Cut-price Blues keep Rams on the run

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By James Stir­ling

BIRM­ING­HAM again matched one of the league’s rich­est sides giv­ing boss Gary Rowett on­fi­dence his cut-price squad have first-rate po­ten­tial.

Stephen Glee­son’s first goal for the Blues put the hosts ahead just be­fore the in­ter­val as his 30-yard strike de­flected off Chris Baird to dart be­yond Rams keeper Scott Car­son.

Yet Birm­ing­ham failed to repli­cate their firsthalf in­tent as Derby’s at­tack­ing tal­ents started to click, with Tom Ince pro­vid­ing a deft pass for Johnny Rus­sell to equalise shortly af­ter the hour.

Dar­ren Bent and An­dreas Weimann both hit the wood­work, while Chris Martin was booked for sim­u­la­tion af­ter go­ing down in the area, but the Blues held on to main­tain their un­beaten start to the sea­son.

“Derby might be dis­ap­pointed with the amount of chances they have had over­all, but we should have scored through Jon Toral early in the sec­ond half,” said Rowett.

“I'm not dis­ap­pointed with a point. Look at how far we’ve pro­gressed from last year, when Derby came here and bat­tered us 4-0.

“I don’t like to use money as a rea­son­ing but look at Burn­ley, they’ve just bought another striker An­dre Gray for £9m, Derby have a cen­tre-half on the pitch in Jason Shack­ell and they have paid £3m or £4m for him.

“We’ve got a team of free trans­fers and some­one’s pocket money and we’re more than match­ing teams. In some ways that’s win­ning for us but we want more.”

In a lively first half, De­marai Gray twice went close while Bent dragged a sim­ple chance wide and Ince’s 25-yard drive re­bounded off the up­right be­fore Glee­son struck in in­jury time.

Ar­se­nal loa­nee Toral then failed to turn in Car­son’s parry from Clay­ton Don­ald­son’s shot and Derby pounced mo­ments later.

Ince feinted past his marker to slide in Rus­sell, who fired past To­masz Kuszczak into the roof of the net for his sec­ond goal in as many games. Ref­eree Lee Ma­son then showed Martin a yel­low card af­ter the striker was brushed by Jonathan Spec­tor in the area, to Cle­ment’s ire, but the for­mer Real Madrid as­sis­tant be­lieves his side will soon im­prove on their slightly in­aus­pi­cious start.

“I don't think a win's too far away if we keep play­ing the way we are,” said Cle­ment.

“We were the team more dis­ap­pointed not to come away with three points as we had more chances. And we should have had a penalty when Chris Martin went over in the box.”

STAR MAN TOM INCE Derby

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