The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Steven Chicken

DERBY would surely like to be putting in solid, un­dra­matic per­for­mances as they gear up for their play-off cam­paign, but they did just the op­po­site in this breath­less en­counter.

This sea­son’s league games be­tween Hud­der­s­field and Derby have yielded 13 goals, and Steve McClaren will be hop­ing there is just some­thing about the Ter­ri­ers.

The Rams boss said: “Has any­one got a drink?

“Crazy game. We’re cer­tainly putting the Derby fans through the mire at the present mo­ment. They don’t know what they’re go­ing to get.

“The plus is the goals and the qual­ity that we’ve got, the fight and char­ac­ter. The thing to work on is con­ced­ing too many goals.

“We’re kind of crawl­ing our way over the line and not mak­ing it easy for our­selves and cer­tainly not mak­ing it easy for our fans but we never said it was go­ing to be easy when we came.

“If they want ex­cite­ment they’re cer­tainly get­ting that. For the neu­tral it was a great game, for coaches it was a night­mare, and for Derby fans it was the highs and lows of be­ing a sup­porter.”

Derby lost two play­ers to in­jury in the first half, with mid­fielder Craig Bryson and then de­fender Zak Whit­bread limp­ing off.

But they man­aged to take the lead be­tween those knocks, with Tom Ince ham­mer­ing into Alex Smithies’ top cor­ner mo­ments af­ter go­ing close with a free kick.

Os­car Gobern equalised with his first goal in three years, de­spite Rams skip­per Richard Keogh’s in­sis­tence that Gobern han­dled Conor Coady’s through ball.

Ter­ri­ers cap­tain Mark Hud­son met Reece James’ cor­ner with a down­ward header to make it 2-1, hav­ing bagged his only other Hud­der­s­field goal in the re­verse fix­ture in Novem­ber.

James whipped in an­other cor­ner in the sec­ond minute of in­jury time, and was elated when the ball flew straight in past Derby keeper Lee Grant.

That was the sec­ond goal scored di­rect from a cor­ner at the John Smith’s Sta­dium in four weeks fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar goal by Ful­ham’s Alex Ka­caniklic on 21st March.

Derby were back into con­tention on 52 min­utes as sub­sti­tute Simon Dawkins flicked Stephen Warnock’s cross past Smithies.

Nahki Wells thought he had re­stored the two goal cush­ion five min­utes later, but af­ter con­vert­ing the re­bound off Ish­mael Miller’s strike, he was ruled off­side.

So Derby were back level on 61 min­utes when Jesse Lin­gard’s 18-yard toe-poke crept in­side Smithies’ post.

Wells added Town’s fourth, his de­flected ef­fort looped into an un­guarded net af­ter a great run from Scan­nell and aborted ef­forts from Miller and Ja­cob But­ter­field.

But Derby were not done yet and Ince scored his tenth from 16 games from range 11 min­utes from time.

Town had an­other strike ruled out in in­jury time, with Miller flagged off­side af­ter tuck­ing away an­other re­bound.

Hud­der­s­field manager Chris Pow­ell said: “Derby I’ve got to say are clin­i­cal, my keeper tech­ni­cally didn’t have a save to make, so for it to be 4-4, it’s some game.

“The big turn­ing point was a ball-in-the-face save from Grant from Nahki Wells that would have made it 4-1 and I don’t think there would have been much com­ing back from that.

“It was some game. We had goals dis­al­lowed as well, and we more than matched a side that could be play­ing in the Pre­mier League.

“Our un­beaten run con­tin­ues, which is im­por­tant to us. Peo­ple may level that there’s noth­ing to play for at the end of the sea­son.

“But we’re cer­tainly show­ing our fans some­thing dif­fer­ent.”

HAVE SOME OF THAT: Thomas Ince slots home to draw Derby County level for the sec­ond time at 4-4. Inset: Os­car Gobern slots home from close range

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