RAMS TRAMPLE SLOPPY TERRIERS
All too easy for McClaren
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.”
LEVELLER: Johnny Russell scores for Derby SPOT ON: Chris Martin scores with a penalty to give Derby a 3-1 lead
STAR MAN GEORG