Derby County 0 Norwich City 0

Last updated : 19 August 2006 By Footymad Previewer
Derby County striker Steve Howard came closest to breaking the deadlock as his side fought out a goalless draw with Norwich at Pride Park.

The £1million summer signing from Luton Town came within inches of opening his Rams account when he rattled the bar with a header on 27 minutes.

It was one of the few clear-cut opportunities in a game which was far from dull, despite the lack of goals.

Robert Earnshaw twice came close to scoring for the visitors, and almost won it with a late header.

But in the end, both sides were happy with a point.

Derby boss Billy Davies brought in Danish midfielder Morten Bisgaard and Paul Peschisolido, and handed a debut to his new signing Mo Camara, whereas Norwich were unchanged for the fourth time this season.

It was the Canaries who made the early running. Gary Doherty had a header from Darren Huckerby's corner ruled out for a push on two minutes, before Lee Croft tested home debutant Stephen Bywater with a low effort moments later.

But the Rams, inspired by the pace and trickery of teenage midfielder Giles Barnes, soon came to life.

Howard, a summer transfer target for Norwich manager Nigel Worthington, twice forced Paul Gallacher into saves, then struck the bar after the City keeper came for and missed Inigo Idiakez's free-kick.

Bisgaard also troubled Gallacher from 35 yards and Worthington's men must have been happy to go in goalless at half-time.

But within ten minutes of the restart they almost took the lead when Earnshaw advanced from midfield and fired a powerful drive just over from 20 yards.

The remainder of the second period saw no lack of attacking intent from either side but few real chances.

However, with seven minutes to go, Earnshaw was presented with a golden opportunity to claim his side's third consecutive win.

The Wales international stole in between Derby's centre-back pairing and got onto the end of substitute Paul McVeigh's looping cross, but nodded wide from six yards to ensure the game ended all-square.