Blues were defeated 4-0 by the RamsBCFC
In their final Sky Bet Championship outing of 2020, Blues were defeated 4-0 by the Rams.
Karanka made two changes to the side which drew at Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day. Kristian Pedersen came in for Marc Roberts, with George Friend switching to centre-back, and Gary Gardner was in from the start after playing the second 45 minutes at the City Ground.
Both sides laid bare attacking intentions with an effort on goal apiece inside the opening two minutes. First Louie Sibley gave Neil Etheridge an early touch of the ball before Ivan Sanchez saw his deflected effort whistle past the near post.
Sibley had another opportunity in the tenth minute, but Etheridge was able to get a strong hand to the youngster’s rising drive. And there was more impressive rear-guard action when Maxime Colin – making his 150th appearance for Blues – reacted well to block Colin Kazim-Richards’ shot.
However, from the resulting corner, the Rams took the lead as former Blues loanee Krystian Bielik reacted quickest to a loose ball with a quarter of an hour played. This advantage was doubled 2 minutes later from the penalty spot after Harlee Dean made contact with Sibley inside the area. Graeme Shinnie took responsibility from 12 yards, firing into the roof of the net. A third goal was added when Kazim-Richard’s met Matt Clarke’s near-post flick inside the six-yard box.
Half-time: Blues 0 Derby County 3
The Blues Head Coach responded to the first period by making four half-time substitutions. Karanka introduced Jake Clarke-Salter for the injured Pedersen, as well as Mikel San José, Jonathan Leko and Lukas Jutkiewicz.
And freshened up from the raft of changes, Blues nearly pulled one back in the 54th minute when Gary Gardner’s turn and shot went narrowly wide. This was, unfortunately, his last involvement in the game as he pulled up injured and was replaced by Maikel Kieftenbeld.
Another opportunity came Blues’ way when Colin ploughed forward. But running away from goal, the Frenchman was unable to keep his powerful attempt on target. Moments later, Clarke-Salter leapt highest to an Adam Clayton free-kick, only for his header to spiral over the crossbar.
Despite these efforts, any hope of a comeback for Blues was put to bed when Derby added a fourth goal 13 minutes from time. Kamil Jozwiak delivered from the left with Jason Knight arriving at the far post to finish from close range.
Blues (4-2-3-1): Neil Etheridge, Maxime Colin, Harlee Dean (captain), George Friend, Kristian Pedersen (Jake Clarke-Salter 46), Adam Clayton, Ivan Sunjic (Mikel San José 46), Ivan Sanchez, Gary Gardner (Maikel Kieftenbeld 61), Jeremie Bela (Jonathan Leko 46), Scott Hogan (Lukas Jutkiewicz 46).
Substitutes not used: Andrés Prieto, Josh Dacres-Cogley, Riley McGree, Jon Toral.
Derby County (4-3-3): David Marshall, Nathan Byrne, Andre Wisdom, Matt Clarke, Craig Forsyth, Krystian Bielik, Graeme Shinnie (Kaide Gordon 88), Louie Sibley (Max Bird 75), Jason Knight (Louie Watson 88), Kamil Jozwiak, Colin Kazim-Richards (Jahmal Hector-Ingram 82).
Substitutes not used: Kelle Roos, Mike Te Wierik, George Evans, Duane Holmes, Lee Buchanan.
Booking: Sibley 67.
Referee: Tony Harrington