Past games reports


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The Rams 2  The Tractor Boys (Ipswich)  0

From all accounts prior to this game the Rams were expected to open up with more aggression and determination. As it happened they did albeit for about fifteen minutes then they slowly lost momentum after a serious injury to Evans who was enjoying his home debut. From then on they were all “higgldey piggledy”. None of them could reach a pinnacle to say they were the best in the squad. They became blase and chased the ball, played in a bunch and never showed any form or class. Too many times they would pass the ball backwards rather than show some mettle and push the ball into the opponents half to put them in a quandary. They became predictable and played the same passes all the forty five minutes. The crowd expected more from them in the second half yet to a certain extent they continued to be the same. From a corner kick the ball was played out by Ipswich to Ledley who kindly blasted the ball back and into the onion bag to wake up the sleepy crowd. This did have the effect of giving the Rams a dose of vim and about seven minutes later Lawrence had a second chance from a free kick just outside the penalty area and he duly obliged via the unfortunate antics of the Ipswich goalkeeper to make the score two nil. All in all it was a dour game and the erratic decisions by the referee did nothing to lift the game. Maybe the attending crowd will have to suffer games of this nature for a while until Mr Lampard sets his intentions and ideas into the players who in reality do not full fill their own acumen. So long as he dismisses his Chelsea, Manchester City ideas and realises this is the Championship. However three points are three points  no matter how they are earned.`


There was a contentious debate over this game being shown live on television by Rams TV. Apparently in brief the club have been paid a nice sum of money for this to be done. The argument  which comes to the fore is that the “armchair supporter” is given more consideration than the people who get off their backsides, pay for the means to get to Pride Park, pay to see the game via a match day ticket or a season ticket, maybe enjoy the facilities on offer at the ground, then meander home with emotions created by the game and result. Many say that television interference is an insult to the latter for many of the attendees have paid hundreds of pounds to see the games at the ground, where as the armchair watcher pays a measly ten pounds per watch. The games have been on Rams TV either full or highlights for quite a while so if the non attender wants to see it then they should only be allowed to do so the following day of the match. To show a game live will inspire the ticket purchases to stay at home and the attendances at Pride Park and the atmosphere generated by a big crowd will dwindle. Others argue it will inspire the armchair watcher to abandon his seat to attend in person. This is a trite statement, especially if it is a cold, snowy, dank, December Saturday afternoon.  Consider this. If this live broadcast continues then a season ticket purchaser paying up to and more than six hundred pounds will realise he can see the Rams playing live on his television for as little at two hundred and forty pounds per season,  initially a saving of almost four hundred pounds  add on over head expenses of transit and all the facilities on hand and the saving increases. Hopefully the decision by the clubs hierarchy allowing the live TV will be bemoaning and ruing the lack of crowd support at home games. Yes, television rules football in this era, the football supporter who attends his home ground is now a second consideration. This is grossly unfair.  However on second thoughts there is an alternative. Charge the armchair wallies thirty pounds per view, which is more than a match day ticket, at the same time pay the club a greater sum from this increase for allowing the broadcast, and the out come is the price for a paying supporter is less than an armchair “supporter”. Hence the balance is redressed and, if as economic criteria states, this is an elastic situation, charge more, loose custom, yet still get a profit. Give the benefit of the price increase to the club, who will then pass this onto the faithful, by reducing the ticket costs. Now that’s a thought!.

The Rams 2  Preston North End  0

Every Ram supporter expected the Rams to start this game with the same attitude they ended against Ipswich, alas it was not to be and they laboured for almost the first forty minutes. They played all bunched up giving no space amongst them, defending “Rowett” style especially at corners  {ie all eleven bunched up in the penalty area}. It became a pain to watch how professional footballers who have supposedly been coached to play as a team, and employing their own individual skill can be so dour, and keep doing the same moves constantly and not realising they have to change their tactics because the opposition know how, and when to win the ball off them. Moves such as “Carson to Keogh, square pass from Keogh to Timori, who pushes the ball to Forsythe who is then hassled so he, in haste, tries to pass it back to Timori but looses it to the opposition. This move must have been re-inacted several times in the first half yet they persisted in doing it. Preston did all the offensive work yet failed at the final second. Had they been more acute in front of the goals, Derby would have been at least three goals down. As it was one swift move down the right wing and two touches from Mount the Rams went a goal up. In essence they did not deserve it. In the second half Preston showed some spirit to get back on equal terms yet Derby were a little better in their cohesion and from a corner Keogh nodded the ball into the Preston goal. His street cred went up one notch from this and all in all he had a better game than in previous outings. The problem with this team will soon be realised by Lampard when he drops run about Bryson.  Where ever the ball is he is there getting in every ones way.  It is a huge disappointment that Bogle and Bennet both left the field with injuries, just when the pair were showing their mettle and getting accustomed to the Championship football.


Why does Lampard and his cohorts not see what thousands of Ram fans see and condemn. Ledley is definitely not for this team neither is Bryson.  Ledley is past his best and cannot compete with the more athletic footballers he is in opposition with. Bryson was ousted by Rowett to Cardiff where he was ousted out of favour by Warnock and sent  “home”. So Lampard re-installs him at the expense of the new recruits who have to sit and watch him chase the ball in the same fashion as an excited under ten year old. The team may function on the training pitch playing against their own colleagues, yet on match days they fail because they do not possess the acumen or instructions to keep their positions and spread out to stretch the opposite team. Instead they play within five yards of each other and any long pass goes astray. The coaches must have told them to play the way they do. All run for the ball from a corner kick or send the ball over the top of every team mate standing in a bunch in the penalty area, and even the stupid set up of eleven defending a corner kick, so if it is cleared out of the penalty area it goes directly to the opposition to send it back. To watch these tactics from Derby must make the rest of the championship clubs eager to play them for they know exactly what Derby will do, so all they need to do is play with it to win the game. Lampard and Morris have to get more guille and craft into the team or both they and the team will fail.

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Caraboa Cup    Hull City 0   The Rams 4

Hooray; no Bryson, and what occurred the team was fluid and rampant. Lampard has to realise that a team with out the runaround ball chaser can be a team that plays as a team with each individual doing his job without interference. Every Ram player did his part almost to perfection. There were lapses for instance Marriot having his first proper run out missed a couple of good chances yet it shows he can get into the place needed to do his job. Our man from Dutchland “Flo Zo” did show his worth by scoring twice and giving the Hull defenders a nightmare game. Waghorn was on the score sheet and again showed why he is now a Ram. The newest recruit Holmes substituted Marriot and with his first touch sent a low pass across the penalty area for Zo-Flo to get his second goal. Mount who as steady as ever scored the fourth goal to put the Rams into the 3rd round. Everyone, as said, gave a good display. Hudleston , Keogh, and Johnson all proved they can and will play a good game when called upon. It may be a different Hull City they meet on Saturday yet it goes to show that two good wins in this cup with out Bryson is significant. Lampard needs to realise he has better players who will play as a team and keep their places, and do their jobs and needs to keep this attitude going and improve on it in the league.


It came as no surprise to learn Lampard had made a few changes for the Caraboa Cup game at Hull. Out went Carson, Forsythe, Nugent Bennett,and of course Bryson. In came Huddleston, Marriot, Waghorn Malone and Holmes. They played a 4-2-3-1 formation and played it just as they were asked to. For all the Ram supporters who made the journey their endeavours were rewarded. Maybe the Hull team were a set of reserves yet even so a club of Derbys stature has to show dominance. How many times is it that a reserve team overcomes a made up first team squad, especially in a cup competition. Hull played the same team that beat Sheffield United in round one so they were full of anticipation to beat the Rams. They held their own for 24 minutes then they imploded. Having said that they had a chance or two yet failed where it mattered. Now Mr Lampard and his cohorts have to sit down and work out who keeps the shirts on Saturday for the return game in the league. Speculation is rife for there are at least ten names on the sheet already from this cup game. Maybe it is unwise to speculate yet just for fun the team for Saturday has to be Carson, Wisdom, Keogh, Tomori, Lowe, Huddleston, Johnson, Mount, Lawrence Bennet, Waghorn. 1400hrs on Saturday will be the crucial time to see if this speculative guess is correct. Watch and see if Davis has a miraculous recover y as well.

NB  After this comment column was written Max Lowe was sent out on loan so maybe Forsythe will play

Hull City 1  The Rams 2

Everyone had half a thought that the Rams would start at Hull where they left off last Tuesday night, to a degree or two they did although the same players were not wearing the grey colours with a yellow trim. The same attitude was relevant yet the opposition were more determined to right a wrong they had suffered. Eventually the Rams dominance came through and although one chance to be given a penalty was ignored by the referee the second foul in the area was given as a penalty, so Waghorn took the opportunity to hit the back of the onion bag with aplomb. Into the second half and Hull began to get the better of the Rams who seemed to go into their usual malaise within the first part of the second half and because of this Hull were able to make the score even Wisdom doing his usual statue stance allowed Kane to go past him without any problem then to beat Carson again with ease. This woke up the Rams who showed they will endeavour to win a game right up to the final whistle. Five minutes prior to this our lad from Shirebrook was asked to do his bit for the remaining minutes, well, he did. Just as he did for Lawrence against Reading he sent a sharp pass across the six yard box and who was waiting for it? the man of the match “Flo Zo” who flung himself at the ball to make it two to the Rams. It is good to realise that we have a bunch of players who for the time being keep on trying all the time, although they have to rid themselves of that malaise they get at the onset of the second half.


The team envisaged to be chosen was not the one Mr Lampard decided upon. He put runaround Bryson back in and in some respects the team did not function the same as it did without him. The plaudits were given to the man from “dutchland” yet again for his entertaining the visiting fans and for him scoring the winner. How many times has it been that the Rams are winning or drawing up to the last five or ten minutes and the opposition are given a chance they take to score. Therefore it is good to see the Rams doing likewise and coming off the pitch triumphant. Mr Lampard has or it seems that he has injected  a sense of determination into his squad.  To be sat in fourth place in the league, when it is considered Leeds over ran them in the first game and the doom and gloom which was felt over that result, since then points have been taken from every game since. Not only that, the players seem to show a more relaxed aura whilst playing and do not have it at the back of their mind some one is watching to criticise them. Their mood seems to be more on their game than trying to please the manager who has told them they must do it this way or do it that way. Maybe Lampard and his cohorts are asking them to play with panache and flare which is giving the fans plenty of joy and excitement. Many were dubious over Lampards appointment yet if this sort of attitude, commitment and enjoyment continues, not only will Pride Park be bursting at every home game the land of milk and honey may be reached.


Rotherham United 1  The Rams 0

This is one of those games that has to be written off, the drawbacks  from it accepted, learned from,  and continue as things were before the kick off. With teams such as Rotherham who were the thorn in the side of the Rams last time they visited the New York Stadium when the Rams were winning three nil and ended up drawing the game three three, this time they faced a bunch of players who are just power players and seem lacking in football finesse. Hence Derby just could not cope with this style of play, although it is not alien to them, it proves the point that they are to soft centered and when roughed up a little their patience is put to the test.  They saw red in both ways, one in anger and the other by a piece of plastic pushed into their vision. It is understandable that from playing in international games with footballers then to come to a game where it is physical, brutal and abusive then attitudes and deportment are put to the test and it is too easy to give retaliation. Lawrence was guilty of this and paid the penalty of a red card. Officials decisions were dubious as well, and from this Lampard was shown the red card. Yet all in all were it not for some petty linesman flagging as if royalty were in attendance then the game may have ended nil nil. The Ram players will be nursing a few lumps and bruises after this game yet they did their best which in this case was not their best for had they been more astute, shown they play football, not akin to the hosts, who hoof it up to a six foot six inch centre forward, then Rotherham could have been shown up to just what sort of team they are. Hudleston was like a fish out of water, Lawrence was the same Johnson drifted in and out owing to being trailed by his marker, Forsythe does a few good things then decides that is enough and goes back into his shell. Carson was as consistent as ever and Flo Zo was only there to make up the eleven. Was it the few days off which put them out of rhythm or what. Until this team begins to understand that such teams as Rotherham who are only in the Championship for survival have to be put to bed in the first forty five minutes, because if they are not they gather confidence, rail the referee all the time, get the decisions and then look what the result is.


Lampard has realised in one set of ninety minutes just how emotions can get the better of him as a manager,. He might wake up on the Sunday morning with a better understanding of himself, a better realisation that his job is vastly different to being a player, he is a marked man owing to his notoriety, and if he continues to step out of line how can he demand respect from the players. His trip to South Yorkshire will be a memorable one for him for a long time. He has quite a task ahead of him now and has to show greater respect whilst watching even when the game is not going in the Rams favour. The players are not giving their utmost all the time, even though he is asking them for it. He knows that bully teams are in this league and his spies must report back to him and his cohorts greater in depth information about the future opponents. It is no good putting out a team who will be trod on when facing such teams that Rotherham have. They have to have a solid game plan to get the forwards to pull these hefty centre backs out of position to allow the mid field to take the second balls and do what is needed. If Derby continue the same way of playing this will be heeded by future opponents who will have a game plan to thwart the Rams. The backroom staff have to get there game together quickly to ensure that Derby County are not a team noted to have only a plan A which they play all the time. It is strikingly obvious that Mr Warne of Rotherham and his staff worked out a system of how to beat Derby, and for the majority of the game it worked and they got the reward. Now Derby have to do the very same.

The Rams 0 Blackburn Rovers 0

This was a game that the Rams had to redress a poor last outing and to sum it up they did except to say it was only eighty percent of value. Blackburn showed their intent right from the start seeking an early goal so as to put the Rams on the rack, and for the first ten minutes Derby were pushed back. However slowly the game swung in Derbys’ favour and their ability to play good football with good intent and flair began to entertain the crowd.  Alas the ball just would not go into the Blackburn goal no matter how much they tried. Thus halftime came with the score goalless. The second half began where the first half ended yet signs were that Blackburn had changed their game plan and started to play akin to the way Rotherham did.  Mr Mowbray is a canny, street wise manager who has been there and done it, so he had sorted Derby out in the first forty five minutes and knew how to sort them out in the second forty five. What was even more gaulling was the referee sided with Blackburn and from this it irritated not only the  Derby players it did likewise to the crowd. When the whistle is blowing for no real reason the tendancy is to become timid knowing full well one slip up and it could be an early change of attire. Playacting and pretending to be fouled went in Blackburns favour which disrupted the fluency of the Rams. Any misdemeanours by the visitors was over looked especially when Mount was sent skittling in the penalty area, and Johnson being pushed in the back every time he went to head the ball. Owing to this Blackburn began to dictate the game for the last ten minutes yet owing to a solid defence, and a poor forward line the game ended goalless. All in all the game was enjoyable yet if only the Rams began to be more clinical and less giddy when they are on top of their opponents then the results will be what they are intended to be. Not one Derby player can be singled out as poor, and it was so pleasing that the lad from Shirebrook (the town where they eat missionaries for fun) was the man of the match, showing the skill, determination and aggression need in this league.


The crowd in the South stand were singing words asking why they always get referees whose acumen resembles excreta, it can be assumed the other three sides could only agree with them.  This was an exhibition of how the person selected to arbitrate a game of football can be so pathetic, bias and unfair to one team and give the other team all the credit due. There were numerous occasions when Blacburn players kicked, pushed and abused the Rams yet nothing was given in the Rams favour. Mason Bennet after eighty minutes could hardly walk and not once did here here a whistle denoting he was fouled. In the last five minutes a Blackburn player on the edge of the penalty area simply fell to the floor and got his reward for cheating.  Even the linesman got into the act by giving wrong decisions. Hand ball appeals in the first half were waved away, a crunch tackle to Mason Mount in the second half in the penalty area was judged as “fair”. These referees can walk on water according to the FA. In reality the FA know “FA” about referees and their personal grudges or self esteem which they bring to the game. It can be argued that the more they intimidate the home team the more pedantic they get and this inspires the crowd to sing abuse so this then increases the pedantic attitude even greater. What is more disturbing is that the players who have been refereed by these incapable people know how to play them, better than they know how to play the game.  It transpires that if the away team know the referee is a “homer” or an “awayer” they know what to do to get away with all the “dirty tricks of the game”  It will also apply now from the Rotherham game that owing to Mr Lampards display all the officials will be after the weekend paper headlines as well. Alas Derby are a marked team, for now.

Manchester United 2   The Rams 2   The Rams win 8  7  on penalties

“Oh what a night. Late September in 2018”  The apprentice did put one over his master and to add to the excitement Mr Wilson usurped Mr Wanchopp in scoring a fantastic goal at the Theatre of Dreams. A goal that will remain in the memory of every Ram supporter for life. These two issues are the headlines of a terrific win by the Rams in the Caraboa Cup 3rd round. A truly well managed determined aggressive. enthusiastic performance by fourteen footballers wearing the impressive grey with yellow trimmings was a game no one could take their eyes away from. Wilson won the man off the match accolade yet if he chopped it up, into fourteen pieces and shared it out then this would not be enough to praise every Ram player. Maybe The Reds did not have their first team out, that is not Derbys fault, the team they faced was comprised of first team players and internationals who should be ashamed of themselves for being totally incompetent in the game. This takes no shine off the Rams though.  Carson never had to stretch himself at all the defence  was too tight for the United forwards who were held back all the game, except for the first two minutes when The Reds went into the lead by slick passing and getting a goal worthy of their name. However, thinking they had the game won and it was just a matter of how many they would score they had a shock coming to them when the Rams got into their stride and began to show their mettle. From then on the Rams grew in confidence playing the game of the season and showing their opponents what they were capable of. In the second half the game continued with the Rams pressing for a goal and having misfortune just at the wrong time until Nugent was fouled twenty five yards out from the goa[ and up stepped Wilson to take the free kick. No one could forecast what he was about do. His strike was so effective that no one moved, not even the goalkeeper. The ball sat in the onion bag to every Ram supporters delight and all of Derbyshire must have praised that goal. From then on could the excitement get better? Yes it did. Wilson again one on one with the Reds goalie forced the keeper into handling the ball outside his penalty area and for a chance to redress an historical event the referee sent  off the goalkeeper who was replaced by an ex Ram. Could the heart beat of every Ram supporter increase from now on? Yes, in a frenzy of pin ball in the six yard area the ball came bouncing of the goalie for Marriot to head it into an empty net. Could the excitement continue?  no, there was a worrying minute whist VAR was consulted. Up went the relief when VAR accepted it was a fair goal. Six minutes was added on for  extra time and the Reds were pushing for an equaliser. The tension from all supporters was intense, could the Rams hold out, could the Reds equalise? Every Ram supporters ego was dashed when it came with one minute left that bushy haired monster in a red shirt headed in an equalising goal. Egos deflated for Ram supporters whose thoughts now turned to penalties, a lottery shoot out. It was the Rams to go first and into the net flew the ball. This continued with the anxiety increasing with every spot kick. The quality of both teams penalties was to be admired so at five five it was the “Not me” brigade to do the job which they did magnificently. Then the big moment came when Carson stopped the ball from entering the goal, stood up and for a second wondered what he had done until the realisation came that he had won the game via his save. Jubilation set off a memorable occasion which will remain in the annals of Derby County history for ever. Derby had beat Manchester United at last and in their own back yard.


Two issues come to the fore from this game. One in favour of the Rams and one in favour of the Reds. If the ball bounces up sharply and hits a defenders hand in the penalty area quite by chance it can be deemed as no foul, play on, and this has occurred. However in this game the ball flew up into the hands of the goalkeeper when out of the box and he was sent off according to the rules, yet if the VAR was sought it is doubtful if he would be dismissed, for on close examination he was not going to handle the ball he was in such a situation that he could not get out of the way of the ball. Secondly watch Fellaini when he jumped to head in the ball for the Reds second goal. He pushed Wisdoms` head down out of his way to be first to the ball, so in effect he committed a foul. Why was it if the players protest then VAR was not consulted after all that is what it was installed to do. Hence it can be argued once again that although technology is available it is over looked. By the way let Heanor Rams congratulate Mr and  Mrs Lampard on the birth of baby Patricia and wish all the family the very best. Lastly this is written from the Middle East from where the game was watched in its entirety via Sky Sports.

T’S A FIX, IT’S A FIX ! !  It just had to be Chelsea. The cup draw put “Lampard v Murinhio  in round 3 now it has put “Lampard v Chelsea”  in round 4.  If Derby win will it be “Lampard v Manchester City?  in round 5 and if Derby win that game will the organisers call on the team he played for in North America to play the next round? What is more eerie is that which ever cup Derby contest they always draw either Manchester United or Chelsea.  Bets are being taken that it will be on the telly, and why is it Derby are always the visitors and never the host?  Yes it is “definitely” a   FIX!


The Rams 1  Norwich City 1

This was a chance to put the Bolton loss into history and get back to giving home fans something to cheer, regretfully it did not mature to the way envisaged. The Rams began brightly enough with Nugent testing the Canaries goalkeeper with a surprise shot from the right wing, which was the only real highlight from the Rams during the first half. Norwich arrived at Pride Park unbeaten in five games and after about ten to fifteen minutes it became obvious why. They were very astute with their passing and running off the ball, this gave the Rams a lot to think about. Derby tried to emulate this type of game yet to no avail, Mount being the man to watch during the first forty five minutes, with Malone at left back on equal terms. Derby were fortunate not to be loosing by half time only because Carson was on his game and the Norwich forwards were sadly inept at the crucial minute.  The second half began where the first left off and the home defence was proving their worth. It was from another Norwich corner that one of the Canaries defenders ran in unmarked to meet the corner kick and plant the ball into the Derby goal. In essence they had worked hard for their reward. During the game the home crowd was silent hardly any chanting and no bouncing. The Rams showed their fighting spirit yet the Norwich defenders were the better for them until eight minutes to go a loose ball across the Norwich penalty area hit Bryson and from the rebound went into the Norwich goal. Then it was almost all Derby striving for the winner which with a little bit of luck Waghorn could have got yet the ball whizzed over the cross bar much to the chagrin of all the Derby followers. The game ended in a one one draw which meant Norwich retained their unbeaten run and Derby; well they did not loose.


The atmosphere at Pride Park for the beginning of any game is becoming abysmal. For example. The Heanor bus gets the fans to the stadium on average fifty minutes before the kick off. About forty five minuted prior to this there are hardly any fans in the ground and only the goal keepers are “warming up” The man on the microphone then announces the teams – to an empty stadium ! The two teams come out  to exercise and at the same time the lads who wave the flags at the entrance are ushered into the ground to stand and wait, no matter what the weather, Yet, who are they? What club do they represent?Also kicking a ball about are some more kids. Who are they? The noise begins to be blasted out of the sound system, some confused sort of “music” The teams disappear the music becomes more and more bizarre grossly obnoxious to the hearing and slowly the ground is perhaps three quarters full. Ten minutes before kick off the  crowd are asked to clap to the Steve Bloomer song, following this they blast out sirens followed by Boom Boom and then more  offensive noise which has the full effect of demoralisation, and dulls the morale of the crowd. Then they are expected to cheer the Rams team. The announcer has now woken up and tells the crowd who is playing, ending in a rallying cry of  “Come on you Rams” the whole sage is pathetic, yet the fans are expected to encourage the players immediately after being totally dulled by horrific unsavoury noise. Is it any wonder why the players find it hard to motivate themselves to a moronic crowd? If the whole pre-match programme was more up lifting and light hearted with popular music the whole atmosphere would be a major fillip to the players. Some one somewhere in Pride Park needs to realise this. Oh by the way have you noticed the announcer always calls the crowd “Pride Park”? What a plonker.

Queens Park Rangers 1  The Rams 1

There will be more games such as this when the Rams play a good game, take the lead yet fail to dominate enough to get a second goal.  Jack Marriot a player who many have called for to start a game did at last get the nod, and did himself proud. He slammed the ball into the onion bag with gusto to show the type of goal scorer he is. It took all the supporters by surprise because it is along time since a Ram player showed the way to score from an innocuous situation. This was the highlight of his performance and although he had another few chances they did not mature to a goal. The team as a whole showed up well yet there are lapses which will be eliminated as the season goes along. It is to be considered that with a new set up and new players the results and style of play is becoming clearer by each game. Just because the position in the league is not within the top six does not indicate the players are not competitive enough. This match at QPR when analysed will show that The Rams are equal to other Championship teams or even better than they show now. The goal they lost was from a bad decision by the referee, and whilst the Derby players bemoaned this they lost a bit of concentration and it cost them. Timori had every right to demonstrate his anger at the referee after QPR had scored. It is a human failure to allow emotions to control and it took a while for this to be diluted and for the Rams to get their game going again. It was only for the lack of a little more care that the game ended in a draw much to the relief of a certain Mr McClaren and the vexation of Mr Lampard.


First of all congratulations to Mason Mount for his call up to the England senior squad. It is a wonderful achievement for someone of his age and for the Ram supporters to be able to have a potential International wearing the Black and White of Derby County. Lets hope Mr. Lampard can sign him up permanently, because from a northeners’  point of view all that Chelsea can sign are foreign players. Looking into the future the Rams team as it is now is giving a good show of themselves with a steady improvement from every game. Maybe other teams have done better by gaining more points, as any pundit who watches the championship will agree, it is the quite teams that come good from January onwards. What has to be considered is if by good fortune Derby get promotion with this group of players then lose Mount and Wilson, who will take their place, and will this upset the balance of play with the end result being a similar situation as the last fiasco in the premiership?  Loan players may be there for the shop window and gain experience however if they then move back to their parent club ie Chelsea and Liverpool, will they be in the under 23’s or sat on the bench as a spectator? Would it not be more advantageous to be a first teamer in another club? Apparently from word off the grapevine Mount is very happy to be at Derby and enjoys the area and the club, so that is a plus factor.

Chelsea 3  The Rams  2

It is the Heanor Rams Quiz night on Thursday 8th November so here is question one. Which football team scored four goals in one game yet lost three two?  Any Ram fan will immediately shout, Derby County for they will have had every emotion known to man going through there anatomy for a ninety minute period when the Rams were at Stamford Bridge for this game. Every armchair pundit would have had his pencil and paper ready to tick off the goals credited to Chelsea thinking it would be just a matter of the hosts having to play for the allotted time then wait for the next cup round draw. This did not apply to the four thousand Ram fans standing in the stadium, the other twenty three thousand who may be sat in front of their telly and the players and staff of the club. The way the team begins a game now is exciting and so enjoyable to watch, yet the football hoodoo is always latent. An ordinary cross from the right wing came to Timori who misjudged it and the fate was an own goal. What a shame for the lad playing at his home ground and “scoring” against his team. However Derby have a man named Marriot who knows how to, and just loves to score goals. He showed his prowess when gathering a great pass from Huddleston simply blasted a low shot past the helpless Chelsea goalkeeper to even up the scores.  Rams fans were beginning to bounce and believe. The team were out classing this expensive squad called Chelsea, albeit the Blues did seem to have the potency without showing it. Then then hoodoo stuck again for the benefit of the Pensioners. Again a simple cross from the right hit Keogh and flew past the hapless Carson, giving the Blues a lead which they may just, and only just, deserved. However the Rams have a man named Mount who was showing his class at his parents home, playing against his parents, and from his ability to dribble past defenders he sent a super pass across the penalty area for Waghorn to put into the empty onion bag. Now the Rams fans were bouncing and not only that Chelsea were looking like Pensioners. Derby were playing at a better rate. As the game became more even and both sides trying to out wit each other Chelsea resorted to the premiership style of keep ball and just passed it around, maybe with panache and skill yet it was boring to watch. When they lost the ball the game lived up with Derby showing more determination to score, and their exploits into the Blues domain looked threatening. However the hoodoo struck and from an innocuous attempt at goal Chelsea scored “for the first time”.  The second half became a ball chasing game for Derby with the Pensioners just passing it about to brag about how good they can be, yet the Rams had the potency and eventually got the better of their opponents and it was just sheer bad luck they did not equalise. They ended the game on top and Chelsea were relieved to hear the final whistle. The Rams team never gave up, they showed class, skill, determination,, aggression and enthusiasm. Every Ram fan must applaud them and ensure they are at Pride Park to watch them beat Birmingham in the next home game.


There is nothing to be said that can give this Derby team enough praise. They went to Stamford Bridge with mixed thoughts yet must have been given such encouragement from the backroom staff that they were determined not to make themselves look inept and foolish.  It was billed “The return of Frank Lampard” not a game in the Caraboa Cup. The emphasis of the title was soon lost when Chelsea were gifted a goal by one of their own players, and all thoughts were, this will be the start of an avalanche of goals by Chelsea. This was not to be. The Rams are a more determined outfit than we have seen for ages. They do not accept set backs and allow emotions to get control. The attitude they give and the way they go about their play is exciting and a pleasure to watch. The last three games have been on live Tv and they have shown the country and opponents in the Championship they are here and are determined to be the best. It was obvious that Chelsea would not play their first eleven, yet the eleven they did put out out were no mugs. They had good football ability and showed it, yet their style is totally frustrating to watch. They simply pass the ball to each other as if it is a practice match. If Derby played that style the crowd would boo them, yet the premiership crowds are so steeped in it they begin to wake up when the ball gets near to the opponents penalty area. It is hoped that when Derby do enter the premiership they retain this exciting way and give the fans something to cheer and the opponents a lesson in how to play, and entertain, at the same time.  If there is any criticism over this game then the Referee is the first to come under the scrutiny. A blatant foul of a push in the back of Lawrence was not “seen” by the linesman standing a yard from the incident or by the referee, and from the Chelsea player winning the ball illegally he was able to send it in to the penalty area for a goal to be scored. Apparently this V A R system was in vogue, it was called upon when Waghorn scored to confirm it was legitimate, (Against Chelsea), yet when Keogh asked for it to be used against a Derby player the referee denied the request saying Lawrence was not in the field of play.  It has to work both ways, for both teams.  Or does it? The other point to make is the inability for Carson to kick a ball to land within the boundary of the fields marking. Mr Given, take him to one side and threaten him with expulsion if he continues this stupid act.

The Rams  3  Birmingham City 1

When the crowd were assembled and the players all lined up to start the game the expectations of the Rams fans was high. Forty five minutes later the expectations were deflated. They had just watched the worst performance of their team since they played Leeds United at the on set of the season. The only “high light” was the goal scored by the Blues after ten minutes. What was said in the dressing room at half time stayed in the dressing room yet the transformation in the second half by the Rams players was staggering. Within five minutes they had levelled the scores via Bennett determined to do so, then two minutes later they took the lead from a Wilson canny free kick which he fired between the post and the blues goalkeeper. The Rams were showing the prowess, as we have seen in recent games. The Blues had the blues and found it difficult to get playing as they can which had given them a run of six games unbeaten. Derby took control, and again along came the super Ram named Marriot to put the ball past the admonished Mr Camp for the Rams third goal, and his fourth in four games. It was so pleasing to see Holmes making his debut give a good display of his skills. To have to take the place of Mount who has had all the plaudits was a huge task. He did it with aplomb. At last the crowd were cheering the South stand was bouncing and normality had resumed at Pride Park. Why do they play so dormant and pathetic for forty five minutes especially at home then seem to come out with a complete change of heart for the second forty five is baffling. The team have a full week of rest, to reminisce and consider why before the visit of the other Midland team called Aston Villa on Saturday.


The Rams have to get themselves out of this silly rut of passing the ball across the back four. It is easy to write the script, Carson to Keogh, Keogh to Davis, Davis to Forsythe. Forsythe is shut down, he passes it back to Davis, who squares it to Keogh who stands still then passes it to Bogle who passes it back to Keogh who then decides to go forward and sends an errant pass forward. It is absolute bad play. In the first half almost eighty percent of the passes were backwards, even throw ins were sent back wards. Marriot Lawrence and Bennett must have stood wondering whether their reason for inclusion was just to make up eleven players in white. It seemed as if it was illegal to send a pass forward over the top of the Blues defence for the Rams forwards to chase and run for. Maybe route one is sometimes condemned by the coaches yet it has to be understood that it is effective and  maybe not to be played constantly, it is  a way of changing the system so as not to be doing the same ineffective play. The football game is to out wit the opposition, not to play a regimental system all time that the opposing team can read. Another failure is for the players being unable to keep the ball when they are facing their own goal. They do not have the ability to turn around with it and go to the opposition goal. Derby players have to pass it back to a full back or who ever they are facing. Other teams have this ability and show it, so why not the Rams. These are issues that other teams will pick up on and use to their advantage so the sooner they are expunged the better. It is not good to criticise the team who have achieved fourth spot in the league, however to retain this position or to improve on it this sort of play has to be recognised and stopped.

The Rams 0  Aston Villa  3

Although it was billed as two teams playing a game of football it had another connotation, Lampard verses Terry. Two old pals who were team mates at Chelsea now faced each other as opponents with eleven “pawns” each. Both knew how they wanted to play except Terry is only another pawn in the backroom at Villa whereas Lampard is the chief. Thus Terry passed his knowledge onto Mr Smith and it showed that Derby are a one system team with no flair and imagination whilst Villa played the Rams off the park using guile, determination and lots of aggression which Derby could not cope with. The weakness’s of the Rams shone through like lasers. Hudlestone when harassed is useless. Lawrence when fed up decides to give up. Keogh cannot decide what to do other than stand still with the ball at his feet pretending no one is available for a pass. so he give it  to Carson or Timori. Carson has yet to learn how to kick a ball and make it land to a team mate.  Many a time the Villa defence were stood on the halfway line with Marriot and Bennet waiting for a long ball over the top of the Villa defence to run on to. Yet the defenders chose to pitty patty passing either to a mid fielder who was covered or as previously mentioned back to the goal keeper who can only kick it into the crowd. This style of play has been critcised in this column many times yet it is still in vogue and the result from it was or should be an eye opener for Lampard. It was not pleasant to watch the Rams being hurt by over zealousness by Villa and pathetic refereeing, yet this is part and parcel of the Championship so Derby have to shape up. They seem to play as if they are winning three none all the time. Lawrence missed a sitter which can be done by even the best of players yet he never seems to want to redress his failure. Marriot did his utmost without any assistance from the midfield and Bennett once again succumb to an injury. Holmes looked lively until he had a nasty thwack and Forsythe hobbled of towards the end. It goes to show that other teams have worked Derby out all ready and if opponents show a determined way of playing the Rams will cede at once.


Derby have done well to have achieved the results they have during the last few games yet instead  of wanting to continue they seem to have the assumption that all they have to do is run out and they will be victors. This game proved this by their doleful attitude and reluctance to even try to better an Aston Villa side with a few notable players yet unable to string a run of good results together. The old flaws are still there. Static defenders, one static midfielder and on this occasion no follow up by the midfielder runners. When a pass went up to the forwards the Villa defenders won the header almost every time yet the second ball was collected by the Villa midfield not Derby’s. All that Hudleston could do was play hot potato, Not good enough, Forsythe has had his three good games now he has to rest for the next three. Lawrence has to keep the bench warm, he would do that job far better than being chosen to play. Keogh is an enigma. He either has to be told he is on the brink of joining Lawrence or get shaped up and show some positiviety and cut out the dilly dallying. How can you justify substituting a full back for a forward when the defenders are not giving the forwards the ball. The problem is not actually with the team completely, it is because Derby have a notable person at the helm so all teams want to beat them. Hence when the chosen eleven realise this it is up to them to show it is them that are the notable ones not the manager.

Sheffield Wednesday 1  The Rams  2

This was Black Friday weekend and The Rams took advantage of getting a cheap win at Hillsborough. For most of the ninety minutes it seemed as if they would capitulate and loose the one goal advantage they gave themselves from a fearsome shot from non other than Wilson off his deadly accurate left foot, and the super striker Marriot sneaking between two dormant Owl defenders to hit the onion bag for his seventh goal this season. The squad Lampard put out was dictated by illness to Bogle and a poor form and attitude of Lawrence. The choice of Wisdom at right back was poor wisdom by the manager yet alas there is no one else. Wisdom played his usual poor effort and on more than one occasion gave the chance to the Owls to grab a goal. “Jo Flo” tried his best and showed good intentions yet he is unfamiliar with the championship style and struggles a little. Keogh again stood with the ball at his feet remonstrating asking who wanted a pass and then sent it to a marked colleague, his all too common fault.  The man who won the plaudits was Mr Marriot. Not just for his goal it was because he showed good sense of harassment and where to be off the ball, and for being an ever willing runner for his mates. The Owls are a desperate team, who showed this by their aggressive attitude and hasty way of playing, which was a blessing for the Rams because had the men in blue stripes got their shooting boots on and their heading ability more accurate the Rams would not have pinched the three points. Huddleston was for once a steadying influence in mid field and to praise him further he was unlucky in the second half not to get a goal from a good effort that the Owls goalkeeper knocked over the bar. It is always nice to go to Dee Daa land and come away with a win. It may not have been a game to remember for its class yet at times teams have to suffer anguish and struggle to achieve the intended result. This game showed that this Rams team can defend at all costs and keep what we have until the referee blows the whistle for the last time.


Rams fans are familiar with their team starting a game at quarter pace and hanging on until half time, as seen against Aston Villa. Thus to go a goal down within the first fifteen minutes was no surprise owing to the apathetic attitude that some of the squad can demonstrate. However what the Rams do have in their rank are two players who fail to show apathy, namely Wilson and Marriot and whilst they do so then the other nine have to shape up to be the same. How is it they can have a few days off, rest a while, get fit mentally and physically yet cannot play with enthusiasm, and skill is an enigma. Some times it does a team a bit of good to be beaten easily for it rejuvenates the individual and collectively they rebound back to show it was just a blip. However in the game against Sheffield Wednesday they continued where they left off fourteen days ago, and were it not for two opportunity goals they could have been swamped with goals again. These to goals deflated the Owls who found it difficult to get back on equal terms not because Derby were dominant, because the Owls were to over eager. To play poor and win is how this game of football can be so strange. What the Derby squad need to do is take a peep at how the team from Heanor played on the same Saturday. All credit goes to this eleven for winning 11 – 0  Yes eleven none. It would be more than exciting to watch the Rams emulate this score. Perhaps it might just come on Wednesday night if only to upset that Judas who is now the Stoke City manager.  Mmmmmm

Stoke City  2  The Rams  1

This game did not need stoking up prior to the kick off. The atmosphere generated owing to the Judas in the managerial seat at the host club created it automatically. At the onset of the game it seemed equal, both teams wanting to dominate yet both teams being denied. The niggles from the players became a little too much and Ince showed his diving skills and his canny conning the referee was to much to abide. The Potters gained the advantage when the left winger Clucas manged to find space to put the ball past a despairing Carson. The persistent niggling continued and came to ahead when a really bad foul on Keogh by one of the Stoke players resulted in a red card. Many may argue this evened the game up, because Lampard picked Bryson and Johnson to play and neither of them gave any reason why they should wear the Derby shirt again. They were totally ineffective, showed no desire or commitment and never got into the game, When runaround headless Bryson did get a pass he immediately sent it back to a defender. Not once did he send any sort of forward pass for the Derby forwards. He wandered around leaving his station empty for the Stoke midfield to explore. Johnson did likewise. Lawrence was his usual insipid self although to his credit he did make Butland the Stoke goalkeeper work to stop two good shots. Marriot was marked out of the game yet again his endeavour was a credit. Malone was steady at left back and Bogle comes out with credit also. Johnson was substituted for Huddleston at half time, and from a foul just outside the penalty area Wilson put his trusted left foot behind a super free kick to make the score even. A superb goal yet again. From then on it seemed as if Derby now playing with a bit more energy would clinch the second goal. It was not to be. If any one was to rub the noses of the Rams in the dirt it had to be Thomas Ince. From a nondescript cross from Clucas on the left wing he stepped in front of Malone and put the ball past a diving Carson. From then on Stoke played nine in defence and thwarted all that a spiritless Derby tried in vain to penetrate. The rams continued to pas the ball in the same sequence for the rest of the game with the last hopeful pass being intercepted on every occasion. To sum it up Derby do have good players yet they have some awful players. What Lampard and his cohorts have to do is find eleven good players out of his bunch, get rid of the awful ones for they are dragging the better players back all the time.


It may be cruel to pick on certain players yet to be realistic certain players at Derby County are only there to pick up a steady wage packet. In any industry, no matter where, if an employee is not doing their job to their best ability then they will be looking at the works gate from the outside. In the industry we call football this does not apply.  The players who need to stand with Clough and Taylor outside the ground, are  Bryson who is completely out of it now. Rowett saw it and sent him to Cardiff, Warnock saw it and sent him back. Lampard has seen it now so time will tell as to how he deals with him. Johnson is another, to slow and to ineffective for the team containing Wilson,  Mount, Marriot, Bogle, Malone, Timori and Waghorn. Neither of them can play with the latter mentioned for they are out of the “old school” Hudleston is struggling as well and Keogh is striving to keep up.  Lawrence should be put up for sale. He lets his emotions control him which is wrong so he disappears in a game if he cannot beat his opponents or score a goal. He was dropped by Wales, dropped against Sheffield Wednesday then given a life line at Stoke which he abused. Maybe the young lads such as Holmes and “Flo JO are inexperienced with the championship yet it is the old story how can they get experience if they are not given a regular chance. Lampard is now finding his new job more complex and stressful than he realised. This becomes apparent when being interviewed. His deportment has subdued quite a lot. He has to settle down and be more forceful and less pally with his players. Another matter is the fans and the media. They are all baying for promotion which is wrong for the team or squad is not of a good enough standard.  Take a look at the Premiership league table and the two bottom clubs are two of last years promotion teams.  2007 saw Derby County in the very same situation. Do the baying fans and media want to see this again?