The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Michael Hale

DERBY COUNTY boss Gary Rowett praised his side’s de­sire as they fin­ished their home cam­paign on a high against ten-man Wolves.

The Rams flew out of the blocks, scor­ing and hit­ting the wood­work twice in the first half de­spite, in the­ory, hav­ing lit­tle more than pride to play for.

And Rowett was pleased to give some­thing back to the nearca­pac­ity crowd after a dis­ap­point­ing sea­son.

“I think it was nice the way that the play­ers re­ally started with the bit be­tween their teeth,” said Rowett. “I just thought the at­ti­tude was bril­liant early on. We hit the bar a cou­ple of times in the first half as well as hav­ing a cou­ple of other op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“It was fan­tas­tic to go 2-0 up and then, of course, there was the send­ing off which some­times makes it a bit more dif­fi­cult, which peo­ple prob­a­bly won’t un­der­stand.

“Although it wasn’t too im­por­tant in terms of the sea­son I thought it was im­por­tant to give some­thing back to the fans, who have kept turn­ing up all sea­son in their num­bers.”

Derby were inches away from tak­ing an early lead as Bradley John­son’s ef­fort came off the un­der­side of the bar to safety.

Ince was in­volved again mo­ments later when the Rams took a de­served lead as his cross was headed into the ground and past Harry Bur­goyne by David Nu­gent.

They should have ex­tended their tally mid­way through the first pe­riod but Rus­sell scuffed wide after slick build-up play from Nu­gent and Ince.

John­son coolly slot­ted in from Rus­sell’s low cross as the hosts made it 2-0 after quick think­ing from goal­keeper Scott Car­son brought Derby onto the at­tack.

Nouha Dicko drilled a shot just wide of the post but Wolves’ resur­gence was brief as Ivan Cavaleiro was given a red card for an al­leged head­butt off the ball.

Rus­sell be­came the sec­ond Derby player to be de­nied by the wood­work late in the half, and they were made to rue that miss in­stantly as Lee Evans halved the deficit at the break, smash­ing in from close range.

It took just over 10 min­utes of the sec­ond half for the Rams to end their vis­i­tors’ hopes as Craig Bryson col­lected Rus­sell’s pull­back and fired into the bot­tom cor­ner.

Sub­sti­tute Cyrus Christie looked like he might make it 4-1 after danc­ing around a few de­fend­ers but he curled his shot wide.

Wolves sub­sti­tute Bright Enobakhare looked dan­ger­ous at the other end but, hav­ing worked his way past three de­fend­ers with his quick feet, he couldn’t find a fin­ish to match, leav­ing boss Paul Lam­bert vow­ing that his wide will im­prove ahead of next sea­son.

“The sup­port has been in­cred­i­ble since I came in,” said Lam­bert. “We have to be bet­ter and we will be bet­ter next year. It shows me what can hap­pen at Wolves if we get it right.

“They were 2-0 up, we got right back in it at 2-1 but it’s go­ing to be in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult with 10 men at a place like this.

“Credit to the team, we didn’t ca­pit­u­late. The first two goals were poor and then the send­ing off makes it even harder.

“I can’t de­fend it [the red card]. He’s a young lad, he’s new to the coun­try and a tal­ented foot­baller but I can’t de­fend it. As soon as you do that, you know the con­se­quences of it.”

PICTURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

NOT SO BRAD: Bradley John­son cel­e­brates scor­ing Derby’s sec­ond and, below, David Nu­gent gets the first

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