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Match Report


Posted Sat 17 Dec 11 at 14:11 PM


Keith Andrews' ninth goal of the season was enough for Town to beat Derby at Portman Road.

The win sees Blues record a second successive victory and also ensured that Paul Jewell's side ended the final home fixture of 2011 with all three points.

The Town boss made one change to the side that Barnsley last weekend, with Arran Lee-Barrett replacing the recalled David Stockdale in goal for his second League start of the season.

The visitors started the game well, with young striker Callum Ball particularly impressing with his hold up play, and it wasn't long until the Rams fashioned the first chance on goal.

A cross-field pass from Craig Bryson found Jamie Ward, who cut inside Carlos Edwards before curling for the bottom corner, with Lee-Barrett doing well to get down and smother the ball away from goal.

Town did respond well in the 21st minute, as good work from Michael Chopra saw him release Lee Martin down the right, but his cross was defended well by Derby skipper Shaun Barker.

However the danger was only half cleared and Lee Bowyer teed up midfield partner Andrews, but the Town captain saw his drive from the edge of the area well saved by Frank Fielding.

Nigel Clough's side were looking dangerous on the counter though and came close to breaking the deadlock after 27 minutes. A loose ball in the box was pounced on by Bryson, who saw a close range half volley kept out by Lee-Barrett, before the Town stopper then produced a superb double save from Rams winger Ward.

Town were having chances of their own though, with right-back Edwards going close with a well hit drive from all of 30 yards, that flew just over the bar with Fielding well beaten.

Both sides continued to press, looking for the opener, but no other chances were created in the first-half and the sides went in goalless at the break.

Town started the second half in the best possible fashion, scoring less than a minute after the restart just as Blues did at Oakwell seven days ago.

Good work from Aaron Cresswell on the left saw him cross into the box where Andrews was on hand to bundle the ball home, despite Barker's best efforts to clear the ball off the line.

At first it appeared that referee David Webb had signalled that the ball hadn't crossed the line, but after conferring with his assistant Adrian Sannerrude, he duly pointed to the centre circle and awarded Town the goal.

The goal really lifted the atmosphere around Portman Road and the Town fans were almost celebrating a second goal after 56 minutes. Cresswell's cross caused Fielding some problems, but unfortunately for Blues the ball sailed just over the Derby crossbar and out for a goal-kick.

The visitors responded well to Town's dominance and were almost level a minute before the hour mark. Ward's free-kick was met by the head of Barker but the Rams' skipper failed to make proper contact and Lee-Barrett held onto the ball well.

Blues were growing in confidence by this point though and twice came close to extending their lead. First Martin forced a fine save out of Fielding from long range, before the winger crossed for Ibrahima Sonko, who headed over the Derby bar just past the hour mark.

The Rams were still creating chances as they pushed for an equaliser, which almost came 17 minutes from time. A neat pass from Ward released Bryson, who found time and space in the box to shoot, only to see Danny Collins make a great last ditch block to divert the ball behind for a corner.

The visitors then went close four minutes later, but John Brayford could only head over when unmarked at the back post.

But Derby were almost undone by Town on the counter with just ten minutes remaining. Martin fed Scotland who found space wide of the area, but saw his shot deflect of Jason Shackell and go inches wide of the goal with Fielding scrambling across his line.

Town were still searching for a second goal and went close through Jimmy Bullard, but the substitute's volley was deflected over the bar and behind for a corner with three minutes remaining.

Fellow substitute Jay Emmanuel-Thomas also came close to extending Blues' lead, but after beating Shackell the midfielder dragged his left-footed shot wide of Fielding's goal in the final minute.

But it wasn't to matter as Town held firm to take all three points and will be looking to extend the winning run in the next game, away at Leicester on Boxing Day.

Town: Lee-Barrett, Edwards, Sonko, Collins, Cresswell, Martin (Carson 90), Andrews, Bowyer, Murphy, Chopra (Emmanuel-Thomas 71), Scotland (Bullard 81). Subs not used: Wright, Wabara.

Derby: Fielding, Brayford (Tyson 82), Barker, Shackell, Roberts, Bryson, Bailey (Robinson 64), Hendrick (B.Davies 89), Green, Ball, Ward. Subs not used: Legzdins, O'Brien. Booked: Bailey, Ward.

Att: 17, 256

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