LEKO LEADS RAMS ON MERRY DANCE
Loanee lords it as City run riot
LEE JOHNSON christened Jonathan Leko ‘Lord of the Dance’ after the West Bromwich Albion loanee had dazzled Derby with his intricate footwork.
The 18-year-old winger was substituted to a standing ovation on 64 minutes having won a crucial penalty and produced several mazy runs.
Head coach Johnson said: “Jonathan is like Michael Flatley, the Lord of the Dance. He is quick, strong, unorthodox and must be horrible to play against.
“I asked him to go gung-ho for an hour or whatever he could manage and he was outstanding. At only 18, there is plenty of room for improvement in his game, but if he can create moments like he did today the fans will love him.
“Overall, we were brilliant as a team from start to finish. At half-time I didn’t know what to say to the players because we were behind having played really well.
“In the end I just asked for more of the same. We were a threat going forward, but I also picked a solid team and that’s why we were able to deal with a very good Derby side who arrived on the back of a big win.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but if the players keep managing themselves well we have a squad capable of success this season.”
An exhilarating game saw Derby go in front in the 27th minute from the penalty spot, Matej Vydra firing in off the crossbar after being brought down by Frank Fielding.
Vydra was heading away from goal and Fielding escaped without even a caution from referee Martin Atkinson.
City equalised five minutes after the break, Fulham loanee Cauley Woodrow netting with a downward header from Joe Bryan’s left-wing cross.
Bobby Reid then grabbed his seventh goal of the season, capping a storming performance by sending Scott Carson the wrong way from the spot after Richard Keogh brought down the tricky Leko.
Jamie Paterson put the result beyond doubt with an 83rd minute free-kick that bounced down off the crossbar, the officials using goal-line technology to make sure the ball had crossed the line.
And substitute Famara Diedhiou set the seal on a breathtaking second-half display, shooting home in stoppage time after collecting a superb long ball from Paterson.
Derby manager Gary Rowett pulled no punches.
“I was frustrated and embarrassed,” he said.
“We conceded three poor goals at Sheffield United and four more today. I wasn’t happy with our defending for any of them.
“From the start we failed to match Bristol’s intensity or handle their forward play. At half-time I told the players they would need to do much better for the rest of the game because we had ridden our luck to be in front.
“Bristol played well, but I felt sorry for our travelling fans and the only message I want to get to them is how disappointed I am with the performance.
“It seems that when games are going nicely for us we are fine, but have to develop an underdog mentality away from home, rather than just turn up and expect to pass the opposition off the pitch.”
FAM-TASTIC: City’s Famara Diedhiou celebrates