Nottingham 0 Derby 1: Lessons learned from the East Midlands derby
Nottingham 0 Derby 1: Lessons as Nigel Clough's men win a hard-fought East Midlands derby at the City Ground on Sunday
Bryson earns the Rams all three points
It was a truly entertaining East Midlands derby day and it was to be all Derby’s. They dominated the second half and in the 53rd minute they got their reward. An enticing ball was played in to the Nottingham Forest box from a wide position by Paul Coutts that was duly tapped home by Scottish international Craig Bryson. Although they had the advantage of an extra man for much of the second period, the manner of their victory was still rather impressive as they snatched all three points away from home under intense scrutiny from the Forest fans. Sunday’s win means that they have now won three East Midlands derbies in succession. So, the omens look good for the Rams who will face off against rivals Forest again following the Christmas break.
Blackstock’s sending off prompts Derby’s dominance
At the beginning of the second half, only moments after the restart, Dexter Blackstock was sent off for hitting Richard Keogh in the face with his trailing arm. Although it looked unintentional, his protests were in vain as he had to leave the field of play. Up until then, referee Robert Madley had done his best to let the game flow for the benefit of an exciting and hard-fought derby day, although he did not hold back in brandishing a card if he felt it necessary. And so he did for Blackstock’s apparent offence. In truth, the sending off, along with the Reds’ lack of any sort of clinical finishing, was to be their undoing. Although Sean O’ Driscoll’s men dominated proceedings in the first period with chances falling to captain Danny Collins, among others, – whose headed opportunity crashed menacingly off the crossbar early on – they simply could not break down the terrific Derby defence. Following the result, Nottingham Forest fell to 17th place in the table, and with a difficult test against Blackburn Rovers next week, one cannot help but think they have a lot still left to do to gain promotion after a 13-year hiatus.
Derby’s defence performs superbly
For the opening 45 minutes, Forest were very much on top, although they failed to create too many clear-cut opportunities. They dominated possession and gave the home fans something to get excited about. However, Derby’s back four were superb throughout – in particular Jake Buxton and Richard Keogh coped incredibly well with all that was thrown at them. In the second half, Derby were in the ascendancy as they began to take control of the match due to the extra man. However, late on, their defence had to dig deep to repel another 10-minute assault from the Forest attackers as chances fell, firstly, to Irish international, Simon Cox and then, to Collins. Derby, who rise to 12th place in the nPower following the result, deserved theit win and will hope to use it to give them some added confidence for their upcoming fixture against a resurgent Middlesbrough side.