A couple of changes from the Leeds game, as we lined up in our now familiar diamond formation.
The surprise return of Chris Cohen to the starting line up was probably the only bright spot of today’s game.
Firstly, Derby had a single game-plan (that worked very well). Kick Dexter Blackstock. Really hard.
Secondly, the referee had a nightmare. The first 20 minutes, he decided not to show any cards (presumably to let the game flow). So Dex was black and blue, as he was felled over and over again. Then as he realised that he was losing control of the game, he became card-happy. Despite the repeated offences by Derby players, it was our players (Reid first) that ended up with the yellows.
Thirdly, the game was physical, with not much in the way of football. Or chances.
Fourthly, by half time, the ref had obviously decided he needed to stamp his authority on the game. Which he did by handing Dex a straight red – apparently for an elbow. However, no-one in the ground, apart from him saw it. The tell-tale sign was that the Derby players seemed as surprised as Dex was.
Fifthly, Reid had a bad game. His positioning was off, both going forward and more importantly defensively. This left Harding exposed – especially for their goal.
Lastly, Cox can’t play up-front on his own.
I don’t have much more to say – I wasn’t impressed with SOD’s post match interview, I’m not impressed by our continuing lack of width and I’m really disappointed (but not surprised) by Derby’s anti-football. And there’s also the referee, who had totally lost control of the game (booking Cox and Harding for obstruction when they were a yard away and complaining about the Derby keeper’s timewasting, booking Gillett for complaining after he was almost taken out by an elbow).
But the poor form is entirely predictable. This is a brand new team that hasn’t had the luxury of a pre-season together and as such, is not showing much understanding. We knew this would happen, we just need to plough through it and get out the other side.
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