WINLESS CLEMENT CALLS FOR CALM
Rams in sluggish start to season
PAUL Clement is appealing for patience after his winless start as Derby County head coach continued against Charlton.
Chris Martin secured a point for the Rams after Tony Watt had opened the scoring for the visitors three minutes into the second half.
Two Championship draws and an early League Cup exit to Portsmouth in midweek is not exactly the start Clement desired after taking the reins at the iPro Stadium in the summer, but the former Real Madrid assistant manager is not panicking.
“There is lots to build on – we’ll play worse this season than this and win, I’m sure of that,” said Clement.
“I’m pleased with the performance – particularly after how we played in midweek. But I’m not going to get too excited when we win, and not going to get too down when we lose.
“I thought we created enough chances and controlled enough of the game to possibly deserve a little more. On the chances count, we dominated and on the possession count we dominated but that’s football.”
Clement has been busy in the transfer market this summer but insists his business is far from finished after losing midfielders Will Hughes and Craig Bryson to injury this week.
“If you look at the bench, we haven’t got a natural midfielder on there,” he added.
“We want to get someone in but it has got to be a quality midfielder, we don’t just want to bring a number in.”
For all of Derby’s attacking intent in the first-half, the final ball was often lacking in quality to really test the Charlton defence. Tom Ince looked dangerous, as did Johnny Russell, but Addicks keeper Nick Pope was rarely tested.
Striker Martin scuffed an effort wide while George Thorne and Jeff Hendrick both failed to hit the target.
Charlton had the best chance to break the deadlock on the halfhour mark after a weak backpass by Chris Baird almost allowed Cristian Ceballos to nip in, but exEngland keeper Scott Carson spared his skipper’s blushes by coming to the rescue to sweep up.
Derby were made to pay just three minutes into the second half though as Charlton took the lead. Ex-Celtic trainee Watt unleashed an effort from 25 yards, which looped up off the outstretched leg of Richard Keogh and sailed into the top corner over the head of Carson.
That shook the Rams back to life and they would have equalised had it not been for the quick reactions of Patrick Bauer, who cleared Hendrick’s goalbound effort off the line.
The leveller did arrive, though, on 69 minutes through a familiar source as Martin, who netted 21 times last season, turned inside the box and rifled past Pope’s outstretched hand.
Charlton had their chances to win it – notably through two efforts from Simon Makienok – but it was Clement’s men who pressed hardest late on and Pope had to be alert to tip Martin’s header over the bar in the dying seconds.
Addicks boss Guy Luzon said: “Four months ago we came here and we didn’t touch the ball.
“It was very important for me that we showed progress and the team showed a lot of quality.
“We had a lot of organisation in the defensive side of the game.
“We changed the tactics in the second half, scored the goal and could have got a second to kill the game off.
“I think a lot of teams will lose points here because Derby have a lot of quality and, for me, are one of the best teams in the league.”
BATTERING RAMS: Chris Martin celebrates with team-mates after Derby’s pressure paid off with an equaliser. Inset, Tony Watt opens the scoring for Charlton