Brighton & Hove Albion: Seagulls win Derby classic

Posted On 30 Nov 2011 at 7:44 am
By Tim Hodges

Derby County 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 1

The Albion won their first game at Pride Park after almost eight years of trying, with a goal from Craig Mackail-Smith.

Will Hoskins and Ashley Barnes came in for Craig Noone and Billy Paynter. Adam El Abd returned to the squad for the first time since April. Romain Vincelot filled in at full back for the injured Marcos Painter.

Albion carried on from where they left off against Coventry and Barnes had a shot on target very early on. Casper Ankergren was also busy in the first 10 minutes, including a great stop from Craig Bryson.

Then just before the quarter hour and after an initial flurry from County, a centre from Inigo Calderon was met on the edge of the box by Mackail-Smith who rifled the ball home.

The relief was evident in his celebration.

Almost immediately Derby began to deal with the situation as they would do for the rest of the match by pressing Albion back as much as possible. Lewis Dunk clearing one effort form under the crossbar.

Ankergren then made another couple of decent saves, notably one from  Hendrick. Jamie Ward then shot wide for County, when it seemed easier to score.

Albion did very much have their backs to the wall, but when they were able to feed Hoskins, he was able to run at the Derby defence and ease the pressure on his defensive colleagues.

Hoskins in fact had a strike at goal as Albion made a break away that won the Seagulls a corner. However, this appeared to offer respite from Derby’s attacks rather than an attacking option.

The way Derby were attacking Albion at every opportunity was ensuring Liam Bridcutt was a very busy boy indeed as he tried wherever possible to break up the home side’s forays forward.

Before the half was out it looked very much like a frustrated Priskin elbowed Dunk.

Bizarrely referee Salisbury showed a yellow card, when surely any contact made at head height would warrant a red or nothing at all.

The second minute of the second period heralded the return of Brighton born El Abd to the Albion line-up. And it wasn’t long before he was robustly showing Gus Poyet what he had been missing. Calderon had made way after getting a yellow card and a suspension.

Although it was the Rams for prolonged periods, Will Hoskins was still using the ball effectively when he managed to get hold of it.

Poyet changed things around just before the hour as Noone replaced Barnes and Albion adapted from what looked like a 4-3-2-1 to a more orthodox 4-4-2

Soon after coming on Noone took a pass from Ryan Harley but his shot sailed just over the bar.

Albion then had a chance to kill it off as Mackail-Smith had an effort well saved by a combination of Fielding and the post. Hoskins blazed the rebound over.

Hoskins was then replaced by Paynter.

Derby now galvanised themselves again in search of parity. Shakell headed wide from close range and Ward fired into the side netting from a decent position.

Everyone was back defending for Albion. Navarro, Mackail-Smith and Noone all hacked the ball clear at some point in the last five minutes and captain Gordon Greer bundled a goal-bound effort clear.

Derby ended with a flurry of corners and free kicks but Albion held firm.

Albion: Ankergren; Calderon, Greer, Dunk, Vincelot; Bridcutt, Navarro, Harley; Hoskins, Barnes, Mackail-Smith. Subs: Brezovan El-Abd, Noone, LuaLua, Paynter.

Derby: Fielding; Hendrick, Barker, Shackell, Roberts; Green, Bailey, Bryson, B. Davies; Ward, Priskin. Subs: Buxton, O’Brien, Legzdins Ball, Bennett.
Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).

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