Rams 3-1 Lincoln - Match report
Wednesday, 13th Aug 2008 11:40
It took a bit of getting there but we got there in the end... and the Duke nets himself a hat-trick in the process.
For a long while during this match I had my tag line for this report stored in my head; two home games, no goals, not good enough. We’d certainly had plenty of good openings but never did we look like scoring. There were plenty of efforts and most were wild to say the least and with Lincoln on top thanks to an early second half header from Wright, it looked likely that the Rams would suffer the indignity of yet another cup embarrassment.
Then salvation appeared in the form of Nathan Ellington, who had for the first eighty minutes drifted pretty aimlessly but who was on hand to prod home after substitute Pereplotkins had mishit his own effort from the edge of the box. It was a scrappy goal but at this point, who cares? We’ll take anything at the moment and if that goal wasn’t very easy on the eye, the next pair, both in extra time, certainly were.
This match was virtually identical to last Saturday’s ill-fated outing and looked to be heading the same way for much of it. The Rams appeared largely solid but unable to fashion any real moments of quality with wayward finishing the hallmark of another unsatisfying performance. I know two games is a terribly small sample size but it does strike me that goals are going to be a problem this season; we look sturdy enough at the back now with Martin Albrechtesen and Kris Commons provides a creative spark in midfield but the partnership of Hulse and Ellington has got some way to go before it can be considered effective.
That may sound ridiculous given that Ellington scored a hat-trick but I’m going by what I saw and for a long time neither looked like coming close to finding the net; it was only once substitute Tito Villa had come on for Hulse did we look anything like a threat. That is no dig at Rob Hulse who I have high hopes for but our Tito looked well up for it and caused more problems than the Duke and Hulse had combined for the previous match and a half.
The other difference makers were Kaz and Pereplotkins, neither of whom shone against Doncaster but who did well coming off of the bench this time around. Pereplotkins doesn’t possess great pace nor have we seen an overly brilliant final cross yet but he got into good positions and kept things moving, the same of which can be said about giant Pole Kazmierczak who showed composure and a desire to get forward that hasn’t really been there before.
These three substitutes seemed to jog the Rams into gear and once extra time came around there was only one team who was going to go on and win the game. Although it never looked like getting that far when Green was allowed all the time and space in world by Jay McEveley to whip his cross in and Wright headed across goal and past Carroll to put the Imps a goal to the good just after the break.
Robbie Savage also put in a pretty average showing and must be starting to go down as one of the worst signings since the time of the White Feather; financially crippling and well past it, I thought the club had moved on from these sort of expensive mistakes. I hope this bad contract doesn’t cause the problems the last lot did.
So on to extra time and two wonderful goals that really showed what Nathan Ellington is capable of; he looks unwieldy and slow at times and his passing was dire at others but when the goal is front of him he can be one of the very best.
The first, or second for those keeping track, effort came from a good move involving Commons down the middle, the ball ended up with the Duke just outside the box and he took his time and curled a magnificent effort over Burch and into the net. It was a brilliant strike that was so perfect the ball thumped into off of the underside of the crossbar and in that moment you saw Ellington at his best during his Wigan days when goals like this seemed to be a regular occurrence.
Further evidence that the good old days might just be back for the striker was provided five minutes later and this time it was heart in the mouth stuff as Pereplotkins’ cross was flicked into the air by Beevers, the ball seemed to fall slightly behind Ellington but it did not matter as the Duke turned and fired a bullet past Burch that no goalkeeper would have stopped.
As I said it was a very satisfying end to an unsatisfying performance but of course it’s the winning that counts; it’s also a first real win for manager Paul Jewell without the need of penalties although it’s still twenty-nine (I believe) games and counting for a win inside normal time. Incredible that a manager with that record gets the support that he does from the Derby faithful, hopefully it’ll continue (i.e. we start winning a shed load of games).
It's Bristol City away next, a tricky game if ever there was one; the Robins are another good footballing outfit in the style of Doncaster but if there’s any place to start a good run, Ashton Gate is it.
Scorers: Ellington 83, 100, 105; Wright 48
Rams: Carroll 7; Mears 6; McEveley 5; Davis 6; Albrechtesen 7; Commons 6; Davies 6 (Pereplotkins 6); Green 6; Savage 6 (Kazmierczak 6); Ellington 8; Hulse 5 (Villa 7).
Lincoln: Burch; Green; Brown; Kovacs; Beevers; Oakes (Clarke); Gall; Kerr; N’Guessan (King); John-Lewis (Frecklington); Wright.
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