The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John McDougall

DERBY boss Paul Cle­ment be­lieves the best is still to come from his side af­ter the Rams over­came Hud­der­s­field at the John Smith’s Sta­dium.

Harry Bunn can­celled out Chris Martin’s eighth strike of the sea­son, but Ge­orge Thorne’s thun­der­bolt early in the sec­ond half sealed Derby’s fourth win in five games.

And af­ter ex­tend­ing an un­beaten run which stretches back to Septem­ber, Cle­ment be­lieves it has not only been Martin’s goals that are be­hind his side’s good run.

“I still be­lieve we’ve got lots to im­prove on and we are go­ing to get bet­ter and bet­ter. We’ve got mas­sive po­ten­tial,” he said.

“Martin’s con­trib­uted with a good amount of goals which has been sup­ple­mented by Bradley John­son, by Johnny Rus­sell, by Tom Ince, but he’s in a good vein of form, long may that con­tinue.

“I put a big chal­lenge on the play­ers at half-time to step it up and that we have to come away with a win. They re­sponded bril­liantly.

“It was a won­der­ful strike from Ge­orge, good po­si­tion­ing for the sec­ond ball and he set it up nicely for him­self and then a won­der­ful strike that I don’t think any keeper’s go­ing to save.”

The dead­lock was bro­ken on the quar­ter­hour by the Rams when Rus­sell’s mishit ef­fort found Martin and the hot­shot buried clin­i­cally past Jed Steer.

But the Ter­ri­ers drew level when Richard Keogh’s mis-kick fell to Ish­mael Miller in the box and the for­ward’s ef­fort re­bounded off the bar and Bunn was on hand to slot home the 31st minute fol­low up from close range.

Steer showed his qual­ity by pro­duc­ing a marvelous stop to tip Ja­son Shack­ell’s 41stminute header from Rus­sell’s cor­ner over the bar.

But Thorne handed his side back the lead with a for­mi­da­ble right­footed 48th-minute strike which flew into the top cor­ner and left the div­ing Steer with no chance.

The Ter­ri­ers nearly re­sponded in per­fect fash­ion when an un­marked Martin Cranie met Mustapha Carayol’s 54th-minute cor­ner but Scott Car­son was un­trou­bled.

Cyrus Christie floated in from the right and fired a 72nd-minute ef­fort at Steer with the stop­per di­vert­ing the ball be­hind with an out­stretched leg.

From Rus­sell’s re­sult­ing cor­ner, Steer saved from Miller as the tar­get­man un­wit­tingly headed the ball to­wards his own goal from point­blank range.

Derby looked to seal the win with a quick counter-at­tack and An­dreas Weimann found Martin who fired a pow­er­ful 78th-minute ef­fort, but Steer was quick off his line to smother the chance.

Not­ting­ham For­est loa­nee Jamie Pater­son twisted and turned as he drove to­wards the Derby rear­guard and un­leashed a fierce 81st-minute ef­fort which was only just wide. And de­spite Steer com­ing up for a late cor­ner, he could not pre­vent Town slip­ping to their first loss in three.

Town boss Chris Pow­ell, whose side now sit 15th in the Cham­pi­onship, said: “I think we played one of the best teams we’ve played so far.

“They’re a very good team and squad and they ob­vi­ously have that pres­sure of try­ing to get up hang­ing over them.

“We needed to bed our­selves in in the sec­ond half and we made a ma­jor mis­take, needed to clear our lines, didn’t do it and then it’s an out­stand­ing goal, one of the best you’re go­ing to see this sea­son.

“We com­peted, tried to give our all and we tried to play our game and tried to fash­ion chances but we played a side who you’re go­ing to have to catch on a good day and we’re go­ing to have to be at our best to take some­thing from.”

PIC­TURE: Me­dia Im­age

OPENER: Chris Martin scores the first goal of the game for Derby

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