Nottingham Forest 1 – 1 Derby County

East Midlands derby matches are always heated affairs, with a red card being shown in the previous 3 City Ground encounters, a trend that would continue. An injury prior to kick off limited Forest manager Stuart Pearce’s options resulting in them fielding a less bold side to that of which the home fans had become used to, with Britt Assombalonga the sole striker. Steve McClaren’s Derby side also had injuries to deal with – missing key midfielders Thorne, Ward and Hendrick.

The first half proved a stale, tactical affair with Forest slightly edging it in possession and attempts, without ever really crafting something clear cut. Rightback Ryan Shotton looked a weak point for the Rams getting ran ragged by August player of the month nominee Michail Antonio, and on another day may have seen 2 yellow cards dished out for his numerous fouls, rather then just the one. Derby always looked threatening on the break however, with Chris Martin proving a powerful target man and the pace of Dawkins and Russell worrying Forest’s fullbacks. The biggest talking point was an injury to Forest captain and talisman Chris Cohen, who looks as though he may miss another season through a knee injury (his 3rd in a row).

In the second half the game opened up, becoming the type of frantic end to end derby match neutrals would have wanted to see from the start. Derby were much faster out of the blocks and had a sustained spell of pressure, but a break in play due to a (poorly dealt with) pitch invasion allowed Forest to rally and soon after Assombalonga opened the scoring with well taken goal. With tbe sell out crowd roaring them on it looked as though Forest may be able to hold out, but then in the 80th minute a set piece resulted in a scrappy goal for the visitors, eventually being awarded to Shotton. With Derby fans now the more vocal the game looked all set for a grand stand finish but, even with 8 minutes added time and a red card for Jake Buxton late on, neither team managed to grab a winner. A draw in the end, a fair result.

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Nottingham Forest

Karl Darlow Had a lot to do in terms of shot stopping and managed to impress. Dominant in the air and made defenders’ lives easier. 7.0
Jack Hunt Managed to keep the player who scored a hatrick last time these two met, Craig Bryson, quiet and looked to be positive when he found the ball at his feet. 7.0
Michael Mancienne A true ball playing centre back, Forest have conceded 0.28 goals per game with the former England U21 star in the line up. Tasked with dealing with a real unit in Chris Martin Mancienne performed admirably, remaining cool when closed down and winning the majority of headers. 7.5
Jack Hobbs After scoring the winner last year Hobbs had another solid game, with the only fault being that he couldn’t get another clean sheet 7.0
Eric Lichaj Playing on the ‘wrong’ side Lichaj had a decent match, most of the time stopping Russell but occasionally letting him roam inside 6.0
Chris Burke The Scot struggled to get into the game, providing very little for his side – his worst game to date. 3.0
Chris Cohen Started well enough but sadly succumbed to the knee injury which has blighted his career since he first damaged it in this fixture 3 years ago. 5.0
Andy Reid Seemed off the pace from the start and not his usual self. Reid misplaced many a pass and was subbed off before half time, looking tired 3.0
Michail Antonio Despite being the bain of Rams right back, loanee Ryan Shotton, Antonio lacked end product on most occasions, skipping past his man but delivering a poor ball from his weak foot 7.5
Henri Lansbury Was forced to work doubly hard after the energy of Cohen was removed from the side but managed to do so capably, contributing offensively and defensively 7.0
Britt Assombalonga Marked out the game for 90% of the match by a good Derby centerback partnership, but did what all top class forwards do and took the only chance which fell to him, and did so wonderfully 7.5

Substitutions

Robert Tesche Chucked in at the deep end the German played well, going close from distance. Will probably have a sustained spell in the starting line up now. 6.0
Lars Veldwijk Bought on for the 8 minutes of injury time Veldwijk had one sniff of the ball, but failed to control it 4.5
Ben Osborn After replacing Reid Osborn did well, playing against the team he supported as a boy. But was eventually “sub subbed” after Derby went down to 10 men so Forest could utilise a 4-4-2 formation. 6.5

Derby County

Lee Grant Didn’t have a single thing to do in the first half and not much in the second either but did concede. 6.0
Ryan Shotton Improved in the second half, but was ran ragged in the first by Forest winger Antonio 3.5
Richard Keogh Derby’s captain had a very solid game at the back, marshalling his back four. 7.0
Jake Buxton In the first half kept Forest at bay, but slacked in the second, getting two completely needless yellow cards and putting his side in jeopardy. Could also have conceded a penalty. 5.5
Craig Forsyth Still has Chris Burke in his back pocket now, had a very good game dominating the left side 8.0
John Eustace Lucky to avoid a second yellow after committing two, perhaps bookable, fouls. Shielded his back four well at times 4.5
Will Hughes Infamous for being poor in previous enactments of this fixture the 19 year old put the record straight. After being given a license to roam around the midfield area Hughes played well, using his slight frame to his advantage by going down after the smallest of touches. A different approach which got the home fans on his back, but was also effective 7.5
Craig Bryson Couldn’t get close to repeating his heroic antics of the 5-0 match, but also was played out wide at times, not his natural position. 6.0
Simon Dawkins A few skilful dribbles but did to offer much else
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besides pace on the counter attack.

6.0
Johnny Russell Failed to ‘prove people wrong’ after doing a lot of running and closing to no avail. He also missed one of Derby’s best chances pulling his angled shot wide 5.5
Chris Martin Provided a good option and held the ball up several times, but counter acted by some extremely wayward shooting 6.5

Substitutions

Jordan Ibe Provided a more natural wing option after replacing Bryson relatively late on, looked a threat in the final minutes. 6.5
Leon Best Despite originally credited with his sides goal best had a fairly quiet cameo 5.0
Ivan Calero Arrival signified a change in emphasis as Derby pushed for an equaliser, showed a few nice touches 5.5

Man of the Match

Craig Forsyth: Dealt with Chris Burke better then anyone this season as well as making a lot of supporting runs past Bryson. The Scottish international looked solid at the back and put in a near perfect full back performance, particualary in the second half. Michail Antonio was the best player in purely an attacking sense on the day, but overall i will give it to the Rams left back. 8.0


About Author

Nottingham Forest supporter home and away, Andy Reid's left foot appreciator. 17 at college and hoping to go on to take Sports Journalism at uni.