All too easy for McClaren

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

THREE mo­ments de­cided this match: two send­ing offs and one almighty goal­keep­ing howler.

A trip to a side go­ing for pro­mo­tion is hard enough as it is but Hud­der­s­field can be dis­ap­pointed with how they gifted three points to a con­fi­dent Derby side.

With the scores at 1-1 two min­utes be­fore the break, Joel Lynch hurled down Patrick Bam­ford on the touch­line and was dis­missed.

Goal­keeper Alex Smithies then some­how man­aged to drop a Craig Forsyth cross into his own net five min­utes af­ter half-time be­fore Peter Clarke was sent off for con­ced­ing a penalty six min­utes later.

It was a ninth game with­out vic­tory for Hud­der­s­field as a re­sult with Derby not need­ing to get out of sec­ond gear.

“Do I feel hard done by? I think the play­ers do,” said Ter­ri­ers man­ager Mark Robins. “I think the first book­ing for Joel was harsh but the sec­ond one was prob­a­bly right.

“The sec­ond send­ing off was dif­fi­cult as I've not seen the re­play. The play­ers think he has gone down a lit­tle bit easy.

“The game was over then. We have to take the pos­i­tives from the first half.

“I'm not go­ing to get my­self in any hot wa­ter as we are not able to talk about any­one.

“It was an im­pos­si­ble task but we did well to keep it down.

“We have to move on to the next four games.

“It was a tough one for Alex to take. I don't know what else to say. He's dis­ap­pointed. He's a top, top young man and will bounce back from it.”

Derby are all but in the play­offs hav­ing gone 11 points clear of sev­enth-placed Brighton with just four games left. Yet, Steve McClaren be­lieved that it was the Rams’ workrate that was the main rea­son for the Hud­der­s­field mis­takes.

“We say to the play­ers if you play at a high tempo, op­po­nents are go­ing to make mis­takes and that is what hap­pened,” he said.

“I was lit­tle wor­ried be­fore the game as it was a third game in the week.

“But there was a good fo­cus about us. Even though we went a goal down we con­tin­ued to press and play our foot­ball and cause their er­rors.

“It's good we're putting on a lot of pres­sure. It was job done, six points in a week.”

Hud­der­s­field had be­lied their poor form to cause Derby an early scare with Nahki Wells scor­ing his 21st of the cam­paign 14 min­utes in, fir­ing in from Danny Ward’s cross.

Wells should have had a sec­ond mo­ments later, rac­ing onto an er­ror by Richard Keogh with Lee Grant mak­ing a fine save.

But that brought Derby into life with Johnny Rus­sell netting a su­perb equaliser with a deft fin­ish on 28 min­utes from a de­light­ful through ball by the im­pres­sive Ge­orge Thorne.

Then came the mad­ness. Lynch’s stu­pid­ity led Hud­der­s­field into a mo­ment they were never likely to come out the other side of.

Smithies’ enor­mous howler en­sured there would be no way back be­fore Will Hughes was brought down by Clarke with ref­eree Dar­ren Dead­man hav­ing no choice but to draw an­other red card.

Martin’s 21st of the sea­son made it 3-1 and only sev­eral good saves from Smithies, re­deem­ing him­self some­what, kept the score down.

Derby can still win pro­mo­tion au­to­mat­i­cally if they win all four re­main­ing games and Burn­ley fal­ter.

“All I know is when you get to pro­mo­tion, get­ting over the line is very dif­fi­cult,” added McClaren. “Burn­ley need two wins from four games and if we needed two wins from four games you can get a lit­tle ner­vous.

“We can do noth­ing, all we can do is win our four games.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

LEV­ELLER: Johnny Rus­sell scores for Derby SPOT ON: Chris Martin scores with a penalty to give Derby a 3-1 lead



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