RAMS’ RAID FOR NEW HERO INCE

Hull man nets two as Derby bag four

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Nick Clowes

STEVE McClaren hailed a ma­jor coup as new sign­ing Tom Ince crowned a stunning de­but with his first league goals in al­most a year to help high-fly­ing Derby sweep aside Bolton Wan­der­ers.

The 23-year-old, who joined the Rams on loan from Pre­mier League Hull City on trans­fer dead­line day, im­me­di­ately en­deared him­self to the Derby faith­ful with a su­perb free-kick to open the scor­ing.

Ince, who had not scored in the league since netting for Crys­tal Palace in the top-flight on Fe­bru­ary 8 last year, then wrapped up the points with his sec­ond two min­utes af­ter the in­ter­val.

And Rams head coach McClaren, who also signed Jesse Lin­gard on loan from Manch­ester United on dead­line day, said: “It looked like he’d played in our team all sea­son – he’s set­tled in so well.

“In gen­eral, I was im­pressed with Tom’s move­ment. He’s slot­ted into our team, played well in train­ing and it’s a credit to the club that they have got him in.

“We’ve en­joyed train­ing this week with Tom and also Jesse. Tom wants to score goals, he can han­dle the ball, and it’s a great de­but for him.”

Ire­land in­ter­na­tional Jeff Hen­drick also notched twice for Derby as they made it eight wins from their last nine games, the only de­feat com­ing against bit­ter ri­vals Not­ting­ham For­est last month.

Only goal dif­fer­ence keeps them off top spot in the Cham­pi­onship although McClaren is keep­ing grounded.

“There are still a lot of games to be played and that’s why we need qual­ity play­ers to come into the team,” he added.

“We knew we’d have to be pa­tient if we didn’t score in the first 20 min­utes, and it was a beau­ti­ful goal to start off from Tom.

“The first goal is al­ways go­ing to be im­por­tant. But af­ter that we con­trolled the game, were ruth­less and have gone on to win the game.”

Ruth­less they were. Bolton had made life dif­fi­cult for their hosts for the first 30 min­utes or so and re­duced them to pot shots from out­side of the box.

But Derby’s first real chance of the game was Ince’s first chance to shine and he took it with aplomb as his free-kick from the edge of the box left keeper Andy Lon­er­gan grasp­ing at thin air. Hen­drick then made it two on the stroke of half­time as he shrugged off Josh Vela’s weak tackle to ham­mer home sec­ond.

That knocked the stuffing out of Bolton and Derby picked up in the sec­ond half where they left off to stretch their lead. Will Hughes, the ar­chi­tect for Hen­drick’s first, was in­volved again as he found Ince crim­i­nally un­marked at the back post and the winger curled the ball past Lon­er­gan.

Bolton ral­lied and pulled one back soon af­ter as the im­pres­sive Barry Ban­nan’s free-kick found the head of debu­tant Filip Twardzik, on as a half-time sub­sti­tute, to re­duce the deficit.

Lon­er­gan then saved from Ward but the Rams weren’t to be de­nied a fourth though as Hen­drick re­acted quick­est in the box to nod home from close range on 68 min­utes.

It might even have been five late on but Ince was de­nied a de­but hat­trick when he rat­tled an in­jury-time shot off the post.

Bolton boss Neil Len­non was fu­ri­ous Richard Keogh wasn’t shown a red card by ref­eree Tony Har­ring­ton late on when the Derby skip­per took out Adam Le Fon­dre, but ad­mit­ted his side were well beaten.

“The ref­eree was aw­ful again,” said Len­non. “You don’t want to see play­ers sent off but Adam Le Fon­dre is clean through. Why would he go down un­less he was fouled?

“It’s a poor per­for­mance from us though and we can’t blame the ref­eree for that. We played well at the start but didn’t re­act to Tom Ince’s goal and shot our­selves in the foot.

“We left our­selves with far too much to do and Derby are a qual­ity out­fit at this level and have got real strength in depth.

“We looked a lit­tle bit light­weight and need to ad­dress that, but I’m not happy at all.”

DOU­BLING UP: Derby’s Jeff Hen­drick cel­e­brates scor­ing their sec­ond goal with Will Hughes, Tom Ince and team­mates

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