After five games without a victory (three draws, two defeats), Derby County returned to winning ways when they defeated Portsmouth 3-1.
The Rams were out of the blocks quickly and Craig Bryson gave them the lead on two minutes. Chris Maguire doubled the lead after 13 minutes. Jamie Ward made it three on 32 minutes.
All three goals were superb team goals, created by sweeping passing moves, and Jeff Hendrick’s pass for Ward’s goal was exquisite.
Most fans would have started wonder kid Mason Bennett but Nigel Clough opted for the more experienced Maguire instead. Maguire repaid the manager with a goal. Bennett came on for 22 minutes to a rousing standing ovation and showed real promise.
Pompey pulled one back through Jason Pearce after 78 minutes as the Rams defended a corner poorly.
The scoreline flattered the Rams who rode their luck at times, Frank Fielding’s goal leading a charmed life, but Derby County took the three points and now look forward to the visit of Cardiff City on Wednesday.
Rams Man of the Match: I was tempted to say Russell Anderson who put in a brilliant performance playing out of position at right-back.
But I’m going to say Craig Bryson.
He was at the heart of everything, a real box-to-box performance, and set the Rams on the path to victory with a well-taken early goal.
Referee Watch: Referee Craig Pawson officiated the game in a low key way and I hardly noticed him.
Although it wasn’t a dirty game, he showed two early yellow cards for potentially dangerous fouls but was happy to hand out a mere talking to when fouls were routine. He turned down two optimistic Rams shouts for penalties but probably got those decisions right...
Stuart Hughes www.stuarthughes.webs.com