Derby County 1 – 0 Rotherham United

The Rams hosted The Millers in a match that many thought would be a comfortable victory for Derby. Rotherham, being newly promoted from League One, start the season as one of the favourites for relegation. Derby on the other hand are many people’s pick to win the league. Buoyed by a raucous 30,105 fans, Derby started the match on the front foot. Rotherham found themselves backed into their own penalty area while Derby pressed for an early goal. Simon Dawkins and Jonny Russell looked dangerous on the wings and forced a number of early corners that Rotherham did well to deal with. Having seen out the early pressure, Rotherham settled themselves and began to grow into the game. Several counter attacks looked to turn Derby’s dominant possession against them, although keeper Lee Grant wasn’t forced into any meaningful saves. The best chance of the half fell to Derby’s Russell, who arrowed a close range header towards the bottom corner forcing a superb save from Adam Collin.

The second half saw Derby’s Will Hughes substituted early due to injury. The youngster had been controlling the midfield and his loss was a blow to The Rams. Former Derby player Ben Pringle started to dominate the middle of the park himself, and the game quickly became a nervy battle of attrition with neither side able to take control. The breakthrough finally came via a Derby counter attack. Substitute Jamie Ward darted down the right wing and played in new boy Cyrus Christie. Christie, who had been threatening the Rotherham area all game, pulled the ball back for Jeff Hendrick, who placed a sumptuous finish across Collin and into the top corner. The iPro breathed a sigh of relief as the Irish youth product continued his excellent scoring form that began at the end of last season. Rotherham nearly snatched a point at the death, goalkeeper Lee Grant making a fantastic close range save before Kieran Agard’s shot was hooked off the line by Craig Forsyth. Derby were just about worthy of the 1-0 victory, although Rotherham fans will hold their heads high knowing they made the Rams work for it, and can look at the rest of the season with real optimism. gZA

DERBY COUNTY

Lee Grant Distributed the ball excellently. Made a world class save at the death. 8.0
Cyrus Christie A constant threat down the right side. Provided the assist for the winning goal. 7.5
Richard Keogh Lead the back 4 well, although he looked nervy at times. 6.0
Jake Buxton A dominant presence at the back. Organised the defence and didn’t put a foot wrong. 8.5
Craig Forsyth Provided several dangerous crosses from full back, but occasionally left the left side exposed. 6.5
Will Hughes Used the ball excellently. Made some solid challenges and dictated the tempo until his substitution. 8.0
Craig Bryson Had a very quiet game. Struggled to find space amongst Rotherham’s stifling defence. 6.0
Jeff Hendrick Was involved in most of Derby’s chances. Scored a superb game winner. 8.5
Simon Dawkins Saw plenty of the ball and threatened several times. Struggled to find room in the second half. 7.0
Johnny Russell Threatened several times in the first half but was repeatedly crowded out by the Rotherham defence. 7.0
Chris Martin Struggled to get into the game throughout. Saw very little of the ball and struggled to make space. 5.5

Substitutions

Omar Mascarell Showed good touch and vision with his passing. Misplaced a couple of passes in a nervous fashion. 6.5
Jamie Ward Showed good running and determination to get forward, which eventually resulted in Derby’s goal. 7.0
Leon Best Used the ball well and even made some key clearances at the end of the game 6.5

ROTHERHAM UNITED

Adam Collin Made a fine save to deny Russell’s header. Could do nothing about the goal. 7.5
Joe Skarz Coped well with Russell’s pace. Christie caused him problems on the overlap. 6.5
Craig Morgan Marshalled the defence well and kept Chris Martin quiet throughout. 7.5
Kari Arnason Well organised and solid throughout. Made a number of key clearances. 7.5
Kirk Broadfoot Continuously made things difficult for Dawkins. Allowed very few balls in from the left. 7.5
Paul Green Protected the back four well and kept Craig Bryson under lock and key. 7.0
Lee Frecklington Struggled to get into a game which saw Rotherham heavily focused on defence. 6.0
Ben Pringle Played like a man with a point to prove. Defensively excellent, efficient on the ball and delivered numerous dangerous balls into the Derby box. 8.5
Kieran Agard Had a quiet game overall, although managed to beat Grant in the final minute only to see his shot cleared off the line 6.5
Alex Revell Almost non existant in the first half. Rotherham struggled to get the ball up to their forwards. 5.5
Matt Derbyshire Couldn’t find space for himself throughout, and had barely seen the ball when he was substituted 5.5

Substitutions

John Swift Changed Rotherham’s approach as soon as he came on. Creative and dangerous. 7.5
Jordan Bowery Rotherham’s record signing was unable to really impose himself on the game. 6.0

 

Man of the Match

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Jake Buxton The stand out defender in what turned out to be a very tight, defensive and attritional match. Lead by example with several meaty challenges, interceptions and clearances. 8.5


About Author

Luke is a Derby County fan currently working as a Team Leader for a health care company. He is a freelance football and film writer and fills the headless chicken role for his 5-a-side team.