The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Mark Wil­liams

NEW head coach Dar­ren Was­sall says it is no time to panic de­spite kick­ing off his man­age­rial ten­ure at Derby County with a lack­lus­tre de­feat to MK Dons.

The Rams’ pro­mo­tion hopes are fad­ing fast be­cause of no wins in eight league matches and this lat­est de­feat was against a side who had pre­vi­ously not won away since the open­ing game of the sea­son.

Jake Forster-Caskey’s late free-kick was enough to bag the points for Karl Robin­son’s charges, who hung on with rel­a­tive ease at the iPro Sta­dium.

Was­sall said:“I am cer­tainly not pan­ick­ing – it is not the time for that.

“We are dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult but not the per­for­mance. I am ex­tremely proud of the play­ers. In fact I have been de­lighted with them since I took over on Tues­day.

“We got 26 crosses into the box and we had 60 per cent pos­ses­sion. We didn’t de­serve to lose the game.

“We are very con­fi­dent we will get it right at Derby be­cause we have some gifted play­ers. The prob­lem at the mo­ment is we are short of con­fi­dence on the field. It is im­por­tant we get that first win in a long while and we can push on again.”

MK Dons came close to open­ing the scor­ing, fol­low­ing an abysmal first 20 min­utes to the game from both sides, when Rob Hall’s in­swing­ing cor­ner al­most dropped in at the far post.

The home faith­ful sang loud and proud in a bid to kick-start their ail­ing he­roes, but a string of cor­ners was the best the home side could pro­duce in the open­ing half hour.

The Rams fi­nally cre­ated a chance af­ter 32 min­utes, but Bradley John­son screwed the ball high and wide from an invit­ing Cyrus Christie cross. A minute later and Ja­son Shack­ell glanced a header just wide from a Jeff Hen­drick de­liv­ery.

Vis­it­ing goal­keeper David Martin was forced into his first mean­ing­ful save on the stoke of half-time – palm­ing away a sting­ing Bradley drive – and he was at it again deep into in­jury time to deny Chris Martin on the turn.

Derby’s mo­men­tum con­tin­ued af­ter the break, a de­cent move end­ing with John­son head­ing nar­rowly wide of the near post on 47 min­utes.

Winger Tom Ince, once so cre­ative at this level, again failed to fire, al­though he did go close from dis­tance af­ter 57 min­utes.

At the other end, the Dons were neat and tidy in spells but, as all too of­ten away from home this sea­son, lacked that cut­ting edge.

Ja­cob But­ter­field came within inches of break­ing the dead­lock on 72 min­utes when he cut in­side be­fore strik­ing a long-range ef­fort inches wide.

But Derby were be­com­ing more and more frus­trated and, fol­low­ing a brief spell of pres­sure, the un­der­dogs took the lead – and in some style.

Forster-Caskey took an age to line up a free-kick on the edge of the box but duly curled the ball into the top cor­ner with eight min­utes re­main­ing.

Derby pressed late on but Ince wasted hor­ri­bly from six yards, not even get­ting the ball on tar­get.

Buoy­ant boss Robin­son said:“I think this is prob­a­bly one of the best wins in the club’s his­tory away from home – no­body gave us a chance.

“I thought my play­ers’ men­tal­ity and de­sire was su­perb. Derby have some very tal­ented play­ers, we were the un­der­dogs, but we did what we had to do.Were we dom­i­nant? No. Did we play good foot­ball? No. But we dropped our pride and got a bril­liant win.

“Make no mis­take this is a won­der­ful day for me as a man­ager, the play­ers and the club. We re­ally needed the points.”


N MK­Dons

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