Steve Mclaren marked a year in charge of Derby County with a hard fought victory over AFC Bournemouth at The iPro Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Rams started brightly and aggressively, with plenty of attacking possession around the Bournemouth area without really threatening former Derby and Forest keeper Lee Camp. Bournemouth grew into the game as the half went on and attempted to use Derby’s possession against them with sharp counter attacks. The Cherries also struggled to really test the Derby goal though and the first half eventually fizzled out.
The second half began much the same as the first one finished. Despite Derby switching Jordan Ibe for Johnny Russell out wide at half time, their dominance in possession continued to count for naught as Bournemouth’s organisation and patience kept the Rams at bay. Cyrus Christie made a number of dangerous runs from right back but struggled to find an end product to match his skill and pace on the ball.
Everything changed on the 67th minute and the match was hauled from the drab depths it was threatening to fall into by a moment of controversy. Jamie Ward got behind the Bournemouth defence as a long ball over the top fell before him. Lee Camp rushed out of his goal to meet the winger, got a clear hand to the ball outside of the area which then ricocheted off Ward and into the back of the net. Derby fans and players were breathing a collective sigh of relief for a considerable amount of time until it transpired that the referee had elected to send off Lee Camp for the hand ball, thereby halting the play before the ball reached the net. Both sets of players surrounded referee Scott Mathieson and the Derby fans were left celebrating the marching orders of one of their most hated figures while simultaneously bemoaning having their goal chalked off.
The drama of the moment didn’t end there, as Chris Martin’s resulting free kick rattled off the top of the post. Rams fans were starting to wonder if a repeat of the playoff final was on the cards as their team poured forward in search of a goal.
The deadlock was finally broken after 81 minutes as Chris Martin broke into the left side of the area. Rather than try a difficult angled shot across goal he played a sublime pass to Will Hughes on the edge of the area. The England Under 21 midfielder made no mistake, firing home emphatically into the top corner. Bournemouth pushed everyone forward in search of an equaliser, and with a player short they inevitably left space in behind. Johnny Russell took advantage, finding acres of space on the left hand side. Receiving a cross-field ball, he bore down on the area and timed a perfect, in swinging cross for Chris Martin to tap home and seal the points for Derby.
|Lee Grant – Had little to do and was rarely tested, but his distribution was solid and he kept a clean sheet.||6.5|
|Cyrus Christie – Continues to be one of Derby’s most dangerous attacking threats and has the athleticism to still maintain his defensive duties||7.0|
|Richard Keogh – His passing was a little wayward throughout and communication with Grant was poor on more than one occasion. Staunch and solid in the air as always though.||6.0|
|Ryan Shotton – Seemed nervy during the first half under the constant pressure of Wilson but eventually adjusted and held him off well during the second.||6.5|
|Craig Forsyth – Always a threat from crossing positions and did his defensive duties well.||6.5|
|John Eustace – Didn’t have much to do as Derby had the vast majority of the attacking possession. His lack of pace was exposed during Bournemouth’s breaks.||6.0|
|Craig Bryson – Put in an all-action performance, chasing down every loose ball and driving at Bournemouth at every opportunity.||7.0|
|Will Hughes – Controlled the midfield throughout with accurate, intelligent passing. Took his goal with the poise and decisiveness of a striker.||8.5|
|Jamie Ward – Was the focus of the majority of Derby’s first half attacks but lacked a final ball. Eventually left the field with a knock.||6.5|
|Jordan Ibe – Only played the first half due to a stomach bug. Seemed hampered as he went on plenty of intriguing runs without ever really concerning Bournemouth’s back line.||6.0|
|Chris Martin – After an extremely quiet first half he came alive in the second, hitting the post, setting up a goal and eventually scoring one himself.||8.0|
|Johnny Russell – Found space better than anyone else all day. Kept his head to play a great cross in space to set up Martin.||7.5|
|Jeff Hendrick – Had little of the ball during his first game back from injury, but found dangerous positions playing unnaturally wide.||6.0|
|Leon Best – Looked as if he may have completed a couple of late breaks, but seemed to lack the pace and skill to finish the moves off.||5.0|
|Lee Camp – Had little to do before his sending off. His distribution was very solid with good, long kicks to wide areas. His hand ball was blatant though.||4.0|
|Steve Cook – A good, tidy performance. Both goals came down his side, but more as a result of having ten men than ineptitude on Cook’s part.||6.5|
|Simon Francis – Staunch and solid throughout. Dominated aerially and frustrated Derby throughout.||7.0|
|Tommy Elphick – Equally patient and organiser at the back. Dealt with Martin well for the majority of the game.||7.0|
|Ian Harte – Managed to bend without breaking at left back, covering Ward well throughout.||7.0|
|Andrew Surman – Looked to initiate counter attacks where possible and broke up Derby’s play on several occasions.||7.0|
|Eunan O’Kane – Disciplined and solid in the centre of the park without really adding anything of significance to the game||6.5|
|Harry Arter – Worked hard throughout and chased the ball across Derby’s midfield tirelessly before his substitution.||6.5|
|Junior Stanislas – His pace gave potency to Bournemouth’s counter attacks and he constantly pressed the back four in possession||7.0|
|Matt Ritchie – Struggled to involve himself in the game and didn’t have the impact he’d have liked||5.0|
|Callum Wilson – Was a constant handful for the Derby defence, running, hassling at harrying throughout.||6.5|
|Darryl Flahaven – Didn’t make any meaningful saves, let two goals in and was nowhere near Martin’s post-clipping free kick.||4.5|
|Marc Pugh – Carried on Stanislas’ solid work, looking to break with the ball whenever possible||6.0|
|Yann Kermorgant – Came on to add a second striking option late on but failed to test Lee Grant and make an impact||5.0|
Man of the Match
|Will Hughes – Showed touch, vision, technique and class throughout as well as scoring a key goal.||8.5|