Derby pulled off an upset by winning at West Brom

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Michael Beard­more

IN DIF­FER­ING ways, Tom Ince and Ja­son Shack­ell are for­got­ten men – but both gave a re­minder of their abil­i­ties to help the Rams spring a shock at West Brom.

Top-scorer Ince is any­thing but for­got­ten at Derby, of course. But his win­ner here – a su­perb 25-yard free-kick – and over­all dis­play re­minded on­look­ers he be­longs in the top flight.

And at the other end, a man who has sat on the Rams bench most of the sea­son, Shack­ell, led a su­perb rear­guard ef­fort to see out the upset and de­light man­ager Steve McClaren.

The Derby boss said: “We know Tom’s got great abil­ity and can fin­ish. We al­low him to go and play but he does the work as well, he gets up and down.

“He should be a Premier League player and you’ve seen him show here that he wants to get back there.

“He showed his qual­ity but, as a team ef­fort, es­pe­cially the last 20 min­utes, it was heroic.

“I’ve never seen so many balls go­ing into the box – talk about de­fend­ing for our lives, we cer­tainly did that.

“Ja­son Shack­ell was im­mense, the ball seemed to be at­tracted to his head!

“He has had to watch the team keep clean sheets and break records but I told him he would get an op­por­tu­nity and to be ready. He cer­tainly was.”

Shack­ell’s de­fen­sive part­ner Richard Keogh bailed out his keeper Scott Car­son early on, clear­ing off the line af­ter the stop­per’s aw­ful pass gifted the ball to Salomon Ron­don.

The only time ei­ther cen­tre­half put a foot wrong was when the Bag­gies took a 35th-minute lead.

Keogh de­layed a clear­ance too long, it was blocked by James McClean and fell for Matt Phillips to find the bot­tom cor­ner from 20 yards.

James Mor­ri­son should have dou­bled the lead two min­utes later but blazed over from 15 yards af­ter fine wing play from Phillips.

It looked bleak for Derby – sec­ond-low­est scor­ers in the Cham­pi­onship de­spite sit­ting sev­enth – but they turned the game on its head with two stun­ning 25-yard strikes in three min­utes af­ter the break.

Dar­ren Bent’s rocket found the top cor­ner to bring them level be­fore Ince’s free-kick nes­tled in the op­po­site bot­tom cor­ner soon af­ter.

Albion almost lev­elled as Craig Daw­son’s back-post header hit the up­right from a Phillips cor­ner.

But Derby twice came close to a third, Boaz My­hill su­perbly thwart­ing Ince’s dip­ping 25yard strike and Bent’s close-range shot on the turn as the Rams pressed.

Albion piled on the pres­sure late on, Salomon Ron­don glanc­ing one header wide and see­ing an­other turned over by Car­son’s fin­ger­tips, but the Rams de­fended ad­mirably to se­cure a spot in round four.

Frus­trated Bag­gies boss Tony Pulis said: “I thought we did enough not to lose. My play­ers played well and gave it every­thing.

“We’ve bat­tered them at times – 60 crosses we put in, nearly 30 shots.

“All the stats show that we had a right go but in cup foot­ball you need the breaks and a lit­tle bit of luck.

“It didn’t re­ally drop for us in the fi­nal third and Derby de­fended hero­ically, you can’t take that away from them.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

DAN­GER­OUS DAZ: Dar­ren Bent cel­e­brates scor­ing Derby’s equaliser with Tom Ince

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