CHRIS STRIKE LEAVES HOWE CRY­ING FOUL

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Brind­ley To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

AR­GU­MENTS raged over how it came about, but there was no deny­ing the one mo­ment of high qual­ity that set­tled this or­di­nary game for pro­mo­tion-chas­ing Derby.

Ri­val bosses Steve McClaren and Ed­die Howe had very dif­fer­ent takes on Tommy El­ph­ick’s tackle on Will Hughes for the de­ci­sive 85th-minute free kick, curled glo­ri­ously be­yond the div­ing Lee Camp by Chris Martin.

Howe claimed his dom­i­nant skip­per had won the ball but McClaren in­sisted: “It was a free­kick three times over. We were wait­ing for that one mo­ment to win the game and it hap­pened.”

The Rams man­ager high­lighted the lux­ury at his dis­posal as he ad­mit­ted tak­ing an in­ter­val gam­ble by in­tro­duc­ing at­tack­minded play­ers in Si­mon Dawkins and Conor Sammon in a suc­cess­ful bid to re­verse Bournemouth’s first half supremacy.

“I took a risk; some days, it wouldn’t have paid off, here it did,” he ex­plained. “But I have the play­ers at this club to do that. It was a case of un­leash­ing play­ers who can win score goals and win games.

“Bournemouth were very good in the first half and 0-0 was a great score­line for us. I knew they had had their chance and we would have ours and that’s how it turned out.

“We’ve now got to test our­selves at Burn­ley next Satur­day. It’s a sim­i­lar game to go­ing to Le­ices­ter, but it won’t set­tle any­thing.”

Weight of sec­ond-half pres­sure won it for Derby al­though un­til Martin’s magic mo­ment it looked like a petu­lant yel­low card for dis­sent would be the near­est for­mer Ram Lee Camp came to real ac­tion.

It was harsh in­deed on Cher­ries skip­per Tommy El­ph­ick.The de­fender threw him­self in the way of spo­radic Derby ef­forts and went close to a first half goal him­self with a header dur­ing a fine per­sonal dis­play.

McClaren’s big move was vin­di­cated as Si­mon Dawkins added flair to Derby’s mid­field and Conor Sammon pro­vided a phys­i­cal threat to keep Bournemouth’s de­fend­ers busy.

Johnny Rus­sell was at the heart of Derby’s other bright­est mo­ments, pro­vid­ing skill and en­ergy on the flank and be­ing de­nied by a last gasp block af­ter Martin’s cross had eluded Camp in the sec­ond half.

There was just one tense mo­ment for Derby fans to en­dure af­ter the goal as vet­eran Ian Harte curled a free-kick of his own well over the bar with the fi­nal kick of the match.

The Cher­ries, how­ever, had the pick of the first 45 min­utes and a 20-yard snap shot from Matt Ritchie hit a post af­ter 16 min­utes be­fore the lively Lewis Grab­ban shot just wide from a sim­i­lar dis­tance.

Rams skip­per Richard Keogh came un­com­fort­ably close to scor­ing an own goal mid­way through the half amid con­fu­sion with Lee Grant and was left for dead on the touch­line by Grab­ban whose low shot drew a smart stop from Grant.

Cher­ries man­ager Ed­die Howe said: “Tommy’s an hon­est player and his re­ac­tion spoke vol- umes - he won the ball. So we feel hard done by but will have to live with that.

“We played re­ally well in the first half and should have been ahead.

“We cre­ated good chances but didn’t make the most of other promis­ing po­si­tions.

“In the sec­ond half we fought a good rear­guard ac­tion and I couldn’t see Derby scor­ing from open play.

“We’ve come up against Burn­ley, Le­ices­ter and Derby in re­cent weeks and haven’t been a mil­lion miles be­hind any of them – that should give us huge con­fi­dence for the im­por­tant games to come.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

SLIDE RULE: Derby’s Chris Martin cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing, in­set.

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