Fri 26 Dec 14
at 17:00 PM
The Report: Blues 0 Derby County 4
Blues were comprehensively put to the sword by a rampant Derby County outfit at a soggy St. Andrew’s this afternoon.
The high-flying Rams were ruthless in front of goal with Jordan Ibe, Chris Martin, Craig Forsyth and Johnny Russell all finding the net. Substitute Wes Thomas came closest to reducing the arrears – he was denied by a good save from Lee Grant, who otherwise was largely a spectator as his team-mates gave Gary Rowett’s men a very tough afternoon.
Rowett named the same starting XI and subs bench for the third successive game. But from the moment former Blues loanee Ibe fired the visitors in front on nine minutes, following his mazy run and close-range shot that flashed past Darren Randolph, the end result seemed inevitable as the Rams kept the hosts continually on the back foot.
The visitors could have doubled their lead on 14 minutes when the lively Russell was played through by a clever pass from Chris Martin but Randolph came out and smothered the shot.
But it was only a brief reprieve for Blues. Derby had to wait less than ten minutes for their second goal to arrive. Cotterill’s wayward pass was picked up by Russell inside his own half. The in-form winger set off on a barnstorming run that was only stopped on the edge of his own area by Gleeson’s foul. Martin stepped up and crashed an unstoppable free-kick past Randolph from 20 yards with 23 minutes on the clock.
Paul Caddis did provide a threatening moment on the half-hour when he set Clayton Donaldson free down the right but the striker’s attempted pull back to Demarai Gray was easily intercepted.
And Derby were soon back on the offensive, winning two corners in quick succession. From the first Richard Keogh’s shot was deflected wide by Michael Morrison and from the resultant flag kick Ryan Shotton side-footed wide when he perhaps should have done better.
That critique could definitely apply to Hughes moments later when Ibe picked him out inside the area after another probing run from the ex-St. Andrew's man, but the flame-haired teenager completely missed his kick just ten yards out.
Blues rallied as half-time approached and produced two dangerous moments. Donaldson teed up Andy Shinnie inside the area but the Scot’s shot was blocked by Martin. Then Gray was brought down just outside the area by Hughes but Cotterill curled the resultant free-kick well over from the right edge of the area.
Heavy rain had turned to snow by the time the sides re-emerged for the second period and it was the visitors that adapted better to the wintery conditions. After a concerted spell of pressure, Hughes let fly with a vicious drive inside the area but Morrison did well to block the goal-bound effort.
The same player went close again with an effort from the edge of the area that fizzed narrowly wide of Randolph’s right-hand post.
Rowett made two changes on 57 minutes with Thomas and Nikola Zigic introduced for Shinnie and Cotterill. Thomas was straight into the action as Blues counter-attacked quickly and the striker was presented with a shooting chance just inside the area, his low effort turned aside impressively by Grant.
At the opposite end Randolph made an even better stop with his legs to keep out Russell’s close-range drive which looked destined for the bottom corner.
But the Blues keeper was powerless to stop the visitors from extending their lead 13 minutes from time. Forsyth picked up the ball 20 yards out on the left side of the area and let fly with a shot that flew into the far bottom corner.
Derby wrapped up an eye-catching display with a fourth goal in the last minute of normal time. Jonathan Grounds was unfortunate to see his attempted clearance crash back off Leon Best straight into the path of Russell who then produced a clinical low finish into the far corner.
It was a disappointing afternoon for the home fans amongst a bumper crowd but there could be little doubt that the better side won. Blues must now dust themselves down quickly and prepare themselves for Sunday’s trip to Nottingham Forest.