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.`

Comment

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.

Comment

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.

Comment

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.

Comment

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.

Comment

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.

Comment

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.

Comment

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.

Comment 

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.

Comment

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.

Comment

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.

Comment

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.

Comment

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.

Comment

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.

Comment

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?

The Rams 2  Swansea City 1

Harry Wilson scored two fantastic goals in this game. That is all that can be said for it. The Swans just swan around waiting for the ninety minutes to elapse and did nothing to make Derby get flustered. Had it not been for Harry Wilson and his super shooting this game would have been the most boring game at Pride Park this season. Is it a coincidence that when “runabout” Bryson was out of the team the results and performances were a delight. Is it a coincidence that when “Worsel Gummige” Lawrence was wanting to play the results and performance were a delight. The introduction of super striker Marriot made the results and performances a delight. Now that the Rams have just two of their opponents to play then they have played them all, and the deepest season of winter has beset, and they are in a respectable position in the league, the performances are tailing off. Swansea were all pussy footers, they do not fight for the ball, they have a continental manager whose philosophy is anti British football. Hence the Rams were drawn into this sort of play and did nothing to entertain the 26.000 who suffered watching them. If Mr lampard and his cohorts can talk this style of play up to sound good then alas they are becoming deluded. This game should have been a chance to run amok especially in the second half after an understanding of the game plan of Swansea. Instead as usual they decided to play the Pub  football style and allow a sub standard team look good in the last ten minutes. This apathy and under, inadequate players will be the demise of the league position and Derby will finish mid table.

Comment

Derby County put eleven names on the team sheet, and out of those eleven it has to  be surmised that at least three of them consider it a right their name appears. It matters not that they are not on top of their game and deserve to be named, for in essence this is not so. Mr Lampard brought new exciting players to this club to get rid of the old men who are past their sell by date. He will not start his new recruits on the excuse they need experience, yet will not give them experience. Derby fans will not moan if they watch eleven players giving a good account of themselves yet do not win all the time. They will moan and have the right do so if they pay the inflated entrance fee and watch players giving only a half hearted show and then loose the game. Sad to say this seems to be the situation. Huddleston cannot deal with opponents who hassle him. Bryson who has been criticised in this column regularly looks busy and does nothing, except look busy. It was no surprise to see him have too good excellent chances in the game against Swansea and send the ball into “row Z”; twice. It was shock on just one occasion he passed the ball forward. He just runs about as he did when he was an under 10 player, chasing the ball. Lawrence as said many times allows his emotions not his football to control his play. He drifts in and out of the game, and if he gets beat in a tackle gives up and will do nothing to retrieve his loss. Therefore it can be agreed that the eleven named on the team sheet equates to nine and a half. Media pundits keep railing on about the forth coming transfer window and who the Rams need to purchase. The simple answer is; sell the old men off, pull the excited and exciting players out of the under 23’s get them training with the new recruits all week and let them loose on the Saturday. Never mind promotion build a team of footballers who have the intention, desire, enthusiasm and determination to do well for themselves and Derby County. Then this time next year the eleven on the team sheet may equal “twelve” relatively speaking.

Agree? or disagree?  Air your view or counter what is written here. You are most welcome to do so. Keep it clean or it will be censored, and post to Heanorrams2017@gmail.com

Wigan Athletic  0   The Rams  1

Two aspects of this game were that the Rams scored first and did not concede. Other than that it was another game to tick off and forget. Although having said that there is one side of the game that has to be discussed which is the brutal, mardy type of footballers that ply their trade in this league. The first highlight was when our man Mr Wilson was on his way to have a goal scoring chance Naysmith of Wigan transgressed and was sent for the early bath. From this event Derby dominated and that wonder scoring machine Marriot did his usual and nodded a goal for the Rams. For the next twenty or so minutes they over whelmed Wigan yet failed to add to the one goal. From then on Mr Wilson was a marked man and when ever he was on the ball he was either intimidated or fouled. The attitude the Wigan players showed was at times nothing less than disgusting from a neutral view. However Derby players and their performance in the second half was nothing less than a semi capitulation. They showed no enthusiasm or determination. Just a case of playing out the forty five minutes and hope not to conceded. When analysed it could well be because of Wigan’s brutal, petty style of playing which Derby neutralised simply to keep them at bay as best they could so as not to give the Latics any excuse to influence the referee to dish out coloured cards, especially red ones. Wilson was taken off for his own safety and on came Flo Jo, yet he too was insipid. Lawrence showed again his apathy, and Bryson ran around doing no good yet berating other players for their mistakes. At least for a couple of hours the Rams were third in the league and finished the day in fourth spot.

Comment

This squad are only a good squad when they want to be a good squad. They have too many ups and downs during the ninety minutes and this is no good for the health of any ardent Ram fan. How is it when they play ten men they cannot make use of the advantage. Against Stoke they collapsed, and against Wigan they showed signs of doing the same again. There is something amiss with their collective motivation. Maybe the anger sustained within the opponents for the loss of a player inspires the remainder to try that little bit harder, change their game plan to counter the loss, yet for every force there is an equal and opposite reaction which the Rams fail to adopt. Surely they have individual knowledge of these games either playing with or without a full team so surely they can adopt a change of policy to dominate the opponents. Maybe they are up against the proverbial “parked bus”, yet instead of trying to go through the wall of players why not go round them or send the ball over them? Having goals scored against them deflates a team, so it is when they are at that weakest point to go for the jugular. The Rams fail in this quest and thus do themselves no justice. To continue this halfhearted approach will be their undoing. If they win promotion this sort of play will put them straight back into the Championship. Now talking of “Quest” did you know that the EFL football highlights is on Quest Freeview channel 37 on Saturday night, a point which was meant to be mentioned ages ago.

The Rams   0  Nottingham Forest  0

The home game that is always the highlight of the season filtered out into a goalless draw which was a big disappointment for both sets of fans. It was not in any sense a drab game there were the usual incidents such as when Lawrence (note he has lost the tag Worsel Gummage) was fouled in the penalty area yet the manic referee decided it was not a foul. Lawrence was also involved in another bad decision by the indifferent referee when he slid in to take the ball cleanly to which the crowd applauded only to hear the whistle blown for a misdemeanour and to receive a yellow card, which incensed the 31,000 crowd. Later on in the second half he was thwacked in an improper manner, and again the diddering referee considered it a proper challenge which ultimately will put Lawrence into the treatment room. Both goalkeepers kept their clean sheets and both did it in magnificent style, both making fantastic saves. All in all it was a fine and truly enjoyable game with both teams determined not to lose. keogh and Timori showed their acumen against a Reds forward line that knows how to score. Huddleston is now showing he is too erratic and static, Bryson likewise except he roams around again looking busy and achieving nothing. Wilson, and Marriot are class, so is Mount yet he is finding life on the field somewhat difficult now he has been on the national team list. Special mention for Bogle and Malone both showed what they can do by supporting the forwards and with a little more coaching they could be encouraged to be selfish and have a pop at scoring rather than sending a pass to a team mate which is invariably cut out by an opposition defender. When the final whistle was blown several of the Rams team dropped to the knees or lay comatose on the field for they had gone that extra mile in this game and truly deserved the accolade. Although the crowd may be disappointed they did not beat their arch rivals by goals, were it scored akin to a boxing match they won on points.

Comment

The media and others are asking why the Rams have or seem to have lost that fluent style they showed during October and November. If they considered the team selection they will note that when Bryson plays the team fails. This is because no one can play with him and so the fluency is not there. He hardly ever passes a ball forward to set the attack going, He is on the left for a throw in then on the right for a throw in, and he leaves his own patch vacant for the opposition to explore. Why Mr Lampard and Co cannot see this is an enigma. Hudleston is now to slow and to erratic for this team. He has good pace in front of him so he blasts the ball to hard and to far for the wingers or forwards to collect it.  He has lost his ability he once had. Wilson is better to be playing midfield where he can have just that second or more to compose himself to do his thing, the same with Mount. He is worked to a frenzy because Bryson is on his toes or he has gone missing when he is needed in his own patch as just mentioned. Bristol City will be the last team to be played before the fixtures revert to playing the twenty three teams again, so Mr Lampard needs to experiment somewhat and try changing the team back to where it was when the football played was fluent and clean. This means to put the players in their better places and rid those that are upsetting the style he wants to have his team play. Not many would have forecast that the team would be in fourth position in the league just before Christmas and so if Derby were to retain this place after the next twenty four games then utopia may be on the horizon.

The Rams 1  Bristol City  1

Santa clause did not bring any Christmas cheer to 26,000 Ram Fans this year, instead he must have overlooked this shambolic set of players for some good reason. It was as if the eleven who wore the white shirts had just left off from having a huge feast of turkey and Christmas pudding and found they were to moronic to play a game of football. Hudleston was in competition with a motorway road cone to see who could move the quicker. Keogh decided it was time to give the opposition a chance to score, and Nugent can recall he could score goals standing on his head; yet now given an open goal cannot score with his head. Mount carried the team for ninety minute with the good assistance from Waghorn who was getting his mojo back only to be pulled out of the game for no real reason except for a substitution to be made. The two full backs were put under pressure not from the opposition; it was the two central defenders who found that to pass the ball to a midfielder or forward was against the will of the management, for as soon as the full backs were given the ball by the two inept central defenders (who had left their football brain in their top coats in the dressing room) the opposition forwards were on to them because they knew exactly where the ball was going to go. They were given this clue from the same sequence of play the Rams showed about ten times within the first fifteen minutes.. Yet the Rams insisted playing this way for ninety minutes. Bizarre to say the least. The whole game was almost as bad as the previous game against Swansea, which asks the question why? Teams akin to Bristol should be demoralised by half time by the Rams who can, when they want to, show their acumen and better football ability. So why don’t they do it?

Comment

It was Christmas out side Pride Park, the Salvation Army were playing Christmas carols and almost all of the crowd were full of expectancy of a nice Christmas feast of good football and three points. There was no Christmas cheer inside Pride Park though. No Christmas music or enjoyable happy songs. Only shameful, cringe making, mortifying row spewing from the loud speaker system,  that gave the assembled persons a headache making them downbeat and discouraged. The docile microphone user is just as useless as well he is so lacking of communication skill he is an embarrassment. We are Ram fans. We are not Pride Park as he insists on addressing the crowd. When the management wake up and realise that the host of fans wanting to be entertained after paying extortionate entrance fees are compelled to have their eardrums blown out. If that were not bad enough they are then forced to watch a lack lustre team who because of the harangue thrust upon the crowd, they are not stimulated by a jollied up crowd. Were the music of such a nature that the majority of the watchers were familiar with, enjoyed it and sang along with it, then jollity this would pass into to the players and motivate them to play far better than they did against both Swansea and Bristol City.

To change the subject this is now the halfway period in the league fixtures. Thus to take stock of the situation is a good time. At the commencement of this season when Mr Lampard was appointed this column suggested that he would introduce Ram fans to “Chelsea Football” Well he has. It is “illegal” for the goal keeper to kick the ball out of his hands in the old fashioned way. There is no running with the ball into the opposition half; there is no ball skill in dribbling around an opponent. It is all pass square, pass back, or hope a ball kick forward lands in its intended spot. The game plan at Derby is now the same as watching boring flippy foreigners prancing about as they do in the Premier League. It is questionable if this football style will win any games in the Championship for it is not the league to play that type of game. As for promotion, this is doubtful as well for if they cannot overcome poor teams such as Bristol then how will they fare when they meet Sheffield Norwich, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Leeds. It is folly to bring in any new faces at this juncture in an effort to gain promotion. Take an example of Norwich who last season “struggled” while their manager showed patience to get them organised, now take a look at how that patience has worked and where they are now. Too many times it has occurred at Derby that a new chief is asked to win promotion with a dubious team. Two examples come to

Sheffield United 3 The Rams 1

This score line does not reflect the quality of the game. The Rams put on a standard of football the Blades just could not cope with. Yet their attacking and flair failed to get the goals that would have dulled the Blades Christmas. It was against the run of play that the Blades took the lead from Mr Sharp whose luck seems to work in his favour. However silly situations always seem to plague the Rams and the way Carson plays when he is called upon to distribute is abysmal. He stood with the ball at his feet for at least ten to twelve seconds, which seems a long time, then decides to send it direct to the opposition and within the same time lapse he is called upon to stop a goal attempt. Or he decides to kick the ball to the crowd. On another occasion he rolls it out to his team mate who is surrounded by a couple of the opposition. Bryson gets a pass when he is out on the right wing about three or four yards from the byline. So he sends the ball back to his defenders, and give away the chance his team mates have created. Why can he not do what his colleagues were waiting for and send the ball into the penalty area. Mount was running the game in the first half and Wisdom for once was doing his job correctly. In any game though the opposition read the situation so to ensure they get the initiative in the second forty five minutes all they needed to do was to shut down Mount and play on Wisdom, who it is well known is only a forty five minute player, and their system began to work. Apart from another absolute fantastic and terrific free kick from Wilson the second half in essence belonged to the Blades. This game was enjoyable to watch and the Rams did not disgrace themselves, yet it also showed up quite clearly where their weakness ‘s are.

Comment
In the good old days in Music Hall Theatre if an artiste’ was “dying” on stage a big shepherds crook would come out and drag the poor soul off by the neck. If only Mr Lampard could adopt the same. The first one from this exhibition at Bramall Lane would be Carson and the other Bryson. Both gave such a good display of how to stop your team mates from winning. It seems that this pair have become immortal and are the first names on the team sheet, and it is about time the eraser was employed. When other signed players sit on the bench and watch their stupid antics what goes through their minds? Hudleston was at last taken off for Evans to make his “second” debut. He did not do too badly yet it is the most difficult of situations to just step in and take control. He will grow into his role given the chance, as long as he is given a chance. Mount needs a similar type of player to play with him, not a Bryson type who passes the ball backwards then runs off as if he knows he will get the ball back, and he does not. Waghorn is being used out of his comfort zone yet he is a trier. Even Keogh showed some enterprise by going on a long run with the ball which was pleasing and exciting to a degree. If the Rams stay where they are in the league then they will have done well. If they come out of the top six at the end of the season it will be no great loss. Then Mr Lampard can get these weak situations sorted one way or another and hopefully it will be a season of 2019 /20 will be a season of success.

 

Norwich City 3 The Rams 4
The team called Derby County play in the colours of black and white yet it is any ones guess whether they will play a white good game or as we have witnessed a few days ago a black dreadful game. The latter was on show for thirty minutes at Carrow Road and doom and gloom were already on the faces of many a Ram fan. they were enduring a two goal loss. Then, it all started to become a little more white when Timori blasted the ball into the onion bag for his first goal for Derby. Then it became even more white when Mount emulated Timori and blasted the ball into the onion bag for the Rams second and equalising goal. Thus the first half was a game of two halves first the Canaries dominating then the Rams dominating, Now it was in every ones mind who would win the second half. As this half progressed neither team could gain the advantage until ten minutes before the end Norwich did themselves a favour and scored and the yellow and green supporters in the crowd were thinking they were to be jubilant, when without warning the lights went out on their celebrations. The referee took the players off whilst Norwich officials sought an electrician to put the lights back on. Twenty minutes later with a full compliment of lamps all glowing the game proceeded for the final ten minutes plus any stoppage time. Mr Lampard showed his true acumen at this juncture. He substituted players who had “gone cold” from the stoppage, with Nugent ready to run the stiff legged Norwich defenders ragged which was a fantastic ploy for within a couple of minutes the ageless centre forward had passed the ball across the six yard area where Flo Jo stood waiting and he duly obliged to stumble the ball into the goal to the ecstasy of all his team mates. The Rams had come from two none down, to two two, then on to three two down, to three three. Extra time was added and none of the crowd had any intention of leaving early., Every one was glued to the most exciting game to be played at Carrow Road for a good long time. Could the Canaries clinch the win or would the Rams be the victors. A long ball pass out of the Rams defence found super Jack Marriot who without any hesitation held of the challenge of the Norwich defenders. Time stood still. Will he beat the advancing goalkeeper? Silence fell for a split second. He did what he is exceptionally well known for. He scored the winning goal for the Rams. The contingent from Derby were incandescent with excitement. The Canaries not wanting to drop from their perch, showed they were determined not to loose and from a melee in the Rams penalty area the ball was stuck with venom, yet the cross bar denied them a goal and the relief was heard seventy miles away in the Derbyshire homeland. The biggest relief though came seconds later when the referee blew his whistle for the final time. The Rams had won this game and their victory was indeed a full brilliant white one.
Comment
For any one who may need first aid from watching or listening to games of this magnitude the defibrillator is available outside the old Fire Engine house in Heanor Market Place. It is a amazing that there was not a queue waiting to use it. At last Mr Lampard may have realised that his old men are not up to the style of play needed in the Championship if success is to be achieved as well as consistency. To drop Huddleston and give Evans his full starting debut was a brave decision and to drop Bryson was as they say a no brainer. Alas after thirty minutes it seemed as if his thinking was erratic and he was to pay heavily for his hopes. Carson did his worst on the odd occasion, and Keogh found difficulty determining white from yellow, yet the rest of the contingent showed they have the mettle to ignore the score, and endeavour to get back on even terms. Wisdom decided to play for ninety minutes and make only one error which led to a goal. So there were a few positives for forty five minutes. The next forty five was all positive and the concentration levels the determination, aggression and enthusiasm was highly delightful to witness. This game may be a one off, yet if the same can be emulated on a consistent basis then the points tally will increase, especially when playing Middlesbrough and Leeds. Wins like this one is a great fillip for the team and the club as a whole. It also sends a message out to the other twenty three teams. Beware Derby are on the prowl.

The Rams 1 Middlesbrough 1

Maybe quite a few Rams supporters strode into Pride Park suffering the after effects from the festivities fifteen hours previously. yet it is pleasing to report Mr Wilson who wears the number seven shirt for Derby County had no such malaise. He slammed the ball into the Boro goal within thirty seconds of the kick off, ensuring that all “thick heads” had been given the best medicine. Derby continued to play where they left off at Norwich yet slowly the brutal antics of the Boro players began to give them an advantage and the Rams found it awkward to deal with. Jack Marriot was dwarfed by the visitors defenders yet was defiant in his efforts to get the better of them. If his team mates had used a little more thought and sent him passes along the floor for him to use his pace to collect them then perhaps he would have been more potent. Boro employed six foot plus defenders who used their height and weight to out muscle the Rams forwards. The referee was not always the crowds favourite when he ignored thwacks to the Rams ankles and shins. Wilson was a marked man and twice he was dumped from nasty challenges. Marriot took a nasty tackle which deserved more than a yellow card and the wrath of the players and crowd. The second half ended with Boro playing the game in the Rams half for almost twenty to twenty five minutes. The second half started where the first one finished and Wilson realised that from his clout he could not continue. Mr Lampard played a joker on this occasion. Wilson was substituted by Huddleston, much to every ones annoyance. He played his usual dour game never came out of the back four and this gave Middlesbrough the best advantage in the midfield. The pace Wilson gives and his acumen was now missing from the midfield. Evans found it awkward to play the left midfield and consequently was substituted for Holmes and Waghorn was taken off for Nugent. Again a move which displeased the fans for Waghorn was showing good promise. Prior to this the Rams defence stood still from a canny centre from the left wing which landed plum on a Boro head who gratefully sent it into the goal. The game showed that the Rams players still have the determination to get a positive result and have a superior fitness. The problem is that just the odd two or three players do not have the acumen to beat brute strength and insist on sending high ball passes to forwards who were constantly beaten in the air by tall heavy defenders.
Comment
This game was lost when Huddleston was asked to play instead of Wilson. The Boro players could not cope with the skill of Wilson and Mount, with Evans beginning to show his ability. Flo Jo can do better. He seems to be timid and will not give his best. Waghorn does a lot of defending and aid to Bogle and sets up good crosses into the box. So why is he substituted when other players are only working on seventy five per cent? When speedy Wilson was injured the last player wanted was Huddleston who from past reports was contesting movement with a motorway road cone. With him there he left a void around the edge of the centre circle, which Boro exploited with grateful thanks. Then his style of short passing, any where did no good. Holmes showed that for a small player he has a big style and did well. Evans was established until Huddleston came on and he was moved to the left which should not have occurred. Middlebrough are not a footballing team they play a heavy brutal game and will not win many plaudits. Derby on the other hand have good footballers and can when they want to play and score the goals. What is lacking is the right timing and the right players to be substituted when injuries occur or tiredness is apparent. It does nothing to take off the “road runner Wilson” and replace him with a static road cone. Taking out Waghorn for Nugent, Mr Lampard use better judgement next time. It proves that playing “has beens'” will not mix with the younger style of keen players. Even Keogh will have to sharpen up somewhat and stop this silly square ball passing to Timori who passes it to Wisdom who seems to be lacking wisdom, panics and can only think of passing it back to Carson. Such play is stereo play that opposition pick up on at every occasion.

F A Cup round 3 The Rams 2 Southampton 2
This game will be remembered as the day that the halo fell off Saint Jack Marriot. As he lay there “comatose” inside the six yard area fully embarrassed by the miss of the season (so far) 17,000 onlookers were highly charged with aghast emotion. It was the other Saints in yellow that were fully relieved by the calamity. Prior to this last second incident the football match can be summed up in a simple manner. It was scrappy, without any real class of play expected from both sides. In fact were it not for Southampton being two goals to the good after about fifty minutes then there was nothing to report. They took the lead four minutes after the start thanks to Keogh being able to beat Roos to score an own goal. (A common event in cup games). During the first half Derby did try yet without any real conviction. Holmes who got his first start for the Rams excelled, so did Marriot, yet the giant Saints defenders were to solid for them. Four minutes into the second half and Southampton were two goals ahead and looking like they had won the game. Lampard and co. took an assessment of the situation. They considered that if they tweeked things around it may be for the better. They took Bird off, although he showed he has class, to put Nugent on and changed the formation to 4-4 -2. Within minutes Marriot had scored and made it 2-1. Three minutes later Lawrence woke up took a neat pass on the left wing ran it to the edge of the penalty area and scored a good goal to even the scores. At last the Ram supporters began to encourage their team. The Saints were being hassled yet they were defiant. Then came the last ten seconds when from a neat pass Marriot had only to kick the ball into an empty net, akin to his chance at Norwich, only far easier, and he blasted his kick into row JJ in the empty north stand. Ram fans collapsed in despair. Every one new he would score, yet he failed to do so. Not one fan chastised him for it after all he is still Saint Jack Marriot. So it is off to the south coast in ten days time. To sum it up, Southampton were to be kind a lot better than they were when Derby played them in a friendly at the onset of the season, yet so are Derby. If they take a few pointers with them in the replay then maybe, just maybe they will return successful.
Comment
Lampard decided to give the team a fresh look, alas it failed in one category. The errant midfield. Evans with Bird and Bryson were insipid. Mainly because Bryson will not keep to his station and allow his fellow players to do what they have to do. He gets in the way or disappears. Evans was solid and thoughtful yet Bird was a typical first starter who was suffering from beginners nerves, and played hot potato football at times. Worsel Gummage Lawrence was just that. He wants to be star man without doing anything to prove it. Keogh is slowly loosing his “street cred” by pretending that, as captain, he is invisible, and erring to many times and being to negative. Max Lowe showed improvement and if he stays fit will be a great asset. The team as a whole has a good future they are all young good players with a good attitude. However many supporters are baying for new faces in defence and a striker. This may come about yet when those who have the shirt are to good to replace then all that is wanted is a backup. It is those who are unable to give everything owing to age and mental diffidence that have to be replaced with footballers who do have the wanted characteristics. However the style of play is becoming more Chelsea every game. The square ball passing by Keogh to Timori to Lowe went on too many times or Keogh to Bogle then Bogle to Keogh and back to Roos, Keogh using the excuse there was no one to pass to. Marriot has been up against six foot defenders two weeks on the trot so they send a high ball pass to him. That is all well and good yet when the defender wins the header, where are the Derby midfielders to collect the second ball? They should push up ready for it instead they are stood staring allowing the opposition to gather these knock downs every time. These issues have to be eliminated then the Rams will become a more potent force. They have proved against a poor Premiership team they can match them now, so they have to improve and be more astute in certain quarters.
Leeds United 2 The Rams 0
The furore created by several factors prior to this game has taken away the enjoyment of two football teams try to out wit each other to gain the advantage. The silly episode of Bielsa admitting he used his Argentina tactics of spying; factor one, the three games Leeds had lost in December and January; factor two, and the old aged Clough and his forty four days as manager and the continued vendetta of unfriendly rivalry between the supporters; factor three. It was not assuaged by Mr Lampard sending out a bunch of players who would not be able to compete with a marauding Leeds outfit whose sole objective was to win at all costs, so as to please the Leeds manager whose persona emulates a drug addict coming out after a dose of the zombie drug. Many Rams fans may say this was an abject display by their team yet bear in mind this Leeds team is so hot and cold it all depends upon who they play, as to how they play. On the whole the Derby eleven did their best, yet when players who are in their learning years and playing Championship football for the first time are up against well drilled and experienced players, and are let down by their own experienced team mates it is from them the Derby lads have to learn and learn fast. However on the other hand Mr Lampard and co seem to put their faith in players at his disposal who are simply out of the standard necessary to combat the over zealous tactics the Leeds players are motivated to do. They knew or should have known from the home game how Leeds would play, yet on this occasion he did not put out the players capable of stopping them. The first goal Leeds scored is a prime example. Carson, forgot as a goalkeeper he is allowed to handle the ball so as a cross comes over, which is an easy catch he punches it away, and it lands at the feet of a 19 year old Leeds player. He is supposedly “closed down” by a supposedly experienced midfielder named Bryson, who instead of forcing him away from the Rams goal, encourages him to go towards it by standing in front instead of getting himself between the attacker and the goal. The Leeds young’un simply leaves him standing sends the ball across into the six yard area, the Rams defenders wait for it, and allow Roofe to slam the ball into the roof, of the net. The whole ten seconds of play by the Rams was abysmal, and it was created by the supposedly experienced players. So how can the “learners” be blamed for bad play? Other examples are so manifest it would need a biblical book to describe them, and in reality the loss was owing to the wrong players being chosen to combat what Lampard and co. knew was going to be “Alamo” at Elland Road.
Comment
For some reason, somehow Mr Lampard has ostracized players in preference to his own wanted signed players who have, or seemed to have, stopped getting better with each game.. Anya maybe was not a crowd favourite yet he gave all and was a Scottish international. He seemed to have the same enthusiasm of such as Wilson and Mount and Marriot, and he played better than such as Bryson and Flo Jo. and Huddleston. Why was Wisdom chosen against Bogle. If Wisdom plays as his name suggests, that’ll be the day. Johnson, as one punter remarked, can put bite into midfield, only when he wants to though. Waghorn has to get on bended knees to get a start then gets substituted or he gets ten minutes in a game as a substitute. He shows promise and gets involved. Lawrence has to have forty minutes rest every game and in between gets on the ball to have an innocuous try at goal then its back to bye bye’s. Marriot is forever having a go at all he can do yet he is up against defenders who have a foot in height start, plus two stone in weight, so for any high balls he is out jumped. However if the defender wins the header, where are our midfielders to gather the knock down? Bryson, has gone wandering, Mount is trying to find room to go for it, and Evans is standing watching. Thus the knock down falls to the opposition. Keogh decides it is time for him to either pass a square pass to Timori or to dead pan Carson who looks for his team mate covered by the opposition so he rolls the ball out to him. Or uses one of his favourite two options. Kick it into the crowd or, so hard it goes to the opposing goalkeeper. Whilst this can be seen regularly by on watchers in the crowd why is it not seen and countered by the team coaches and manager. To compare the antics of the Rams players to their opponents must be a favourite ploy of many of the Rams fans. The talk is never how good “so and so” was for the Rams it is always how good “what’s his name” is for the opposition We are now at the dreaded time of year, and it is well noted, that the players contracted to Derby County decide to go into their shells. Could this game against Leeds United be the advent of that period?
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F A Cup 3rd round replay Southampton 6 The Rams 7
The Flag draped across stadium seats says it all “Super Rams” is displayed for all to read, and in respect to this game it is in some ways a mundane statement. When analysed this performance in all aspects was a Magnificent Super Rams team, or squad really, when all the substitutions are added in. When they were loosing two goals to nil the Ram fans heads were drooping, the fate of doom was looming, the time and cost for the travelling fans was being costed as a loss, the (biased) commentators on the television were praising the Saints, yet having considered all this the eleven fellows in away grey shirts must have been thinking otherwise. Up comes a probability of a free kick from Mr Wilson and every Derby County follower must have said “I wonder if he can?” Well as we know he did and not only did it give the eleven a fillip, it demoralised the chaps wearing red. It had been against the odds on the night that the premiership team had taken the two goal lead for it was Derby who showed up to be the better team. That disgusting abhorrent decision by VAR to put Waghorn offside when Bryson had scored was distasteful, yet it did not deter the Rams one iota they continued to try to get the advantage over their opponents. The big question was, would the Rams come out for the second half sullied, they did not, yet Southampton decided they would be the team to visit Accrington Stanley in the fourth round. They began to dominate and got a two goal lead within fifteen minutes and it seemed their travel north was booked. Not so though. After Wilson had scored another “beauty” the Rams began to dominate and from a great pass from the right wing Nugent feigned to jump for it alas could not reach it this denied the defender and the ball was met by Waghon leaping like a salmon to pick which square of netting he was going to hit from an excellent header. Delirium erupted within the Derby County fraternity for the Rams had emulated the way the game was played out at Pride Park. Extra time came and the game became nervy for both sets of fans, and Lawrence was given two good opportunities to win the game and missed them, hence penalties had to force the result. In the past, against Manchester United, the penalties were excellent and they were just as good on this occasion. Redmond the mentor in both games sent the ball high and wide of Roos’s goal for the Saints and it was left to Captain Keogh to win the tie which he did with smooth aplomb. The Rams are off to Accrington Stanley, so they had better drink their milk before the tie, or else!
Comment
First of all the strength of the hearts of Ram supporters must be the best in the land for it needs to be if they have to witness games of this stature. It can be agreed that every player wearing the grey shirt put his heart and sole into this game determined to be the victors, only to find all their endeavour and good play had put them two goals down. However it was noticeable they were showing signs of wanting to give their supporters something to remember so when Wilson was given a chance to show his skill as akin to when they were at Old Trafford he did just that and gave every Ram fan something to cheer. The Saints were wobbling in defence and their forwards were potential goal scorers, who were up against the mighty Timori, aided by Bogle, Keogh and Malone then Roos. For Huddleston to be substituted for Lawrence lifted a few eyebrows, so all wondered why. Bogle the man of the moment in transfer talk was taken off for Holmes. Marriot who seemed to be hobbling a little was substituted for N(ooo)ugent Mason Bennet the wonder kid from Shirebrook (took over from Wilson) was given his chance to shine again and from all the changes the game still flowed in Derbys’ favour. It was another game to remember and every player for Derby has to be commended. In conclusion it may be argued that Southampton had a few first team players missing and this could be an excuse for their demise. On the other hand they are employed as premiership players and should show such and if they cannot, or will not, then they get what they deserve. Lastly where was those two Saintly saints interviewed at half time for their conclusions at full time? The commentators and the BBC bias was there for all to see when premiership teams are vied against lower opposition. They broadcast premiership football every Saturday night so when two premiership teams are drawn out to play each other in the FA cup that has to be a live broadcast. They dare not take their cameras to such places as the Crown Ground so that the lower division teams can get a bit of the finance they crave for. No wonder the F A cup has lost its excitement, the television companies have ruined it. Lastly, what sense is there in selling Bogle to the highest bidder when it is players of his ilk Derby need to grow a team that is capable of winning or getting to the premiership. If they sell off their potential assets they have to be replaced and in the past they have sold two to Burnley and one to Watford then brought in “old men” There is just no sense in this sort of business.
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Friday 18th January 2019
The media have announced that Max Lowe has returned to Aberdeen as a loan player, so that means there is only Malone as a fit left back. Then they announce that Ashley Cole is being considered as a stand in. Cole is 38 years old, and is a has been. So Derby in their usual fashion consider he will be an asset. Typical to send out a good young prospect to pull in and old man. Well he will be able to walk about with his zither with Huddleston, Ledley, Johnson with Bryson guiding them. If Bogle is sold on then both young full backs will be gone and a replacement will be need for him. Wisdom, (a facet that seems to be lacking in this management at present) will be the one to be ensconced.
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The Rams 2 Reading 1
All expectations of watching the heroes of the cup exploits do another demolition job on Reading were not denied when the Rams set off at a frenetic pace and were one goal up within three minutes curtesy of the little man Holmes. It was in every ones thoughts that from the fluent play the Rams were displaying that to go nap would be about par. Alas this was not to be. Eventually the Royals began to get even and silence the Derby crowd. and for the next forty or so minutes almost all the game became to and fro without either team showing dominance. That is until Mr Wilson decided it was about time the Rams got two goals and from a deflected shot at the goal the ball looped up and over the Royal goalkeeper and nestled inside the goal. The second half began with Reading who had not won away all season determined to run the Rams ragged and tire them out from their exploits three days earlier, and it began to show. Jack Marriot was only fifty percent of himself. Mount and Wilson also showed fatigue. The biggest let down was Huddleston. He played abysmal. He could not run, he was drawn out of position by the man he was to watch who pulled him all over the field and why Huddleston followed him is an enigma. The worst bit of play was his free kick just inside the Reading half which he dallied over so he passed it backwards, the opposition harassed Timori who could barley pass it to Malone and it was intercepted by Reading who said thank you very much and plonked it past a despairing Roos. Such play from an supposedly older wiser player was and is pathetic. This summed up the way the Rams played out the second half. Reading thankfully huffed and puffed without any real venom. One highlight was the introduction of Bennet who showed that he has the mettle to become a starter very soon. Waghorn also showed he has the ability when it is needed. The game ended in Derby’s favour yet it will not be a game to remember except for the three points.
Comment
This is a crucial period in the season. The weather is cold the players become jaded, they know what they have to do yet somehow the body will not let them. Jack Marriot has recently been up against brutal defenders, and he must be black and blue and mentally fatigued. This was apparent in the last game along with with Mount and Wilson. They need to rely on the more mentally and physically strong players such as Huddleston and Keogh. The latter showed tiredness after about sixty minutes yet Huddleston showed it after two minutes. His whole disposition during the game was shocking. This leads into why Lampard has to play the old pals act and ask Ashley Cole to join his squad. Maybe from what is said he is this, that and the other, however Championship football at his age will show just what he is capable of. Other teams will work at him and from that they will gain advantage. He has only played football to a standard of league one recently so to come back to play in the Championship will be overpowering him. Why, as mentioned in this column recently, do Derby insist on signing veterans and allowing young players to go else where. On the substitute bench against Reading were two sixteen year olds whose future must be hopeful for themselves and the club then they see the Manager bring in his mates. It must be depressing for them so what message does it send? If this be the situation then is it any wonder that as soon as another club comes knocking they want to go. They learn their trade at Derby hoping one day to play for their chosen club then realise they have their face pushed out for an old has been. The result from this is the club retain their Championship status for another season. The worn out message we hear at the onset of the next season is “This is our year, the Premiership beckons” Come January the realisation is the better players disappear to other clubs and in come the old un’s to prop up the league position. The script is always the same. No matter who is the manager.Accrington Stanley 0 The Rams 1
This looked like an easy game for the Rams until several factors are taken into account. Accrington Stanley were for years the brunt of “Musical jokes” yet in the last few seasons they have become more established and climbed the pyramid of leagues from being relegated from the football league and dropping into obscurity then fighting their way back and holding a top half position in league one. Ironically with the help of two Ram players on loan with them last season. Thus when the full compliment of a Rams team walked onto the field of play the whole scenario was one of trepidation. The pitch was far away as possible in condition to Pride Park. It was just above the level of a local parks pitch, so the Rams had to adapt quickly and play the pitch rather than play their usual game. Secondly The Owd’ Reds were accustomed to the surface and wanted to be the headlines in the Sunday papers, so from the onset it was a ding dong battle. maybe a bit over statement to record the game as a Sunday morning parks game yet to a degree or so it had that familiarity. The state of the pith came to the fore when the ball did not bounce and the judgement of this by the Rams platers was evident, especially when Waghorn had the opportunity and headed the ball down to the goal line only to se the ball flop into the soft earth and give the goalkeeper time to collect and stop what would have been a very good goal. The sticky surface did not suit Mount who pulled up with what maybe a recurring hamstring problem, and it was evident that it was doing no good to several players. However the Rams persisted and persisted and from a goal mouth melee Waghorn managed to get a foot on the ball and in delight watched it bounce into the onion bag to the ecstasy of the Derby County fans and players. Give The Owd’ Reds their due they kept on trying and gave the Rams a few scarey moments yet it is Derby who are in the draw for the fifth round.
Comment
The one factor which marred this game was the premiership referee. Within three minutes he showed the yellow card to an Accrington player for what he considered a nasty tackle. Why? It was obvious to the 5,000 on lookers this game was to be a scrap so all it warranted was a whisper in the players ear to be a bit less over keen. His judgement was not on a par with the lower division style of play instead he ruled it as if he was at Wembley. This became more obvious in the last twenty minutes when another not so blatant third division tackle was executed by the same player so he showed the red. How pathetic. Now the referee’s adrenalin was high so he began to show his pettiness by giving yellow cards out at will. This sort of refereeing gets under the skin of everyone. Premiership referees must not referee lower division teams they have no idea how these teams play. They are a bit more physical and clumsy than the poncey players in the premiership, yet these referees cannot adapt, and cannot have a simple chat to the players, instead they prefer to be heavy handed, spoil the game and put the players off from competing. It had to be a red card for Bogle he did transgress according to the rules yet all the other cards the referee showed were not warranted. Away from this game it seems that the FA cup is being under stated by foreign managers. The teams they choose to play are mainly the reserves and so when a lower division team draws a higher notable team at home the supporters flood in to watch yet they are denied seeing the players they have paid to see because of a foreign manager choosing his reserves. This was not so pre premiership days. The stories of how the fans sat in trees on walls hanging out of bedroom windows and finding any vantage parts to watch an FA cup game are numerous. Alas those days are left in the past, it was displeasing to see only three sides of the ground being used at Pride park for the visit of Southampton, so if by fate Derby draw Manchester United at home for the fifth round will the North stand be shut? This is doubtful.
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Preston North End 0 The Rams 0
There will be no challenges to the statement that this was a point earned by the eight players representing Derby County on a cold winters evening in Lancashire. Lawrence, Bryson and Evans were vacant. Waghorn was not fit so why was he chosen. Bryson could not be less interested and Lawrence should have asked to go to Huddersfield. Evans has not got the acumen and guile to play in the so called holding role. Were it not for “yes listen Keogh”, Timori, Roos,and Holmes plus a lot of assistance from a totally insipid Preston forward line the Rams would have walked away from Deepdale with heads stuck firmly between their legs. It seems they do not enjoy playing on television on a Friday night. Credit was earned by Keogh who for once showed his class, with only one bad pass to give the ball away yet the lifeless midfield apart from Wilson, and a similar forward line apart from “Noogent” who tried valiantly to create something, the remainder could have sat on the bench and left it to those who wanted to get on with it. Having railed about the team it has to be accepted that other teams are not really wanting to beat the Rams they are wanting to beat Frank Lampard. Yet if this is the case why is it that as soon as the opposition get the better of the Rams, the Rams begin to collapse too easily. Has the bogey man come in and reminded them it is February and the time of year when they loose the plot and begin to play below par for a few games? Injuries and suspensions apart, those who are told they are chosen to play have to have the self motivation, willingness, determination and enthusiasm to wear the shirt and do their utmost. Alas these personal attributes are grossly lax in those players who failed at Preston, on a cold frosty evening.
Comment
Old King and Cole are merry old souls, Who’ve signed for Derby County One’s an old Fox the other an old Pensioner, both need a cane or a zither for mobility
When Lampard came to Pride Park he knew the players had the tag of being the oldest in the Championship, so he declared to change all that and bring in younger feisty players. His intensions were good yet he has lost his way and the average age has changed, it has gone up a notch. There is an old Music Hall song whose lyrics are “Old soldiers never die, they just fade a way” A new verse has been written. “Old footballers never die, they sign for Derby County”. It is the opinion of many Ram fans he has signed these two for the sake of it and as an old pals act. Cole was everything good that a tongue could say, then out comes the truth, he is unfit for championship football. Well every one knew this except one person. Andy King has played in every division of the football league with the Foxes so why does he choose Derby? The problem is footballers think they are immortal and can sign for any club, stash the wages, and it matters not if they do well or do bad. Surely there must be a young enthusiastic lad somewhere in England who is wanting to play in higher class football, who will show he is willing to do well. Is it folly to send a young full back on loan then sign an oldie in his place who is not physically or even mentally fit? Lampard has to be reminded that if by sheer luck he gets promotion he has lost three of his best players for the next season, so he must find replacements. He has lost the chance this January so will he be able to get players of the same ilk or better for next season, or does he look to his old pals from Chelsea? Drogba!, Drogba! where for art thou Drogba?
The Rams 2 Hull City 0
If this game was asked for a feedback rating maybe it could be pushed up to three stars. Three, because Waghorn playing his favoured role, got it there. His willingness determination and aggression and marauding has to be equalled by his team mates. He got the goals to win the game because he wanted too. Other players contributed yet not to their full potential, Timori decided that this game was to be his first “off it” performance. He had one of those occasions when as much as he tried it would not happen. Wilson was quiet as well even for his noted free kicks his mojo was absent. Huddleston lumbered about doing his usual which to a degree or so was well managed yet he is so slow at times and this came to the fore on several occasions. Bryson was named on the team sheet yet did nothing of note. Credit has to go to Holmes, Keogh, Bogle and Malone who gave a good account and Bennet who substituted the insipid Flo Jo. Hull came to Pride Park riding on the crest of a wave from being in the bottom four in October to sitting three points behind the Rams in February. As much as they tried from being motivated by their over vocal and dancing trainer on the side lines the team were toothless in most departments which enabled the Rams firing on half power to get the win. Three points from every game is needed at this time of the season yet if the Rams fell into this lethargic attitude against better quality opponents or even teams such as Ipswich in the next game the points tally will be nil. How they were in the early part of the season to how they are now seems to be a backward step. Lampard may now be enjoying sleepless nights, the cause not being baby Patricia.
Comment
Mr Cole then Mr King were introduced to the Pride Park crowd in this game against Hull City. Both had a fairly good reception yet anyone looking around during the substitution would have noted that not every one was enthusiastic to applaud. The media response was underwhelming when the announcement was made when they were recruited which proves that only the management of the Derby County Football Club approved of the deals. In the last few seasons it seems that the noted players entering their twilight time have been snapped up by Derby with the hapless hope of a promotion, and even with a new man at the helm this manuscript is still being read. There is the opposite reaction though. These are two footballers who have enjoyed moments at the top of their profession alongside Lampard as it happens, so the three have lots of experience and knowledge that has to be given to up and coming players now enjoying success in the under 23’s, occasionally being named as substitutes for first team games, as well as assisting the first team players such as Bogle and Malone maybe Wilson, Marriot and Bennet to become more astute to bring success to the club and hopefully play top grade football for the Rams in the premiership. Were Lampard and his cohorts begin to scour the continent for players at the expense of home produce then why have Cole and King come to Derby? The F A have noted how many English players are used in the premiership in relation to foreign players, yet nothing can be done about it. If Derby was to get into that league Lampard could make the numbers up to about four or five of the teams manged by an English man, and could it follow that a high percentage of his players are from the British Isles as well?

 

Ipswich Town 1 The Rams 1
When the Rams visited Deepdale in mid Lancashire it was reported that the eight players gained a draw. The Rams visited Ipswich in the county of Suffolk this time it was none of the players that earned a draw. Apparently this was more than an under the moon performance which when analysed not one did anything to warrant a mention. Not one player could be rated higher than three out of ten. The game seemed within ninety seconds as if would be a goal feast for Derby after Lawrence scored, yet that was it, that was all they could do correct all the game so for the following ninety four minutes it was purgatory to watch. Ipswich, bottom of the league hardly won a game at home wanted to get three points sadly owing to their inability to play well they showed that their inability was far greater than Derby’s. Comments flew around that the team selection Mr Lampard chose was erratic by using King and Johnson in midfield, Wilson and Holmes being asked to play unfamiliar roles, and Waghorn who was an obvious target for the Ipswich defence to play the same as he did against Hull City, which was an obvious nonstarter. Lampard has played for several managers in his career, yet he seems to have gathered some of “The Tinkerman” ways in team selection. There is nothing more to be said about this game.
Comment
The result against Ipswich was a good result. I goes to prove that if the Rams cannot dominate a team bottom of the league then they are simply not good enough for any kind of promotion. It has been written several times in this column that there is a nucleus of players suitable for better football, yet they are let down to much by the apathetic attitude of others who are too inconsistent. There has to be a core of at least nine with the substitutes able to drop in and continue as if they were chosen to start. To constantly change faces and change positions, continuity is lost hence why they win one draw one loose one and so on. This result will bring a reality check to all those participating and if they fail to understand it the team will languish in the championship for ever and a day whist other clubs will steamroll over them and prosper. Every home game attracts a good crowd who come along to hopefully enjoy a good game and see them win. They also anticipate seeing a good exciting enjoyable performance. The same applies with the away crowd. The expense they incur balanced by the ineptitude of the players does not inspire an avid fan to seek another away ticket. The next game is against another premiership team, if the Rams decide to play as they did against Ipswich then the result could be more than an embarrassment.
Brighton and Hove Albion 2 The Rams 1
On arrival home from the football match the greeting is “Have you won” the answer is “No” ” Why” is asked “Because they played like two bob donkeys” That sums this game up in the vernacular yet it is so potent. Reading the last sentence of Comment for the Ipswich game and the forecast became reality. The team was set up incorrectly according to a host of fans. Lampard chose players who are out of form and played others out of position. His reliance on having beaten Manchester United and Southampton was not going to continue at the Amex with the players he chose to play, and all the sceptics were proved correct. The enthusiasm commitment and ability was left to only five players namely Roos, Bogle Keogh Timori and Wilson. The other six starters only made up the numbers. Bryson does not merit a mention he was pathetic and does not deserve another game for the Rams. Huddleston also might as well find a seat in the Toyota stand for the remaining games. Waghorn who has shown his acumen at centre forward was chucked out on the wing and could not get a kick. Nugent is past it and he too is ready for retirement. Holmes had the worst game he has ever played in which is a shame he has to wait before every game to see where he is put to play and is expected to do his job, is there any wonder he failed. Brighton set of to ensure they were not to be humbled. They had done there homework on these Derby players and were aware of how to play them They knew Wilson may be a threat so they “smashed” him on every occasion. The way the Rams played was abysmal. The back four albeit played football well their positional play has to be questioned. Hanging about three yards out of the penalty area then sending long passes up field was shameful. Not once did they use the distance to run the ball and send a shorter accurate pass. Lampard substituted Malone just to let Cole play (old pals act) in the second half at the expense of leaving Bryson and Huddleston to continue instead of putting Waghorn in the centre and maybe Bennet on the wing or even Marriot with Waghorn as forwards and going Four Two Four. This game showed the naivety of Lampards thinking and giving his favourites the shirt. What those sitting on the bench must have been thinking watching such a pitiful showing by their team mates can be imagined without any difficulty.
Comment
There would be no bets on how silent the bus would be on the M1 back to Derby carrying the Derby County fraternity. So how silent would the other buses be carrying those two thousand fans who rose from their slumber early in the morning to be at the Amex for the 12.30 kick off. If compensation was available them all the lot should claim. It was an insult by the Rams team to go out and capitulate so easily. Other teams were watching so when it comes to the league games they know now what to do to humiliate the players wearing white and black or what ever colour they decide to play in. That may be the shirt colour yet the attitude from too many of the Derby players is yellow. Lampard is now realising he has a set of footballers who think they are immortal and will be named for every game irrespective of whether they will represent the club with their full intentions. Those chosen to sit on the bench and watch must be aggrieved knowing that they can be much better than the chosen few. When Marriot came into the game the front row picked up markedly, he has been missed tremendously. If he remains fit at least that is one plus note. The midfield players have to be changed quickly. They were non existent at Brighton and in retrospect have been insipid for the last few games. Evans is not wise enough, King may be an answer that has to be seen. Maybe the Four Three Three formation needs to be changed to Four, Four, Two to accommodate Marriot and Waghorn on the front row and possibly Wilson, King, Johnson? and Bennet in the mid field. What ever Lampard decides he has to dismiss Bryson and Huddleston they are just out of it all together. As the league is developing the teams above have played more games than Derby, however they have the points, Derby have to earn them. If the standard of the way they played at the Amex is anything to go by then those potential points will not be got.

The Rams 0 Milwall 1
The Lions beat the Rams with out so much of a roar. When the team was announced and only the forward line was changed by the one insertion of Marriot for Nugent the sceptics knew that the “two bob donkeys” from the Brighton game could only do likewise again, and they were proven correct in their prognosis. The two inept football players who consider themselves automatic choice did their worst for the second time and gave the 24,000 fans everything possible to grouse about. Here is the script, or in football terms the game plan. here is an example of the “game plan” Roos rolls the ball to Timori and Bryson is standing all alone no one around him so Timori passes the ball to him. With the one thought in his dumb head he passes it back to Timori. Thanks says Timori. So he gives it back to Bryson who immediately gives it back with the consideration “I don’t want it”. Timori then in frustration kicks it up field to no one and the opposition have it and within seconds the Rams defence is stretched. All because of stupid silly inept play by one stupid inept silly”midfielder”. Another instance is if Bryson is omitted from the forward pass the ball lands at Huddlestons feet who thinks “Oh I know, I will send it up to the winger” So he does, well actually he does not. He passes it to some unsuspecting spectator sat in row JJ. Not satisfied to do this once he does it several times. The media suspect that Mr Lampard has tweaked the set up to play in a different formation, may be he has yet the end result was still the same. and it will remain the same until the day dawns that he is choosing from his squad of players personnel who are not good enough and will not, or refuse to play with the determination and enthusiasm needed for the club to prosper. There are players who give as much as they can yet can only give one hundred percent yet having to combat against stalwart opposing defenders by them selves must be heart breaking. There is no midfield ball carriers to set the attack in motion. There is no midfield to catch the second ball coming out of the opposition defence. There is no midfield to collect a pass turn and go to press the opposition and send that deadly pass to Waghorn or Marriot. The latter have no back up and it is becoming more and more obvious from this game and the last two games. The management have lost it. They are trying to revive a dead situation. They have resources and fail to use them. By allowing the same players to play the same way in the next few games will be farcical. If certain players are lacking then they have to be dropped. It has been suggested in this column several times. Maybe, just maybe it will come true, someday.
Comment
Mr Lampard and his cohorts have become blind to what the 24,000 fans watched at Pride Park on Wednesday. They were blind to what they watched at the Amex last Saturday, and they were blind to what they stood and watched at Ipswich a week ago. So why do they insist on giving the same players who are failures the shirt to play the next game? The play offs are just a dream, or as the song which was played at half time says “Living on a prayer” It will take more than a prayer to get the club into the play offs now. The rot has set in and it has to be addressed now to ensure that Derby have a team worthy of winning the Championship next season, entering the premiership and competing in the premiership. Lampard has played in the top league for almost all of his career and he has not got the bottle and acumen to play or choose players who are strong in body and spirit and capable of beating all opposition at any one time. He has pussy footers such as Huddleston, Flo Jo, and Lawrence. Others who are “Living on a prayer” the likes of Cole Bryson, Nugent and Johnson. Are these premiership quality? That is why they are still at Derby County dragging their money and only going through the motions. There are players in the under 23’s watch their senior colleagues performing like school boys at under 14 level wondering and probably thinking that they could do better given the opportunity, and wondering further if they ever will, or would it be to their advantage to take the chance to play elsewhere. It is now time for Lampard to trash all the past and to take stock of what is good and needed and to grasp the nettle. Be brave chuck out the dead wood, bring in young enthusiastic players to set the team up for next season. Never mind the flack from fans or media or league position. Just go for the future.

Nottingham Forest 1 The Rams 0
The result for this game was a foregone conclusion despite all the regular hype and The past results. P. F. A. is an acronym the Derby players have to study and study very hard. This game brought it to the fore once again. The three letters are related to the football game yet have a second meaning. Personal Football Ability. That is what they have to study and study hard. Every one in a white shirt is grossly lacking in comparison to their opponents. Two issues come to mind. Are they playing to instructions and are the instructions too difficult to follow? Or are they simply lacking in their own ability to be on a par with any team in the Championship. Mentally they are lacking, physically they are lacking, skillfully they are lacking, thinking they are lacking, personal football ability they are lacking. yet when it come to having a skin full of tattoos or growing a beard they are not lacking. It was of no surprise to hear Bryson was injured, ostensibly with a poorly ankle. Huddleston was chosen yet again to do what he always does and for doing it he earned a seat on the bench. King was not mentioned until he was injured. Timori when he wants to be good he is very, very good yet when he wants to be bad he is awful. At the city ground he was awful. Cole is a waste of time he is too static and negative. Bogle wants to try hard yet tries too hard and fails. Waghorn is wasted out on the wing he needs to be more involved in the game. Marriot is for ever doing his best yet all alone. Jo Flo seemed to get some thing to happen then disappeared. Wilson and Holmes were the only two players who ran around hoping to create something whilst the rest watched. Keogh was Keogh who runs with the ball for three yards, stops puts his foot on it looks up and then turns round to pass it to Roos. Hence why when The Reds got the ball they were in the Derby half in a flash and wanting to get a goal. Derby do to much passing the ball across their own half whilst the Reds stood watching and waiting for the inevitable stray pass from a Rams player. The Derby team are just a set of robots who are now programmed to play the same way no matter who is chosen. Their is no midfield talisman prepared to gather, run, draw the opposition, then pass the ball over the defenders instead of trying a stupid through pass, they do not have a forward available knowing what is about to happen and be ready for it. There is no understanding, no instant thinking. Just Poor Football Ability.
Comment
Social media was calling the last three games dross, a very apt description. Mr Lampard is finding his job more difficult than he envisaged. His silly recruiting three players no one else wanted proves he has almost lost the plot. His initial mandate was to rid the club of old, aged, sat on a lucrative weekly wage, footballers, his predecessors had bought in an effort to win what is called promotion. That was a false economy and Lampard has lowered himself straight into the same mire. Maybe the younger ones have not done what he wants yet to dismiss them will not help their improvement. Malone is an example. Maybe he is cavalier, yet to be dropped to watch an old player past his sell by date take his place and play so negatively is an effrontery. Huddleston is another. Surely their must be a central midfielder in the club who can do a better job than he does. All the time he stands with his back to the opposition goal. He cannot or will not tackle for the ball and he has this maligned consideration he is a super passer of the ball. The reality is he is also past his sell by date. King was no replacement for Bryson both are as ineffective as each other. If Lampard insists on playing the same useless players every game then unrest will creep in and apathy will reign, that is if it is not already in an embryonic state now. Television showed the players sat on the bench, not one showed any enthusiasm for the game, or wanted to give encouragement to those on the pitch. This body language paints a picture of unrest which can be easily understood. Management is a skill similar to an engineer or carpenter. There are so many facets to it and a manager has to be aware of all of them all of the time. There is no way a manager can be a pal and be a gaffer as well. The two are oil and water. Lampard will soon find that he is walking down the wrong touchline if he wants to be matey and a boss. The sooner he learns his new self appointed skill, the better. It was said that his appointment would bring the Chelsea way of playing a game, boring to watch with no real excitement, to Pride Park. Well it has, it is here, and whilst it is here the cynics will be for ever active.

 

Aston Villa 4 The Rams 0
The moment the team was announced the loudmouths lined up to shout their disapproval of Lampard’s choice. Had they held back their venom and thought why those chosen, were chosen, maybe they would realise his considerations. He has stood and watched a bunch of footballers he considered were the best of his bunch let themselves, Derby County, and the management, down. Hence his only recourse of action was to give those who sit on the bench a chance to prove themselves. Alas his decision backfired, yet he has learned a lot from this game more than he has from previous games. Aston Villa came to Pride Park with a mission, to beat (Lampard) Derby, and the same philosophy was enacted again at Villa Park. “Old boys verses old boys” yet the Rams wilted and showed no signs of any determination to be the better old boys. Cole was insipid, Mr Terry knew how to put him down and his ploy worked. Keogh was out run, by Abraham, Wisdom was devoid of wisdom. Timori is having a bad patch, which is a shame yet he will be a better player for doing so. Evans is just not at it at all. Bird, did as well as could be expected and with a lot more playing time will be an asset. Holmes had to carry Evans in the first half yet finished the game with credit. Flo Jo warrants no mention. Marriot if he was one foot taller and one stone heavier he would fit in well. Bennet is a trier yet to vulnerable to injuries, which is a sad situation for him. Carson should still be sat watching, Roos should be number one stopper. Even with substitutions the apathy did not change much. Whatever the result in goals the end result is that from this one game ruled consistently by Mr Grealish for the Villa, Lampard now knows which of his players can step up to the task of being a first teamer for next season. When he gets back to his office he can scrub out a few names and make a few phone calls in an effort to get players in with a far better calibre to make a team for next season. The loudmouths are bawling for the play off’s yet reasoning and realisation is over looked in their demands. This team would not get to the final, they are not good enough.
Comment
Carrying on from the match report, were this team able to finish sixth then they would play the team which finished third. This will be either Sheffield United or Norwich. Can anyone even dream of the Rams coming out the winners? Mr Lampard is learning his job right down at the grass roots, he stands watching his players train every day, Monday to Friday, yet each player knows his mates and knows how to beat them either by dribbling or a quick pass. So having watched this he decides that player will be chosen. It is spoken several times about such and such a player has done well in training, then fails on match days. That player should be drawn “over the coals” and told with out reservation to sharpen up or face the consequences. For an example when Grealish gathered the ball about five yards outside his own penalty area he was facing his own goal, and was forced to keep the ball at his feet whilst going to wards his own goal. He slyly passed the ball to his right back who passed it up field. Consider any Derby player in a similar situation. One pass to the goal keeper, hot potato football. This is a prime example of the lack of ability within the Derby squad. The players Derby use are robotic and can only play one way. Wilson may be criticised for not doing enough. Consider why, when he watches inept, unskilled football being played and weighs this up against his coaching at Liverpool then it is understood why he cannot wait for the season to end so that he can say farewell. Mount may be injured yet it is taking a long time to heal, there could be a reason for this. When the final whistle blows at the final game of the season there should be a mass exodus out of Pride Park, and this does not refer to the crowd. Mr Lampard knows he has inherited a poor standard of players, which has done way beyond what he expected. It is no disgrace to finish outside the playoff’s so that he can begin almost immediately sorting out what is to be kept and what has to be replaced for 2019 / 20 season.

The Rams 2 Wigan Athletic 1
For the first twenty five minutes of this game all the action worth watching was Mr Cook and his assistant cavorting and bawling inside and outside their technical area. They were doing so to encourage eleven footballers wearing blue shirts to be dominant, defend and defiant against a Rams team who were going through the motions yet achieving very little, owing to silly positional, ineffective thinking and silly passing. The Rams gave the ball away to allow two Latics to descend into the Derby half against one Ram defender with the inevitable result giving a delirious Mr Cook and his cohorts an ecstatic few moments. Prior to this the crowd were encouraging the Rams, however to no avail. The game became frenetic with neither side able to put more than three passes together on a consistent basis. Malone was the worst for bad positional, bad thinking and hesitation. Carson could not make up his mind whether to kick the ball into the crowd, roll it out to achieve nothing of construction or pass it directly to a Latic. Huddleston forgets he is supposed to pass it to a fellow team mate in a white shirt, and Timori was still out of form and hesitates long enough to make silly errors. Poor Jack Marriot had a towering defender to play against who simply bullied him off the ball, so passes to him were always in the air from inept team mates. From the goal being scored the Latics began the football gamesmanship of time wasting and pretence injury, with the aid of a dumb referee, encouraged by a similar mindless pair of lines men. The second half was a rerun of the first half yet the Rams did seem to have the edge. Lampard took of the lifeless Flo Jo, for Bennet and Wilson (who was kicked in every department of his anatomy) was replaced by Holmes. It did not seem to make an awful lot of difference until a chance pass to Bennet who spun round and placed an unstoppable ball into the Latics net. This seemed to wake up the game yet Wigan still tried and had a few chances which they wasted. The Rams pressed a little and from a pin pong situation inside the Latics penalty area Malone was there to put the ball into the situation the 23,000 spectators (minus a few from Wigan) had paid there money to see. Now the Rams seemed to quieten down and showed a bit more maturity in their game for the last five or six minutes. All in all not a game to be memorised, yet it is three points.

Comment
The media are at it again. Just because a football team named Chelsea are not top of the league and have lost a few games they speculate on the club changing the manager once again, and who should they speculate on being the replacement? Mr Lampard. The football writers are total balmy. Lampard has not had chance to change his socks from his last full game of football to becoming a man in charge at Pride park, yet they want him to take the poison chalice. Lampard is intelligent and wise enough surely to know that he is more stable at Derby than to be in a wobbly position at his favourite club. He has a lot to learn and in many ways he is doing so with the encouragement of a super fan base, an understanding higher management, coaches willing to give their assistance to a bunch of footballers who are much better than they have shown to be of late. Surely he knows where the weakness’s are, surely he knows who is to be ousted and who is to be kept. Surely he knows that his best players may make it in the premiership yet the lower ranked players will struggle. He has to take into consideration the fortunes of Fulham as an example. They changed the manager after a poor series of losses in the premiership, although they took the Championship by storm. So they put the man who won the Premiership in top spot, only to sack him. The obvious reason is the players cannot cope in the premiership. Cardiff is another club who did well in the championship yet err in the premiership,, and the one club who has lost their status owing to silly transfers of foreign players who cannot cope is Huddersfield. If Lampard is to take Derby into the premiership just to satisfy Mr Morris (so that he can recoup a few quid) then he knows he has to have a team able to cope in the fashion that Wolves have. In 2007 Billy Davis got promotion, he knew he had poor quality, he jumped before being pushed, the same scenario could be played out again. Is this is what Mel Morris wants?

The Rams 1   Sheffield Wednesday  1
Westwood (w)escues Wednesday! This must rate as one of the more enjoyable games played at Pride park this season. At last, the Rams were seeing to be wanting to win the game and played with enthusiasm and determination, and at last the team chosen to do this met with the approval of the majority of the Rams fans. From the onset the game was played in the Owls half with the occasional foray into the Rams half. It took ten minutes from a Holmes corner kick for the ball to be nodded across the six yard box where Johnson was waiting to nod it into the onion bag. From then on the Rams were playing some direct football yet this Wednesday team have the potential to bite back. Mason Bennet was showing very well in his first start for ages sadly his hoodoo came back. He had to be substituted and to the displeasure of the crowd Flo Jo was to take his place. The game went to and fro up to half time although Derby seemed the more likely to score, Wednesday also had good chances and failed. Just after half time when the Owls must have had their ears bent by Mr Bruce they equalised from a corner in similar style to the Rams goal. From this the owls showed they wanted to go on and win and gave the Rams some anxious moments, however with Bogle having an excellent game and Malone showing how he can play the Derby lot took command. This was when Westwood in the Wednesday goal was called upon to deny several good shots sent in by a very excited Rams team wanting to win. The game ended in a draw yet the plus point to mention was the way the Rams showed at last an assertion which with a little more culture they would have won this game. It was a far, far better showing than all the last four of five games put together.

Comment

While praise can be given to the Rams team for giving the fans something to get excited about there were times in their play when the silly things which need to be eliminated always come to the fore. The most notable is the stupid free kicks that Huddleston plays. A short pass to a team mate who has an opponent at his side, or when the forwards are expecting a nice pass he gives it to a defender. Carson; he still insists on rolling it out to the centre midfielder again covered by an opponent or he kicks it into the crowd or to no man’s land. Keogh will at times go on a run which is fine, other times he dwells on the ball then sends a square pass which the opposition know he will. Malone has to be quicker with his throw ins. Flo jo is absolutely out of it, if he gets possession and looses it he stands watching and will not attempt to retrieve it. His contribution in comparison to any other team mate is about three percent. This team is lacking an athletic centre midfielder, who is capable of winning the second ball from knock downs from either his own centre forward or from the opposition defenders. Huddleston plonks himself in the back four for eighty percent of the game. There were times when he sent the ball forwards, to a back four defender. From goal kicks the only person in mid field on numerous occasions is the referee. Huddleston stands about a yard forward of Keogh. Thus the ball has to go to the opposition every time. It is apparent that the defender Marriot faces, (or should that be the defenders chest) is always a foot taller and two stone heavier, so the pass sent to him is skied, instead of being sent wide for his pace to beat the defender. All simple stuff which Lampard and his cohorts watch being done week in, week out yet why is the coaching not having these mistakes eliminated? One last mention for Wilson, Again he was kicked on every bone in his body yet he gave one hundred percent all the time, yet he must hurt so much he can only perform to seventy five percent of his own ability.

The Rams 0 Stoke City 0
A most entertaining game at Pride Park and it was a game the Rams should have won for all in all they showed to be the better team. Once again as it was in the last game the goal keeper denied all attempts by the Rams to score that vital goal which would have eliminated the semi frantic style of play the Rams seem to have fallen into now they have shed that lethargic style they had in February. Huddleston had a super shot at goal which was unique for it has taken only thirty odd games and seven minutes for him to do so. Johnson was back to how he can play, it reminds the older generation who have watched football for years that at this time of the season players tend to improve because the retain list is being compiled. Waghorn and Lawrence were a menace to the Stoke defenders yet again no finishing power, and Wilson has lost his mojo from free kicks and set pieces, yet does well winning the ball and setting the attack in motion. Every player deserves merit for the effort and commitment. If there is a complaint it is the silly square passing across their own half which Keogh and Timori insist they have to do. The opposition are spectators and allow this to be performed whilst they hold either one or three points during the game. At times Stoke were very physical which culminated in two yellow cards with the last one just outside the penalty area much to the chagrin of the twenty five thousand spectators. Both teams changed their formation to combat each other yet the crowd were on edge right up to the last whistle. Alas it is four points lost from the last two home games although the enjoyment of watching Derby County has at long last come to the fore albeit towards the end of the season.

Comment
It has been hinted several times here that Lampard has to groom players from the under twenty three’s ready for next season, and maybe he has read this column, for he seems to be doing just that. The media have suggested that the under twenty three’s cannot cope with the large crowds watching and the style of play in the championship. There are players on the Rams books out on loan at various lower division clubs and it is mentioned that their development may not be to the standard needed for they are playing league one football. This is tosh. Where did Jack Marriot come from. If players are sent out on loan it is for a good reason, which is to get the experience and understand the mental and physical side of the game, then come back to Derby a better player from the games they have played on Saturdays and Tuesdays and show they have the hunger to do well. Bogle is a fine example. If there are four or five with the same attitude as he has then it is the home produced players that Mr Lampard has to encourage instead of buying players whose only commitment is to watch their bank balance increase per month. In the past Derby have spent silly money and suffered for it. There are several players still on the books who have not shown this season yet are still paid a nice sum of money per month by Derby County. When these have gone and the younger lads take their positions then Derby County will be the club the football world will be watching and talking about. The academy is doing a fabulous job for the “reserves” are topping the leagues in which they play which proves those players want to do well for Derby. So why not give them the chance. The old saying is still relevant, if they are good enough they are old enough.The Rams 6 Rotherham United 1
Hooray for 30th March 2019, football returned to pride Park after a seventeen day gestation period, and what a treat the twenty seven thousand hungry fans were given. It seemed that Mr Lampard had decided to chose the correct personell to start the end of season run in with a squad capable of giving the Ram fans entertainment, and so they did. Rotherham were overrun from the first whistle and before Mason Mount was upended inside the penalty area Derby had several chances to get a goal. From the expert penalty taken by Waghorn the flood gates opened up and it was all one way traffic into the Rotherham area. It was a revelation to see Derby midfield being dominant with Johnson showing his full potential and being in the right place to nod in the second goal for the Rams. With Waghorn, Holmes and at last Lawrence playing at their best Rotherham just could not cope so it was with delight that from a cross from the right Waghorn was there to nod in Derby’s third goal. A mention must be given to the back four especially Timori, who from one wags remark when Timori beat the running of a Rotherham forward, he was in such praise he spouted “he (Timori) was five yards behind him when they set off yet he was five minutes early when he got to the ball” Such was the enthusiasm and determination of every Ram on the field. All the talk at half time was; would the Rams settle for three or go for more goals. It soon became evident the answer was they were going for goals. Mason Mount playing as well as he could from having a nasty injury set back came running in to meet a tidy placed cross from the right to smash the ball into the onion bag for number four. Still the Rams kept on the offensive yet it came as a surprise for Rotherham to pinch a gaol from a perfect set corner piece. The tall Millers centre half beating the static Rams defence to blast the ball past a shocked Roos into the goal. Usually such a set back would deter the Rams, yet for once it had no effect. They maintained their offensive and when a badly aimed header from Mount was met by Holmes to deflect the ball into the net the crowd were cheering the fifth goal. However credit has to go to Rotherham they seemed to keep their heads and did not show any aggression. The sixth goal came when the ball was in the Millers penalty area a foul was committed on Lawrence and up stepped Waghorn to score, and get his hat trick. It was an enjoyable game because for the first time Derby scored six goals at Pride Park, and a mention for the referee. Maybe as a referee he gave dubious decisions yet he was fair and for once no yellow or red cards were shown. Finally, it is always a happy crowd when the Rams play well and this inspires enjoyable quips. Recall when Timori won the race to the ball, the south stand chanted to everyone’s amusement “you cannot beat Timori, you cannot beat Timori” yet the funniest came when the Rams were five one up. A voice from nowhere shouted with true encouragement “COME ON DERBY, YOU CAN WIN THIS”

Comment
All the talk seems to refer to the play offs. The fixtures do not go in their favour with five games away and three games at home. If the play off’s are achieved it will be by sheer good luck and the other results going in the Rams favour as for example Middlesbrough loosing to Norwich, and Preston being beaten. The sixth plays the third, and as stated in previous Comment columns this could result in the Rams facing either Leeds or Sheffield United. Leeds seem to be riding their luck a little and Sheffield had a wobble and lost to Bristol City who could be the main threat to the Rams, although the Robins have a reputation for failing at the last hurdle. There is also the to be resolved problem of Bolton Wanderers who if it all goes pear shaped for them and they lose the court case the ramifications will create all sorts of trouble for the teams above Derby. Thus the coming weeks will be of enormous interest to a lot of teams. When Derby competed in the Premiership they had the distinction of being relegated in March, the first club to do so. At last they now share that unwanted accolade with Huddersfield. Yet what is concerning is, if the Rams are successful and win a place in the premiership are they good enough to compete and stay there, or do a repeat performance. Arguments say yes, for they beat Manchester United and Southhampton, yet remember they were abysmal against Brighton, and all three teams played “reserves” Consider Fulham and Cardiff, both are struggling yet seemed good enough for the top league when winning promotion from the Championship. Can the Rams emulate Wolves? Realism is paramount. What about the players Derby have on loan and those that are out on loan? When these are all evened out will the out on loan players be sold or kept. Will those on loan go back to the parent clubs or be kept on loan, or bought? Who wants to be a Football Manager at Derby County? Add all this to the deliberations Mr Morris is sorting out over ownership or investment. then yes, who wants the managers job? All that can be said at the moment is “Stick in there Frank, we are all behind you, Aye, and keep thee pecker up lad!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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