Derby County secured a huge three points in League One on Saturday afternoon, beating Charlton Athletic 1-0 away from home courtesy of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s first-half strike.
Derby County’s latest recruit, Ebou Adams, starred on his debut for Paul Warne’s side at The Valley, wowing supporters with his 72-minute display.
In what was an evenly contested fixture, despite Charlton leading the way in possession, the deadlock was broken in the 31st minute once Max Bird slipped the ball perfectly through to Mendez-Laing who finished with conviction. Derby County made sure that all three points were heading home with them through a resilient defensive display in the second half, which was much to the delight of the travelling support in excess of 3,000.
Victory for the Rams saw them rise from 4th to 2nd in the table, occupying automatic promotion spot. However, Bolton Wanderers and Peterborough United below them do boast games in hand.
Adams, who signed on loan from Cardiff City last week, was thrown straight into the starting lineup and bossed things in the middle of the park from the first whistle.
He made six recoveries and four interceptions during his first appearance for Warne’s men, also winning seven out of the nine duels he contested – that is a steady 78% completion rate.
The 28-year-old appeared to highlight exactly what had been missing from the Derby County side so far this season. He earned an 8/10 rating from the Derbyshire Telegraph. On his performance, reporter Leigh Curtis wrote:
“Covered a lot of ground, won his tackles and the defensive midfielder did everything that was said on the tin when he arrived from Cardiff in midweek. What Derby have missed and a fine debut.”
Much-needed midfield balance
Adams’ arrival seemingly added that extra bite in the middle of the park that the Rams had been lacking this campaign.
His battling demeanour, alongside his impressive work rate which saw him cover almost every blade of grass in the centre of the pitch on Saturday, allowed Bird to flourish with more attacking freedom whilst simultaneously easing the defensive duties of captain Conor Hourihane.
It was clear to see why he had been dubbed ‘the general’, the Gambia international now looks set to be a crucial addition for Derby County and their hopes of promotion this season.