Simon Dawkins came out of the line-up for Jamie Ward in Steve McClaren’s only change. It came as a surprise after the former Spurs forward was a shining light in the stellar comeback on Tuesday night.
The Rams missed a plethora of chances in the first-half, enough to have been two or three up. Craig Bryson’s saved penalty further asserted the well-known fact that Derby simply aren’t consistently good enough at penalties. What if the play-offs came down to a shoot-out?
In the second 45, an early flurry of goals sparked the match into action. It did take Birmingham’s goal to wake up the away side after the break, from them on the Rams assumed control.
You probably won’t see a more bizarre goal this weekend than Derby’s second goal. Chris Martin fired a shot that Bryson attempted to avoid but it ended up looping over the goalkeeper via the back of the Scotsman! You may say it was lucky, I’d say it was deserved after all those chances went begging.
Finally, the third goal was a wonderful move finished off by full-back Craig Forsyth.
Their midfield was quite non-existent at times and their defence could easily be split open. Creatively, the Blues offered little, instead Lee Clark’s man capitalised on Derby’s deficiencies to earn their unfair share of the soils.
There is no way that Derby should have drew. There is no question about that. Attacking-wise, the way the team advances together is quite splendid. Unfortunately, it isn’t complemented defensively. In addition, the horrendous Birmingham City makes it harder to accept – they’re an awful side and it’s not hard to see why they’ve been on a slide.
If you’ve not been convinced by the back four for a while then you’ll be no closer to being convinced after today’s display. Generally, there was little for the defence to deal with but when they were a little under the cosh lapses in concentration proved costly. I felt that matters had improved upon Richard Keogh’s return, they had briefly but not now.
There are concerns in that area. Some more training ground work? Or take a plunge with on-loan Zak Whitbread?
Again, I must mention him. The loanee went on some glittering runs and got stuck into some some splendid build-up play, especially his link-ups with fellow youngster Will Hughes. It’s becoming clear that he has an extremely bright future ahead, credit to the club for snapping him up and credit to Bamford himself for making the step-up from League One to Championship with such serenity.
Another goal today, this time it was at the second attempt – he fired in a rebound from close range to send the away supporters wild.
The ex-Blade has been given a bit of stick from fans recently. Today he showed exactly why it was right to return to starting after being a substitute in midweek, he was definitely the away side’s man of the match in his best performance for a while now.
His role in the first goal was worthy of a goal itself. Ward weaved in and out, reached the by-line and found the perfect cross. You can’t beat getting to the by-line and putting in a decent cross, one of the most effective ways of attacking. He also bagged in assist in the third goal.
You have to go all the way back to 1995 to find Derby’s last victory at St Andrew’s as there hasn’t been a Rams win there in the past six occasions.
It would’ve been a perfect match to gain all three points with the lunchtime draw between QPR and Burnley and there being a chance to beat the Rs in the next fixture but it wasn’t to be.
‘Arry’s glamour side visit Derby on Monday 10th February.