ROWETT DELIGHT WITH RAMS RAID
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.”
NOT SO BRAD: Bradley Johnson celebrates scoring Derby’s second and, below, David Nugent gets the first