|Derby County v Norwich City|
Saturday, 11th February 2017 Kick-off 15:00
What I.Saw: A Crazy Day At Pride Park
Sunday, 12th Feb 2017 13:34 by I.Saw
Darren Bent summed up my feelings perfectly after the match yesterday. He said; “As a player I want to play in every game, I have a love of the FA Cup”.
He went on to say the he didn't see eye to eye with the manager and he had to respect his opinion.
The backdrop to yesterday's match at Pride Park against Bristol City was that the Rams made eight changes from the FA. Cup replay versus Leicester, a game which in turn our manager decided he wasn't interested in one little bit fielding a team of reserves, a team which was as toothless as an Eighty year old granny.
The irony was the side that was given no chance actually was far better than the one that graced (sic) the first half at Pride Park yesterday.
All too often this season we find ourselves wondering which Derby County are going to turn up. We are a true Jekyll and Hyde team.
Our manager selects his strongest team, the referee blows his whistle and we are off. We saunter, on eight minutes we flare briefly into life Tom Ince fires hard and true, Fabian Giefer in the Bristol goal palms the ball away.
Our flame though is snuffed.
Our back line static. A ball whipped in, off the line and then Matty Taylor pokes it in. One nil to the visitors, less than a third of the first half gone.
Roger Davies has long since gone; a tall lanky striker who never really jumped for his headers, Tammy Abraham is a modern equivalent. Six foot summat and froze to death his head so high in the clouds, the Chelsea loanee looks awkward (again like Roger) but knows where the back of the net is (Roger again).
Taylor crosses and Abraham taps home at the back post before he runs away from the visiting fans and slides into the corner flag in front of the corporate corner to celebrate.
Two nil down to a team fighting relegation and not even half an hour of the match completed.
Our manager responds by bringing on Ikechi Anya and Jacob Butterfield, Craig Bryson and Bradley Johnson the ones hauled off. The latter strips his shirt off in the dug out and throws it to the floor behind our managers back. It shows more passion and spunk than that on the pitch.
We drift aimlessly towards half time. Bristol doesn’t. Abraham steers the ball into the back of the net totally unmarked three yards out. This time he gets his celebrations right as he runs towards the sparse travelling support.
Three nil then and the boos resound round Pride Park as the team go in.
The temptation to leave was great, some didn't resist.
On the big screen Michael Johnson (the ex Derby County defender) does his best to be positive “an early goal in the first ten –fifteen minutes then who knows”. It turns out he was right.
The players turn out early, some basic warm up runs and then they wait for The Robins and the referee to emerge from the tunnel.
Johnson called it correctly; Chris Baird whips in a cross in from the right, edge of the box and Bent finds time and space with a glorious diving header to power the ball home. 3-1, thirty minutes left.
It should have been 4-1, Taylor two yards out, open goal, no one anywhere near and somehow he balloons the ball over the bar. From two yards that was incredible. The miss of the season.
Meanwhile we throw the kitchen sink at the game, Ted Nugent comes on for Baird, err sorry make that DAVID Nugent, must be cat scratch fever time.
Nugent does that movement off the ball thingy that some of us remember well, we expect it won't last too long before he stops and matches his team mates.
Fifteen left and Anya on the by-line floats the ball across the face of goal, Ince rises magically, magnificently, like a thunderbird puppet he hangs in mid air, his head meets the ball, never has a contact been so sweet and the net swells. 3-2.
Minutes later, Ince in the box, his puppet strings cut... The referee point to the spot. “Whose going to take it”? Our unspoken thoughts.
It's Bent. It's three all.
One last push, we squeeze but we are done. With relief we leave our seats, we applaud our team. For their fight back. For their efforts.
It was the classic game of two halves.
Post Match Reaction:
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Photo: Action Images
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