LEKO LEADS RAMS ON MERRY DANCE

Loa­nee lords it as City run riot

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Richard Latham

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.”

PIC­TURES: PSI/Gary Lear­month

FAM-TASTIC: City’s Fa­mara Died­hiou cel­e­brates

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