Derby hit a new high, and a new low..

Reid felled by Davies in a at-times fiery encounter..

Derby County – 1
Nottingham Forest – 0

Well that’s that, then.  It’s sad to have lost a record that’s stood for such a long time – but it’s hard to offer much sense of hard feeling aside from the softness of the freekick leading to the late late late winning goal from Jake Buxton to feel hard done to.

Cotterill elected to fight hoof with hoof, and rarely did a game of football threaten to break out as two decidedly average looking sides basically slugged it out – I’m disappointed with how we set out to get a point.  Sure, it nearly worked and I’d have been pleased with it, but bloody hell when will our manager learn that our players just aren’t built to scrap?

There’s much talk of the home supporters chanting derogatory things in relation to Nigel Doughty passing away – it was loud, there were a lot of them, it went on outside the ground after the game too.  It’s disappointing that the more right-minded Derby supporters who presumably make up the majority of them couldn’t regulate the idiots amongst their number a little better.

On the line-up front we had the big miss of Higginbotham – whilst I’ve no problem at all with Lynchy, he doesn’t provide the leadership we get from Danny and as such doesn’t always have the benign influence on his teammates.  That means, to his credit, the manager decided to stick with a four-four-two line-up rather than any kind of crazy rearrangement as many feared.

Gunter   Chambers   Lynch   Cunningham
McCleary    Moussi    Guerdioura    Reid
Tudgay    Blackstock

Whilst possession was largely dominated by Derby, the first chance came to Chambers who nodded over from a Reid freekick.  Derby threatened with a series of corners delivered dangerously by ex-Notts midfielder Ben Davies – indeed, what he lacks for in mobility he certainly offers threat from deadballs – on the ten minute mark he hit a freekick low through a crowded box which Camp needed to be alert to save.

The first booking came shortly after, Davies – Steven this time – felled Reid and picked up the card from D’Urso.  It kind of set the tone, Guedioura hacked Tyson down much to the delight of the travelling fans – and also picked up a booking.  Then Moussi was in on the act, pulling back Bryson unnecessarily and also picking up a yellow card.  The wronged man nearly got Derby the lead with a header but missed the target.

Tys had a few chances to get his first Derby County goal but couldn’t quite get onto the ball as it was headed back into the area after a freekick, he also latched onto a ropey pass from Guedioura but didn’t react fast enough.  Steven Davies came close from a Paul Green cross but his glancing header missed the target – shortly after he shot from long range but put the ball well over.

As for us – our best chance came from a HOOOOOF from Lee Camp, Shackell made a mess of dealing with it allowing Marcus Tudgay to nip in behind him – but he lacked composure with the finish and put it over from around twenty yards.  Another opportunity followed for Chambers who again couldn’t find the target.  The last chance fell to Ben Davies who dragged his shot wide after a pull-back from Tyson.

All in all, a scrappy half devoid of quality edged by the home side at least in chances created.  Kind of predictable I suppose, and since we’d managed to avoid conceding, there was some feeling that there might be the chance of a turnaround in the second half – after all, it wouldn’t be the first time we’d seen a poor first half followed by a much improved second half!

A livelier start to the second half again saw Forest with the first opportunity, a cross from deep by Cunningham had Frank Fielding flapping at it, the ball falling to Moussi whose effort was blocked and missed the target.  Exchanges beyond this were limited and scrappy with neither side creating much – with a little under an hour gone Cotterill took off Guedioura and replaced him with Jonathan Greening.

The Rams started to press more – Tyson with another opportunity to get off the mark as a Derby player cut in from the right and hit a shot but put it wide of the near post.  Marcus Tudgay picked up a yellow card for fouling Ben Davies, the fouled man then taking a freekick that almost crept all the way in eliciting an excellent last gap save from Lee Camp to prevent it going in.

Echoes of earlier in the season saw the home side play on with Joel Lynch prone on the deck, no goal this time – but a number of petulant challenges from all and sundry ended up with one of those embarrassing pushing and shoving nonsense.  Dexter Blackstock – maker of the latter petulant challenge – was singled out for a booking apparently for his part in the post-foul scenes – not sure what he did that others didn’t, but there you go.

Forest did still create some opportunities – a cross from the left was met by Tudgay and Barker simultaneously resulting in the Derby skipper needing lengthy treatment (since writing this I’ve learned he’s broken his leg – here’s to a speedy recovery, Shaun) – he was eventually replaced by eventual matchwinner Jake Buxton, whilst Ishmael Miller was introduced to replace Dexter Blackstock.  Once back underway, Tudgay had another close opportunity flicking an Andy Reid cross just wide.

The last ten minutes were pretty much pressure from the home side – Reidy cleared one off the line, Camp made a point-blank save and eventually we had the potential for our only ‘we only had ten men’ story (although I’d like to think we’d not stoop to hiring a poxy plane) as Marcus Tudgay  received a second booking for a challenge on Bryson.  As stoppage time added up it was a Ben Davies delivery that finally broke the deadlock.

A freekick awarded more from the reaction of the crowd than from what occurred on the pitch was delivered well from deep, was not dealt with and Buxton was free to head into bottom corner at the back post – I know we’re a man short, but there’s really no excuse for that.

A disappointing lack of composure, a scrappy match that in truth could’ve gone either way – but Derby certainly created the best opportunities.  Whilst the journey from Pride Park on the back of a bad result is never fun, it just ended up feeling a bit numb to be honest.

I wasn’t going to mention it, because I’d like to think it’s a brainless minority, but I would hope to see some form of apology from Derby for those fans who decided it was a good idea to sing derogatory things about the death of Nigel Doughty.  Loudly, and repeatedly – there were a lot of them.

Alas, I’m not confident that if the boot were on the other foot some of our own idiots wouldn’t indulge in similar – so there seems little point in getting too worked up by some pond-life.  Still, congratulations scumbags – an achievement some of your fans have desperately hankered after seeing for 40 years has finally been realised, and the headlines will be all about your idiotic and disgusting chanting.  I hope you’re proud of yourselves, you sad pathetic human beings.

Elsewhere Donny grabbed a point against Reading, which – whilst not ideal – could’ve been worse as they were winning.  So, for the first time in my life Derby have done a league double over us – and d’you know what, I don’t feel as bad as I thought I would about it.  Worryingly I think I’ve become accustomed to failure.  Leeds away up next – the light at the end of that tunnel is looking further and further away…