker, and – as he seems to do – helped turn the tide in Forest’s favour simply by being there.
The Reds finally took the lead with ten minutes remaining – Tyson was once again given the freedom of the wing, crossing from fairly deep and to an area that didn’t look particularly dangerous. It found Paul Anderson who cushioned a header down to an unmarked Robbie Earnshaw who swept the ball into the bottom corner past Bywater from the edge of the D.
Cue pandemonium in the stands – I think I ended up four or five rows infront of where I started and am still nursing a few bumps and bruises from the celebrating. I wouldn’t change it though! After the usual flip and team-huddle Earnshaw remained for a little too long conducting the raucous away fans and received a booking for it, which was probably justified to be fair!
Camp still had work to do – diving to save well from a Barker header and the ball eventually was cleared to safety. Tyson continued to torment the Rams, taking it down the left and teeing up Earnshaw whose effort deflected for a corner. A shit attempt at keeping it in the corner gave Derby possession back (WHY do we do this? It NEVER works!).
Commons was taken of with a couple of minutes left, giving the travelling Reds another opportunity to have a good laugh. Certainly not a tantrum of Savage proportions – he looked, much like for most of the game, like someone who wasn’t bothered. Although he did limp-wristedly throw his gloves away as he crossed the line towards the bench.
With five minutes of stoppage time held up it never really felt too tense – even though the referee actually played closer to seven. Made more comfortable after a disgusting foul by Moxey on Earnshaw earned him his second yellow card and therefore Red. I’m flabbergasted to since learn that Clough apparently complained at this decision!
Whilst Derby tried to pile forward eventually Tys was able to break out from deep in his own half and carry the ball right the way up the pitch, he was visibly knackered after his efforts! Derby were desperately attacking without much gameplan when the referee finally elected to blow the whistle and put the home fans out of their misery, and send the away end into raptures.
Ultimately it’s just three points – but it’s more than that, it’s helping restore the balance of recent years, it’s a hoodoo broken and – if you’ll permit me to be childish for a while – it’s bragging rights assured for this season, it’s Robbie Savage’s big tantrum and Kris Commons’ lesser one, it’s Nigel Clough’s hapless face -it’s bloody brilliant.
I imagine Steve Bloomer is up there somewhere wishing that the bust they cast of him was created with his eyes closed.
As for us – I can’t decide who should be man of the match. Nathan Tyson, Guy Moussi, Chris Gunter and Luke Chambers were all superb. Ultimately it was a great team performance, which I think Moussi stood out most in – he absolutely ran midfield for us and facilitated much of what went on around him, but every player in a red shirt should hold their heads up high.
The Moose! The Moose! The Moose is on fire!
Finally, Nigel Clough’s post-match comments intrigue me – he is bemoaning our spending power and plucks a figure of £15m out of his arse in relation to our investment. A person on the LTLF forum has kindly done the research for me – that Derby have actually paid more for their starting eleven than us!
It’s true our bench was probably a little pricier, but basically, stop talking out your arse Nigel. You’ve had more to spend than you’d care to admit and it’s your choice in players, your tactics and your selections that are causing your demise. Also, if you don’t think that foul by Dean Moxey was worthy of a second booking then you really are deluded.
Filed under: Matches |