Derby County fought back from two goals down to earn a 3-3 draw in a thrilling game at the New York Stadium. Goals from Paul Green, Richard Smallwood and Matt Derbyshire had put the Millers into a strong position. The game changed around the 60th minute mark. Steve McClaren, who was twice forced down into the technical area from the stands made all three of his substitutions, a brave call with still half an hour remaining. The three changes reignited Derby’s creative spark and inspired them to a spirited come back which was completed seven minutes time, when Darren Bent turned home Jesse Lingaard’s low cross. Yet before that the show had already been stolen. Tom Ince was sensational on the night and capped off a stunning performance with an equally sublime goal on 36 minutes which cancelled out Paul Green’s 35th minute opener.

The Championship is an unforgiving league. The Millers were warned about this all the way through the Summer and if there was ever a more fitting example of this it was the incident in 64th minute. Matt Derbyshire drove at the Rams’ defence and unleashed a fantastic long range shot which produced an equally brilliant save from Lee Grant. No more than 30 seconds later Derby were back in the contest, Tom Ince’s low shot hit the post rolled on the line and then from Derby’s perspective, went in off the right side of the post. Derby will surely have gone into the game thinking nothing more than a win would do, contrast that to the Millers. There were murmurs before the game from Rotherham supporters “I’d take a point now”, yet at the end many left the ground disappointed that they had not won the game. Derby on the other hand were grateful for the point they got with Steve McLaren describing it to be “one of the most valuable points we’ll get”. The game was pure footballing theatre and the Championship at it’s best.

Rotherham United

Adam Colin: Commanded his area reasonably well, couldn’t do much about any of the Derby goals. 6.6
Jack Hunt: It was a shame he went off injured. Up until that point he was one of the stand out players with both his attacking and defensive play. 6.8
Kirk Broadfoot: First game in months and was rock solid against a Premier League quality striker. Also got an assist for the first goal. 7.2
Kari Arnason: Gave a good performance. Carried the ball out well from defence and like Broadfoot had a decent game against Bent. 7.0
Zeki Fryers: Sloppy. His loan spell ends soon and I’m not convinced it should be renewed. His tendency to dwell on the ball and cut inside rather than play it down the line means he regularly squanders possession. 6.5
Rob Milsom: This was his first start in a very long time and he did well. Like Smallwood he sat in midfield and mobbed it up. Tired towards the end. 6.8
Paul Green:  Capped off a fine performance with a very well taken goal in the first half. Tackling and energy was a strong point of his game and did admirably well on the right hand side. 7.0
Richard Smallwood:  Rotherham’s best player. Never missed a tackle, never gave the ball away and scored a very good goal from a set piece. 8.0
 Ben PringleNot his finest performance but it should be noted that his superb cross in the first half led to the opening goal for the Millers. Gave 100% too as always. 6.8
Matt Derbyshire: Caused the Derby defenders all sorts of problems. His constant harrying reaped its rewards when it led to his goal, which was very well taken. 7.5
Danny Ward: Lively, quick and strong. Has a decent touch and puts himself about on the pitch. Good performance. 7.0

Substitutions

Adam Hammill: Came on late and had a few runs. Didn’t really provide the outlet that the team so desperately needed though. 6.6
Conor Newton: Offered a little bit more energy than Newton and came away with the ball very well. 6.7
Frazer Richardson: Unlucky not to start but soon got his chance due to Hunt’s injury. Actually thought he did very well against a tricky player in Jamie Ward.  6.7

Derby County

Lee Grant: His save from Matt Derbyshire was the turning point. At 4-1 Derby would have been dead a buried. 60 seconds later they were back in the game, fine margins. 6.9
Cyrus Christie: Not great defensively, looked stronger going forward. 6.6
Richard Keogh: Couldn’t really get to grips with the Rotherham front two had a torrid time on that front, thought he carried the ball out well though. 6.7
Jake Buxton: Identical performance to Keogh, defensively struggled. 6.7
Craig Forsyth: He was decent. Defended well and attacked well too. 6.8
Will Hughes: Completely ran the game after 60 minutes. Sat deep received the ball and found a team mate. Never wasted a pass. 7.2
Omar Mascarell: Not sure what he was trying to do in the incident which led to Derbyshire’s goal. I thought he had a poor game. 6.4
Jeff Henderick: Like Hughes he was neat and tidy on the ball, threat going forward was lacking though. 6.8
Tom Ince: Superb performance. Two very well taken goals and was real live wire throughout. Man of The Match. 9.0
Jamie Ward: Offered nothing and was rightly taken off early in the second half. 6.3
Darren Bent: Offered little throughout the game but still ended up on the score sheet. Did what he is paid so much to do. 7.2

Substitutions

Simon Dawkins: Very lively when he came on, offered a threat down the left hand side and caused the full back problems.   7.0
Craig Bryson: Added the energy and spark in the midfield that Derby were lacking. Another excellent substitution by McClaren. 7.0
Jesse Lingaard: Another quality player Derby had waiting on their bench. Also made an impact with the assist for the third goal. 7.0

Man of the Match

Tom Ince: If Steve Bruce has a better winger at Hull City than this guy, I’m yet to see him. His performance was up there with one of the best at the New York Stadium this season. Pace and trickery met with a ruthleness and eye for goal. In my opinion he’ll be playing in the Premier League next season even if Hull aren’t.  8.0

 


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Rotherham United season ticket holder and aspiring sports journalist. Plan to go on to study Journalism at University.