Match Report: Derby County 2-1 Bristol City (City Fan's Perspective)
Lacklustre City suffer defeat at Pride Park
Bristol City fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Derby County after a disappointing performance on a cold afternoon in the East Midlands.
Martyn Woolford's first goal for the Robins on the 56 minute mark was cancelled out by Craig Bryson before Callum Ball scored the winner 17 minutes from time.
The defeat leaves the reds just outside the relegation zone on 20 points ahead of next week's mouth-watering clash with Nottingham Forest.
Marvin Elliott was Derek McInnes' only change from last weekend's late defeat to Middlesbrough coming in for the ineligible Stephen Pearson who was prevented from playing against his parent club.
Derby began in confident fashion spraying the ball around at will but City were the first to muster an attempt on goal as Woolford's shot forced Frank Fielding into a save from 20 yards.
Albert Adomah was next to force an opening as his effort was fired over the bar from close range.
The possession stats were really going in Derby's favour, but as they got into City's final third, Elliott and Kalifa Cisse were on hand at various stages to cut out any openings.
Both managers however, could be relatively pleased with the opening exchanges with their sides passing the ball neatly.
The first half was beginning to peter out but City's top goalscorer Nicky Maynard, came out his shell to fire two efforts at goal before the whistle blew. The impressive Woolford's lofted through ball left Maynard with a half chance but his weak effort from the edge of the area went harmlessly wide before the former Crewe man brought back memories from his successful 20 goal season, creating a chance out of nothing. His spin and shot from the edge of area forced Fielding into an impressive save, but showed just why he has been linked with Premier League clubs throughout his time at Ashton Gate.
Two minutes after his half time team talk, McInnes was forced into a change. Ryan McGivern went down with a groin injury, with centre half Lewin Nyatanga replacing him at left-back to face his old club.
The away side however, refused to let this have an impact on the game, and took the lead through Woolford to round off an outstanding move. When Adomah picked the ball up on the halfway line from an Elliott ball, Derby seemed at little trouble, but the Ghanaian international ran at the rams' defence with pace and determination before feeding the ball to his left for Woolford to place the ball past Fielding with both finesse and a cool head.
Eight minutes later, City had been brought back to level terms. The diminutive figure of Jamie Ward went on a mazy run, which should have been halted by any one of three defenders, before crossing for Bryson, who won't score an easier goal all season.
In fact, the run that Ward made in the lead up to the equalizer wasn't the first time the ex-Sheffield United man caused the Robins' back line problems. Cutting in from the left onto his right foot seemed to trouble the predominantly right footed full back Cole Skuse all afternoon.
The goal sparked the 23,000 strong crowd into light and predictably got right behind their side, it seemed every pass made from the home side was now met with a “go on” from the vociferous Rams.
McInnes had to take action. The former St Johnstone man opted to remove holding midfielder Kalifa Cisse and turned to striker Brett Pitman to change the momentum of a game that was drifting away from his side.
This was perhaps the Scot's first mistake as Bristol City manager, as instead of going gung-ho, a more defensive move may have suited the West Country side, arresting the situation of the game before counteracting the momentum to look for the winner.
Just four minutes after the substitution, City had been punished. Teenager Ball, fresh off the bench, capatalised on several misplaced clearances and managed to fire a shot at ex England International David James whose valiant effort wasn't enough to prevent the back of the net being found.
Pitman did come closest to finding the next goal with a flick with his back to goal after a well worked free kick from Neil Kilkenny but the ball squirmed past the right hand post in front of the 747 travelling fans with the majority holding their heads in their hands.
James Wilson operated as a centre forward in the dying stages as McInnes took his last throw of the dice, but the pressure didn't pay off this time, as the side took the trip back down the M5 with no points in the boot.
Derby County: Fielding, Green, Barker, Shackell, Roberts, Bailey (O'Brien 90), Bryson, Hendrick, B Davies (Bennett 71), Ward, Priskin (Ball 46).
Subs Not Used: Legzdins, Buxton.
Goals: Bryson (64), Ball (73)
Bristol City: James, Skuse, Wilson, Fontaine, McGivern (Nyatanga 48), Adomah, Cisse (Pitman 69), Kilkenny (Campbell Ryce 90), Elliott, Woolford, Maynard.
Subs Not Used: Gerken, Bolasie.
Booked: Elliott, McGivern
Goals: Woolford (56)
Referee: Mr R Madley
Attendance: 23,906 (747 Bristol City fans)