Derby ease past Blues to reclaim second spot

Derby ease past Blues to reclaim second spot

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Matej Vydra is level with Sheffield United Leon Clarke as the Championship’s leading goalscorer in 2017-18 after 27 games

Matej Vydra scored his 16th goal of the season as Derby County gained ground on Championship leaders Wolves with victory at struggling Birmingham City.

Blues made a bright start with Jonathan Grounds hitting the post early on.

But Johnny Russell put Derby ahead, finishing a fine run into the box with an effort that appeared to deflect off a defender and inside the near post.

Vydra rifled home to make it 2-0, and Andreas Weimann tapped in a late third as Derby moved back up to second.

With Wolves held to a goalless draw at Barnsley, Gary Rowett’s Rams reduced the gap to the runaway leaders to 10 points.

And the victory was his second at St Andrew’s since his surprise sacking by Birmingham last season with the club just outside the play-off places.

The result ended Blues’ three-match winning run and left them second from bottom, one point above Sunderland and two points adrift of safety.

Derby made a sluggish start and Birmingham, spurred on by Jeremie Boga, piled on plenty of first-half pressure and Grounds struck the woodwork with the game’s first meaningful effort.

Craig Gardner also forced goalkeeper Scott Carson, who Rowett has said is worthy of an England recall, into a fine save after Russell put the Rams ahead.

Vydra clipped the bar before the break, but went on to add the second with a powerful finish, while Weimann’s final-minute effort ensured the East Midlands club cruised to their sixth league win in what is now an eight-game unbeaten run.

Birmingham City manager Steve Cotterill said:

“It was a major disappointment to come out the back of that game like we have done, with three goals against us. I don’t think it was a three-goal game, and those fine margins at the moment are tough for us.

“At the start of the game we were delighted with how we were playing. We had a good pattern to us and a good shape to us, with and without the ball.

“And then when you go a goal or two down, the lads start doing things off-the-cuff a little bit. You lose your shape even more and then we got ragged in the second half. We haven’t seen that for a few weeks now, and there are things there we need to work at again. There are a couple of disappointing aspects when you look at their goals.”

Derby County manager Gary Rowett told BBC Radio Derby:

“Territorially, they put us under some pressure, but certainly not really in terms of quality.

“There weren’t lots of chances in that opening exchange. The first moment of real quality was our first goal. We’ve scored lots of different goals this year but in terms of how we wanted to play at times, that was a good example.

“We felt as though we could drag their press out and we felt as though if we could isolate one or two of their midfielders in front of the back four, we could get at them and create space. We relaxed a little and played some good football.”

Soccer News

via BBC Sport – Football http://ift.tt/NkmIPT

January 13, 2018 at 02:27PM

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