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Morley's Match Musings: Out Fought And Out Thought
Monday, 16th May 2016 17:01 by Nathan Morley

What a disaster. The Rams couldn’t even stay in the tie after the first leg.

I wasn’t really sure what to predict but naively I thought we might do it, get a positive result at the iPro and defend for our lives at the KC. Wishful thinking.

Derby actually started the game quite well with a good tempo and intensity. Two excellent Cyrus Christie crosses were met by nobody. The Rams had set up to be direct and enjoyed a good amount of possession. Early signs were that Chris Martin wasn’t on his game. Again…

But then Hull struck. Slack work from Bradley Johnson and Jason Shackell gifted Hull the lead after half an hour. It was a clinical goal from Hernandez. So, then the question was how would the hosts respond?

There was no response, the Rams didn’t look like scoring and continued to hit a brick wall against a very organised City side. Michael Dawson and Curtis Davies won everything in the heart of their defence.

Hull’s second had a lot of luck about it with a slight deflection off Marcus Olsson and a huge deflection off Shackell. So, in at the break, 2-0 down, surely something would give? A change?

No. The same 11 and the same result with nothing coming off. There didn’t seem much life, energy and even fight. The 80th minute saw Derby finally get a shot on target. The big players for Derby didn’t turn up. Darren Bent was brought on far too late (87 minutes in).

Finally, in added time, the visitors got a third to make Tuesday look beyond hope. With George Thorne out, it was Will Hughes to fill his position in the 4-3-3.

Both Paul Clement and Darren Wassall, in the post-McClaren era, have persisted with this system. When it works, it works. But that requires a performance from Martin. Can the manager always rely on that?

Ultimately, however, I don’t think it would have mattered too much what formation was played (although it’s worth wondering if Derby can effectively play anything other than their usual system?) as the players didn’t seem up for it after the first 30 minutes. Out-fought and out-thought.

To make it through to Wembley would require a near-miracle. It would need a very early goal to apply a bit of pressure to Hull and perhaps give some hope to the players that maybe there is a chance.

Above all, the fans deserve a battle, a fight from the Derby players.

The Rams are a much better side than the one that turned out on Saturday, although a complete rethink and long evaluation is needed in the summer, starting with the appointment of a new manager.

For more of Nathan's articles you can read his blog at and follow him via @ramscorner on Twitter.

Match Highlights:

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