The one hundredth East Midlands Derby took place in Saturday – like you didn’t know – and this time around neither sets of fans could complain at the outcome.
The old saying ‘game of two halves’ couldn’t be more appropriate and this game was a good demonstration of Derby’s season played out in 90 minutes, or indeed 94 minutes as it was during time added that they pressed the self destruct button yet again.
The first half belonged to our rivals as they started quick and showed all of the early initiative, Derby playing very deep and struggling to organise themselves and pose any real danger for much of the half.
Zach Clough’s opening goal was conceded to a distinct lack of organisation by the Rams back four and all too easy for the young player to tap in.
For the opening half hour we posed very little danger and looked vulnerable at the back.
When we finally got going we had a poor decision by the referee, denying us the chance to level the game prior to the break.
Forest keeper Jordan Smith dropped the ball which allowed Johnson to put into the net and for some odd reason a foul was given in favour of the home keeper.
I’ve watched this several times over and still can’t work out how a foul was given. Smith actually ran into Johnson.
After the break we looked like a different side. I would love to have been a fly on the wall for Gary Rowett’s half-time team-talk.
Early in the half a succession of passes moved the ball downfield before Russell crossed for Vydra to volley in from close range and then minutes later a superb ball in from Bradley Johnson saw David Nugent heading in.
Later on Smith pulled off a quality save when Alex Pearce headed goalwards to prevent what surely would have been a match winner.
The second half saw some of what’s good about Derby County when they are playing well.
Despite having the lion’s share of the better play in the half, we yet again managed to throw away points in time added on.
Ninety four minutes gone and Pinallos left unmarked to head in.
That’s now 10 points dropped in time added on this season.
Seconds earlier we had the ball near the corner flag in the Forest half and instead of holding it there, we crossed it. A severe lack of game management.
Overall I thought that a draw was about fair.
Usually a draw away from home against your biggest rivals is a decent result, but to have surrendered the lead in that way leaves you feeling very deflated.
Naturally Forest snatching a draw when all looked lost had them celebrating and that’s understandable given the relegation fight that they find themselves in.
I thought that Nugent and Bryson were outstanding for Derby plus Vydra and Ince had good games too.
The defending was far from convincing and that must surely be a priority in Gary Rowett’s points to address.
For our rivals Vaughan, Brereton and Clough looked very good, but like us their back four needs improvement.
Britt Assombalonga is usually a thorn in our side, but was anonymous for much of the game on Saturday.
I believe both clubs have appointed two very good mangers. I think it was an excellent game for Gary Rowett to take a look at our strong and weak points.
For Forest I would conclude that Mark Warburton saw enough evidence that they have the fight and players to escape the drop.