Derby County 2 Southampton 2

Last updated : 07 August 2006 By Footymad Previewer
Billy Davies
Davies not at all happy with effort of certain players
Billy Davies' reign as Derby boss began with a draw thanks to a 90th-minute equaliser from substitute Paul Peschisolido.

The Canadian fired past Kelvin Davis just when it looked as if Southampton were going to claim an impressive opening day victory.

The Saints were behind at the break to Seth Johnson's 35th-minute strike. But second-half goals from Gareth Bale and debutant Bradley Wright-Phillips looked set to earn George Burley's men the points, until Peschisolido's late leveller.

Burley, who spent £7million in the summer transfer market handed debuts to Davis, Pele, Rudi Skacel and John Viafara.

Davies meanwhile started with striker Steven Howard, signed for £1million from Luton Town, and 19-year-old winger Ryan Smith, who joined from Arsenal on Friday.

But, after a cagey opening, which saw Southampton skipper Claus Lundekvam stretchered off, it was one of the players Davies inherited who came closest to breaking the deadlock.

Inigo Idiakez swung in a vicious corner which beat everyone, except for Djamel Belmadi at the far post who was forced to head off the line.

And ten minutes before the break another Pride Park veteran, Seth Johnson, opened the Rams' account for the season. although Howard did have a hand in the goal.

Full-back Richard Jackson sent a deep cross into the box and Howard nodded down for Johnson to tap in from close range, after Davis did well to block his initial effort.

The visitors showed more impetus after the restart and Ricardo Fuller came close before Bale equalised with a superb free-kick on 62 minutes.

The 17-year-old curled a left-foot effort over the wall from 25 yards and into the top corner of Lee Camp's goal.

And six minutes later the South Coast club were in front through new boy Wright-Phillips.

The £750,000 signing from Manchester City replaced Fuller on 54 minutes and became an instant hero with the Southampton fans when he picked up a
George Burley
Burley leaves old stamping ground unhappy again
ball from Grzegorz Rasiak and fired a wonderful drive past Camp from 18 yards.

Idiakez, Darren Moore and Howard all came close to levelling but ,with the clock ticking down, Peschisolido, who was brought to the club by Burley when he was Derby boss, pounced.

The 35-year-old ran onto Morten Bisgaard's throughball, which was cleverly stepped over by Tommy Smith, and rifled a low effort past Davis and into the bottom corner.

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